Editor's Note: Gregory Franz's education information was updated on Oct. 14. Candidate Alisa Svider's information was added on Oct. 13.
GLEN ROCK, NJ - In a contested race for Glen Rock Board of Education, three seats are open with five candidates vying for three-year terms on November 6.
Incumbents Bryon Torsiello and Sharon Scarpelli, the president and vice president respectively of the nine-member board, are in the running to retain their three-year seats for second terms.
Greg Franz, Robert Scherer and Alisa Svider are running, as well.
The third seat is currently held by Elizabeth Carr, a district nurse who has served on the Board of Education since 2012 and is not seeking reelection.
Newcomer Gregory Franz, a 17-year Glen Rock resident and father of two, will be running for his first, three-year term on the Glen Rock Board of Education.
He is a former councilman, fire department member, and Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator all in nearby Elmwood Park. He is currently the Borough Administrator and Chief Financial Officer for the Borough of Edgewater. As a commissioner of the South Bergen Municipal Joint Insurance Fund, he helped provide low cost liability insurance to more than 23 towns and served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting and the New Jersey Environmental Joint Insurance Fund.
He holds bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration both from Rutgers University. Outside of public service, Franz belongs to Saint Catherine Church and has served as an athletics coach for the Glen Rock baseball, football and basketball teams.
Franz Election Statement: “My goals include being a tax watchdog for senior citizens and taxpayers; advocating a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy; appointing a permanent superintendent; and creating district-wide homework club programs so that students readily have access to teachers for homework and extra help.”
Incumbent Sharon Scarpelli is seeking a second term on the Glen Rock Board of Education. Scarpelli, who has served the last two years as the Vice President, has been actively involved in the district’s budget process as liaison to the Fiscal Management.
A 17-year Glen Rock resident, the mother of four is a member of the 5YSP and Superintendent search committees.
A graduate of Fordham University, Scarpelli holds a bachelor of science degree in public accounting and is a licensed CPA in New York State.
Her activities include a current CCD mentor at St. Catharine’s RC Church; former co-president of Byrd HSA; former treasurer of Byrd HSA; and the former Co-Chairperson of Byrd Dance Program. She’s also served as Coach of various teams through the Glen Rock Youth Basketball Program and treasurer for two girl scout troops.
Scarpelli Election Statement: “After much discussion and introspective thought, I realized that one term on the board is just not enough time. Over the past three years, I have learned a tremendous amount about our district’s operations and finances. I have also learned where we are doing things well and where improvement is needed. The board is responsible for hiring one individual – the superintendent. Because of my working knowledge and experience on the board, I feel I can play a very important role in attracting and obtaining a superintendent who will be committed to Glen Rock for the long-term. For these reasons, I decided to run for a second term.”
Newcomer Robert Scherer will run for his first, three-year term on the Glen Rock Board of Education. A borough resident for 21 years, he is the father of four (two children of whom are in the school system).
Scherer is a graduate of Duke University and Georgetown Law. He has been a youth sports coach in the borough for years. By trade, Scherer is a lawyer for a Manhattan bank.
Scherer did not submit a photo with his information.
Scherer Election Statement: “I am running for BOE because I think that my skills can be valuable to the BOE at a very crucial time - during the search for a new superintendent and the negotiation of a new contract with the teachers’ union. My experience and training as a lawyer have helped hone my analytical, communication and negotiation skills. In addition, as a lawyer, I have over a dozen years of experience working with municipal entities on bond deals and related transactions. I believe that experience can be very helpful to the BOE and the district if the bond referendum passes in March.”
Incumbent Bryon Torsiello is in the running for a three-year seat on the Glen Rock Board of Education for a second term.
The father of one has lived in Glen Rock for more than 15 years. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.
Torsiello, who has served as president of the Glen Rock Board of Education for the past two years, has nearly three decades of professional experience at a countywide school district, first starting out a computer technician then moving up to technology manager and assistant to the director of technology. In his current position he is involved with building and maintaining educational technologies within Bergen County Technical Schools and Bergen County Special Services School Districts, in addition to adjunct teaching activities in Management Information Systems and Computer Science courses for Fairleigh Dickinson University and Thomas Edison State University.
Torsiello Election Statement: ”Three years ago, I initially ran for the Board of Education because all of my professional experience revolved around education, educational technology, and education management and I believed becoming a trustee would be a perfect fit.
”Over the past three years, I have attended several events that are student-related; elementary school lunch cafes, concerts, musicals, sporting events, and graduations, to name a few. I have also attended several New Jersey School Board Association training sessions; New Jersey School Boards Conferences; New Jersey School Board Association mandatory training sessions; quarterly Bergen County School Boards Association meetings; and more specialized trainings such as negotiations and school security, to name a few.
“Being present at our Tuesday evening meetings and working with all of the other members of the Board of Education are very enjoyable for me. Our scheduled Board of Education meetings establish a sense of accomplishment and brings these accomplishments to the point of showing purpose to the public what we do as a whole.
“Over the past three years, the Board has transitioned into a committee of the whole meeting structure, worked on challenging budgets, and expanded education initiatives. During the last year, the board has moved ahead with generating board goals that revolve around health, wellness, and safety, working alongside our interim superintendent in establishing a culture that will attract a new permanent superintendent of schools, bringing forth a referendum for the public to vote on, and finally preparing the community at-large for the transition towards a new superintendent.
“Continuing the process of working with Glen Rock Administration with the previously mentioned items is a priority for me, which is why I decided to run for my second, three-year term for the Glen Rock Board of Education.
“Outside of all board activities, I keep busy volunteering at the ball fields as a volunteer soccer and softball coach during the week and weekends. Having a very traditional background, I am also involved in all family activities. Culture and tradition are two values in which I pride myself.”
Alisa Svider Election Statement: "I am running for the Glen Rock Board of Education because I believe in the importance of quality public education. With a child in the 10th grade at Glen Rock High School, I know firsthand the district's communities, challenges and goals. With a BFA in graphic design communications, and an MBA in international marketing, for the last 26 years I’ve worked for a transnational organization based in New York City. For 35 years I’ve served as a senior manager responsible for establishing creative and efficient work environments.
"Several aspects of my business experience are relevant to the work of the Board of Education. First, I continuously anticipate future institutional needs and opportunities, developing solutions that work. Second, I regularly review, revise, and produce complex budgets. Third, I invest time and effort in consensus building necessary to focus priorities and ensure strong support for new initiatives. I have the qualifications and enthusiasm that thrive on challenges and the tenacity it takes to succeed.
"I would be honored to serve and represent the entire Glen Rock community as a member of the Board of Education."