LIVINGSTON, NJ — Meet Livingston Board of Education candidate George Shen.
George Shen, an 11-year Livingston resident, has three children currently enrolled in Livingston Public Schools. With a PhD in Chemistry, Shen is a Scientist in a Pharmaceutical Company. His wife, Qing Ren, works in a pharmaceutical company as well.
Q: Why are you running for board of education?
A: Since moving to Livingston, I’ve volunteered in many community services to benefit the people of this town. It has come to my attention that there has been no Asian representative in the Livingston Board of Education for as long as I’ve been a resident. This piqued my interest and I believe I can make a change. My interest only grew stronger when I realized that all my community-service experiences have been education related. I am all ready for the board. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. I am backed by an enthusiastic community which is willing to participate and contribute. My service in the board will definitely bring more engagement from community to this role.
Q: Why do you feel you deserve the job? What qualifies you for it?
A: By joining the board I will bring my extensive experience in education and financial operations to support the school district’s operation. Below is a partial list for related experiences:
- Organizing committee and speakers in career development workshop in colleges such as Rutgers and Princeton University, provided training to over 200 students/professionals every year
- Coach of robotics team
- Scholarship committee member for Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association
- Board member and Vice Principal of the Livingston Huaxia Chinese School with over 600 students
- Board member of Children’s Theatre of Livingston
Financial Operation Experience
- Treasurer and executive vice president of Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association with 5000 members
- Board member and past chair of Livingston Chinese Association
- Organizing committee chair of the Livingston Chinese Cultural Day
Q: What do you believe is the most important issue in this school district? How would you change it?
A: The most important issue for school district is building an effective administrative and teaching team under the leadership of the superintendent. After years of searching, Livingston finally hired a superintendent with a long-term contract. It is critical for the board to facilitate the integration of superintendent to the school system. The immediate tasks include goal setting, team building, and professional training for teachers. Once elected, I will make sure the goals for the superintendent reflect the public interest which is improving the quality of our school system with finite cost. I will demand effective professional training for teachers as an assurance of high quality education for students. With that, we can bring the schools to the next level of success.
Q: What other issues are important?
A: We need to meet the education needs for all levels of students. The school district has offered various programs, such as gifted and talented programs, elective classes, differentiated levels, special education, alternative education and etc. We need to incorporate the core value of education from the input of community. In addition to academic knowledge, we want our students to possess manners, grits, honesty, integrity and diligence. There are many extra curriculum activities such as sports, art, and music, as well as soft skills like leadership, teamwork, and volunteering which our students need to learn and succeed in life. We would combine those factors into consideration to form policies in the school district. We would also acknowledge the contribution from community programs to provide a broad spectrum of leaning experience to our children.
Q: How do you feel about the 1:1 initiative in Livingston?
A: The 1:1 technology initiative is a great tool that will facilitate the learning process and inspire students. This initiative is the most important investment and research project in Livingston. There is a clear trend to replace the text books and homework copies on paper by electronic devices. My daughter has claimed that she is more organized and clear about instructions after she started to use the Surface as a study tool. Our school district and students will benefit from the change and be ahead of the wave. With my 15 years background from research and development, I can definitely contribute to the changing process and maximize the outcome. Meanwhile, we should be mindful to the unexpected expenses due to this initiative. We should plan proactively for potential risks to prevent catastrophic interruption of service and high cost. I believe the technology initiative will bring Livingston schools positive impact in the long run.