I am Ralph Chimento, a proud husband of twenty-four years and father of three children, a son and a daughter who recently graduated from Nutley High School, and a daughter who is entering her freshman year. I am a Lieutenant with the Belleville Fire Department where I have worked for twenty-three years. I decided to run for a seat on the Nutley Board of Education because I care deeply about this community and believe that I can make a meaningful contribution in formulating solutions to the critical issues this District is facing. We have reached a pivotal point in time, where the District must address not only the existing problems of overcrowding and underperformance in key academic areas, but must also address the changing demands of a community undergoing growth and a world that is fraught with increasing acts of senseless violence targeting schools.
I have spent much of my adult life working with children, both through community outreach with the Fire Department and as a coach of numerous sports teams in town, which has taught me that children are the most valuable commodity of a true “community” – as the children flourish so, too, does the community. I am a simple man who merely wants to maintain the integrity of our town (our home!) but have learned that necessary change is often impeded by a “business as usual” mentality. I have been an outspoken advocate for change, unafraid to challenge the status quo. For instance, more than ten years ago, I successfully advocated before the Board of Education for all-day kindergarten, and more recently, I have advocated for a resolution of the teachers’ contract dispute and for school security officers. I also spoke against recent proposals that I believed represented careless spending of taxpayer dollars, as well as elimination of freshman sports in the high school. Change is not always easy, but with courage, I am certain that we can rise to the challenges of the day. I would be honored to be a voice of the community, and to fight for common sense solutions that will benefit everyone.