LIVINGSTON, NJ – The Livingston Board of Education recently conducted public interviews of the six candidates who applied to fill the two available interim seats on the board. The candidates were as follows: Lisa Cook Bayer, Rosaura Bagolie, Corinne Kyle, Patty Arnold, Ronnie Spring, and Ronnie Konner. Each was asked a series of questions by current board president Barry Funt, vice president Pamela Chirls, and board member Arthur Altman.
Questions included why they want to be a board member, what they believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the Livingston schools, and what they think entails the role of a board member.
Bayer, the first candidate to be interviewed, has two children in the Livingston school system and a background in early childhood education. She worked as a substitute teacher while attending law school, and later became a nursery school teacher. In addition, Bayer worked on the grants committee for Livingston elementary schools. Bayer said, “If I am appointed, I would like to start a conversation, bounce ideas around, and bring issues to the attention of the superintendent. I want to help the schools run better.”
Bagolie, who has a background in special education and a doctorate degree in educational leadership also has young children in the Livingston district. Bagolie stressed the importance of updating technology in the schools and said, “I want to be able to contribute and help the district as much as I can.”
Kyle has prior experience serving as a board member in two other districts, Princeton and West Orange. She also has a granddaughter who is a rising junior at Livingston High School. Kyle said, “I will bring extensive experience to the board. One of my particular areas of expertise on both of those boards was crafting and assessing the budget.”
Arnold works with Livingston Youth and Community Services (LYCS) and Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee (LMAC), two programs that teach students to make healthy life choices. Additionally, Arnold has experience as a substitute teacher and as a class mom and PTA member. “I would make sure that the kids have a good support system in the schools in order to become as academically successful as possible,” said Arnold.
Spring was previously a Livingston board president. He has experience as a teacher as well as a principal. Spring also has children in Livingston schools and said, “I’m a board member not for my children but for every child in the district.” On the subject of unfunded mandates such as Common Core, Spring said, “We need to address these mandates while keeping in mind what is in the best interest of the kids.”
Konner was also a prior board member. She has taught from the kindergarten level up through graduate courses. She has children and grandchildren living in Livingston and is a founding member of Livingston Education Foundation (LEF). Konner said, “I have a vision in which every child comes to school excited about learning, and once they arrive they stay excited about learning.”
Upon the completion of the interview process, Funt said, “It speaks tremendously of our community to have six capable, well-qualified people coming in to be interviewed.”
The interim board members will be selected at the meeting on August 13.