Candidate Statements

Building on a Strong Base of Education in Chatham

Ronald J. Epstein, candidate for the Chatham Board of Education

Dear Fellow Taxpayer,

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Ronald Epstein and I live in Chatham Township with my wife and three children. I am seeking to be elected to a position on the Chatham Board of Education on November 7, 2017. I would like to briefly discuss why I am interested in this position and give you a bit about my background.

Currently, all three of my children are students in the Chatham School District. My son, Henry, attends Chatham High School as a freshman, my daughter, Catherine, and son, Oliver, both attend Chatham Middle School and are in 8th and 6th grade, respectively. All three of our children have been enrolled in the Chatham School District since kindergarten. As a family, we strongly believe in public education and have supported the Chatham School District.

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Personally, I am a strong believer in public education and the positive impact it can have on one’s family and the broader community. Ultimately, everyone in the Chatham community has a vested interest in having one of the best school districts in the state of New Jersey. As a parent with children in the district, I have an interest that goes beyond the impact on real estate values and the reputation of our community. I am pursuing a position of the Board of Education to have a positive impact on the education of my children and all the children in our community. As a member of the board, I would like to find an appropriate balance between investment in the school district and tax revenue. I deeply believe there are prudent and judicious ways to make investments in our schools that do not unduly burden taxpayers while building on the base of educational excellence we have in Chatham.

I have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. I have taught at the high school and university levels. I currently work in finance as an Analyst that covers the Aerospace and Defense Industry for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Part of my job entails forecasting government budgets and understanding government fiscal constraints. As such, I have a deep understanding of government budgets and fiscal planning. I believe that I have a set of skills I can bring to the table and meaningfully contribute if I were to become a member of the Board of Education.

Given my background, one of my key focus areas is STEM (science, technology, education and math) education. Through my kids' experience I am impressed with the STEM education in Chatham; but I believe we can do far more to prepare our kids for the technologically focused higher education system and workforce. Our children should have the opportunity to be introduced to computer science and coding at an earlier age. There should be more STEM offerings in primary school, both as enrichment programs and in the curriculum. In the middle school, there should be more formal support for the science and technology program in the curriculum. Further, how math is taught in accordance with the Common Core curriculum needs to be evaluated, We owe it to our children to get it right. We have a good base today, but we can build on it and make it better.

Finally, I deeply believe no rigorous education is complete without some concentration in the arts. The performing and visual arts have been sacrificed in school districts across New Jersey due to budget constraints, the impact of the Common Core Curriculum in Math and the English Language Arts as well as PARCC testing. We cannot not let this happen in Chatham and need to continue to build on the educational base in the arts that we currently have and offer more opportunities for all students across the district.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to having the opportunity to serve our community by being a member of the Board of Education.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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