FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This January three new members will be sworn to the Franklin Township Board of Education, during the reorganization meeting. 

Top vote-getters in the race for three seats on the Franklin Township Board of Education were Michael J. Smith, 6,413 votes, Nishita Desai 5,090 votes, and Michelle L. Shelton, 4,319 votes, according to unofficial results from the township clerk. 

The newcomers are stressing the continuation of communication and academic preparation as top priorities for students, parents, and staff. 

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Mike Smith for Franklin Board of Education

Board of education: Candidate Nishita Desai

Franklin Township Elections: Meet the Candidates Series - Board of Education

"The Franklin schools need to continue to build on the improvements in communication with the township residents," Smith said in a statement to TAPinto Franklin Township. "I want to ensure that quality and timely dissemination of information about the positive aspects of our schools is achieved. This will lead to improved recognition and continued pride in our schools and their programs."

Smith earned a Bachelor of Science from Kent State University, a Masters in Chemistry from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Princeton. Smith has two children who have been in the Franklin Township School District for the past 10 years, and are involved in many of the extra-curricular activities offered by the district. Smith wants to help encourage a hands-on learning approach.

"Some students feel the need to create not only poetry or music, but tangible things," Smith said. "When a student is able to admire something they have built, it leads to personal growth. I support the current maker movement found in our STEM programs (3D printing, CAD, etc) and would encourage traditional hands-on programs such as metalworking or woodworking." 

Desai is an educator at Rutgers Preparatory School in Chemistry and Biology and her expertise extends into human diseases and cancer biology. Desai has a daughter currently enrolled at Franklin Middle School. She also believes every child in the district should learn in a bully-free environment, with access to small classes. She also feels there are three major factors which will lead to the success of every student. 

"First, schools must be accountable to students and parents through clear communication," Desai said in a statement to TAPinto Franklin Township. "Second, curricula must be strong enough to make students college-ready, regardless of their starting position. Third, the most effective curricula teach students to apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems."

Last month Smith and Desai participated in the JFK Club of Franklin-Somerset's BOE "Candidate Panel Discussion."

Click headline below to see full panel discussion:

Franklin Township: JFK Club Hosts Board of Education Candidate Panel Discussion (VIDEO)

Smith discussed the importance of building on the success of Franklin Township school accomplishments and communicating them to the public. 

Desai discussed the importance of focusing on opposing charter school expansion. 

Last year Shelton replaced Andrea S. Fontenez as Vice Principal at Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick, according to a New Brunswick BOE document from September 2016.

Shelton did not respond to multiple text messages sent last week for comment. 

TAPinto Franklin Township is independently owned and operated by  Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate. 

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