EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On November 8, East Brunswick residents will vote for candidates to fill 3 seats on the Board of Education. Currently, there are 7 candidates in the running for these positions. Our schools are geared toward both maintaining proven excellence and moving ahead with innovation.
As per the input of the residents in an open house last spring, TAP into East Brunswick has invited all candidates to contribute a personal statement that addresses his or her interest in the East Brunswick Schools. As we attempt to address the concerns of our community, TAP has also asked for each candidate's thoughts regarding standardized testing, specifically the PARCC assessments.
TAP will publish all responses that we have received in the order in which they came to us.
Chad Seyler, Candidate for the East Brunswick Board of Education
It is my privilege to be a candidate for the East Brunswick Board of Education. I chose to run
for this position for various reasons that I will address in this brief statement. My wife Susan and I
moved to East Brunswick in 2009 because of the great reputation of the East Brunswick schools. Both
of us grew up in Middlesex County and were well aware of the superior education our children would
receive in East Brunswick. We are very proud to call East Brunswick our home. I have 2 children in our
school system. Sydney, my 11 year old daughter, is a 6th grader at Hammarskjold and my son Cole is in
1st grade at Frost. Having two children in our school system is almost reason enough to run for this
position. But I believe, we, as a community need to be active and advocate for all the children in East
Brunswick as well as our own. The East Brunswick school system is recognized as not only one of the
best in New Jersey but across the United States. I believe we not only need to maintain this but also
work to ensure the school system and our students prosper in the future.
Although I may have a number of ideas or visions for the direction of the East Brunswick
Public Schools I have five specific ideas that I would like to focus on.
1. Fiscal responsibility to the students of East Brunswick as well as the tax payers of our
town. Maintaining the high level of education while fighting to keep our taxes down.
2. Facilities. We have begun the process of updating our schools and in some instances
building new ones. We need to continue to do so for our students and well as our faculty.
3. Class size. East Brunswick needs to make sure that the number of students in each
class is at a reasonable level. This would ensure our students are getting the attention
they need and help our educators in the excellent job they do.
4. Teaching to the test. I am completely against this and will discuss in detail later.
5. Technology. In this ever changing world we need to be out in front to ensure our students
have the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.
I have been involved in East Brunswick almost since the day we moved here. A little over a month
after we moved I registered my daughter for soccer. She was put on a waitlist. I asked why? The
response was that the league did not have enough coaches. Well that began my tenure as a soccer
coach and eventually led to my time on the East Brunswick Soccer Board. I have served as VP of
Superstars and VP of Girls Rec for the last 6 years. I am still on the board at soccer even though both
my children are no longer playing soccer. My daughter is a proud St. Bart’s cheerleader and my son
plays on the St. Bart’s flag football team. I have been the head coach for his team the last two years
and a member of the St. Bart’s Buffalo’s board since last April. I was also Executive VP of the Central
School PTA for 4 years and really enjoyed my time there. For the last 2 years I have been a member of
the Community Programs committee that works with our before and after school programs in our
school system. I was also a little league baseball coach in my hometown at the age of 20 and was on
the Fords Clara Barton Baseball League Executive Board when I was 21 years old. I’ve been pretty
much “Coach Chad” for a long time. Being someone who gives 100% effort into volunteering I feel
that all of these previous things have led me to the East Brunswick Board of Education.
I stated in my interview on EBTV that I had 3 “C’s” that would ensure I would be a valuable member of
the East Brunswick Board of Education. Communication, Cooperation, and Compromise. I am a very
good communicator that responds to questions and emails very quickly. I like to be out in front of
things and am open to suggestions. I feel cooperation is a key to getting anything accomplished and
have the ability to compromise when needed. Even though I have the ability to compromise that does
not mean I will not stand up for what I believe in. The fourth “C” I would like to add is commitment. I
have been 100% committed to everything I have volunteered for (including my Dancing with the EB
Stars performance) and will be 100% committed to our students and community on the board.
In response to the concerning questions about standardized assessments. I have given a lot of thought
to this and discussed it with many parents and groups within our community. I believe my responses
to the “East Brunswick Parents Against PARCC and Over Testing” have been posted on-line already.
Standardized testing has been in place in schools for as long as I can remember. However, the role
they play today in the education of our children has me a bit concerned. The East Brunswick Board of
Education has to comply with state standards. With that being said we have to do a better job of
listening to our parents and having an ongoing dialogue when it comes to this issue. We all want to
know how are children are doing, but a standardized test should not be the leading evaluator of this.
Quite honestly some students are not good test takers, might be having a bad day, or are overly
stressed about taking a test. This is not a healthy environment to learn. I was recently at parent
teacher conferences for my daughter and the words of her French teacher really stuck with me. To
paraphrase her, “children have to internalize what they learn in life. If I speak to them in French in the
hallway I do not want them to think about what I said and how to interpret it, but to respond back to
me in French automatically.” That is teaching and learning in its basic format. Not one based on
memorizing something just for at test (and forgetting it in 3 weeks) or for building a strategy on how
to take a test. We need to allow our teachers and students to grow together. I am strongly against
“teaching to the test.” It is not fair to our children nor is it fair to the teachers in our schools. Our
children spend too much time preparing for test which leads to less time for learning. I also believe it
is unfair to evaluate a teacher based on standardized test scores of his or her class. The teacher may
have done wonders for the class all year and each and every student may have improved but if the
standardized test scores fall short, the teacher is evaluated as not being successful.
Once again, thank you for allowing me this forum to get to know me a little better. I hope to continue
helping East Brunswick if elected to the East Brunswick Board of Education. Good luck to all the
candidates who are running and win or lose they all should be commended for their interest in our