Editor's Note: The original article said Julie Mahan would be sworn-in on Aug. 27. She must be fingerprinted first, according to state law.
FAIR LAWN, NJ - Julie Mahan is scheduled to be sworn-in as a Board of Education trustee, replacing Dr. Emily Cohen, who resigned and moved out of state this summer prior to her term completion. Before she can be sworn-in, she must submit her fingerprints through the New Jersey Department of Education.
Mahan had planned to run for a three-year term in November, so when the vacated seat came up, she thought it was "a great opportunity."
There are nine seats on the Board. Eight individuals applied for the vacant seat. Of the eight people that applied, two of those individuals are running in November for seats that open in January 2021, Mahan and Anthony Servis.
There are three open Board seats on the ballot for the fall, each one a three-year term. The following candidates are running: Ron Barbarulo (incumbent), Rita Fayvelevich, Elyss Frenkel (incumbent), Mahan, Servis and Oleg Trigub.
Mahan is a licensed clinical social worker and currently works as a school social worker in the Ringwood Public Schools.
"What drew me to apply was that to me, filling this seat is not a short term job," she said. "Because of the current nature of our situation, I believe the district needs someone who [wants to be] in this for the long haul.
"As a parent, I want what everyone wants for their children, the knowledge that school will provide them the academic, social, and emotional education they will need to be successful in life," she said. "I did not feel that the voices of school age parents on the front lines of virtual learning were being represented, and I wanted to be able to serve as a support [for] my community."
Mahan knows she's coming onto the Board at a difficult time, especially after Superintendent Nick Norcia announced the district will not open the buildings in September, a reversal from a late July announcement.
On Aug. 21, parents gathered on the sidewalk outside of Edison School to protest against the all-remote learning opening. Norcia said the Board has targeted Oct. 19 as its back-to-school in-person date.
"Nothing about the role of a trustee is easy and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges that the district is facing," she said. "I plan to handle these situations in collaboration with the other board members in a thoughtful, professional and respectful manner. The district must take into consideration the needs of each student, while continuing to ensure the safety of everyone entering the building."