RANDOLPH, NJ - The Randolph Board of Education interviewed three candidates to fill Dr. Thomas’ vacant seat at the Tuesday meeting, which started early at 7:15 PM. The BOE considered Douglas Weisberger, Theresa Fogel and Joseph Faranetta for the position.
This candidate will complete Dr. Thomas’ term through the end of 2017 and decide at that time if they will run for reelection.
Each candidate provided opening statements with their reasons for applying to the BOE and contributions they could make if chosen.
"My kids are actually past the Randolph district and both are graduated from college, but I’ve been here from the beginning days of Ironia.” Faranetta began. “My kids both came out of here very well prepared for college academically, socially.... So I’m hoping that in the time I would be here, for the 13 or 14 months, that I could do my best to make sure the other kids in my district come out the same way.”
Weisberger was member of the BOE in the past, but stopped serving to spend more time with his family. He now has time to dedicate to the BOE again and used his past experience on the board to demonstrate why he should be chosen.
“I can jump right into the position,” Weisberger said. “I’ve worked on curriculum development and implementation… Basically, I’m here because it’s all about the students, and they’re the number one priority and their safety.”
Fogel is a teacher, and her children are enrolled in the district at Fernbrook and in the Middle School.
“Currently, I’m working as an adjunct professor at CCM as an English teacher, and I’ve also subbed in the district and been a PTO president for the last two years in Fernbrook,” she said. “I come with the knowledge of what everyone is doing now in school, because that’s where my kids are.”
The BOE asked about the professional and community experience of each candidate.
“I’ve always wanted to give back to the community, whether it was through the organizations we were part of in school, whether it was coaching the kids on the sideline for the all the years my kids grew up,” Faranetta said. “I’m currently a member of the recreation committee for the township, so I stay involved.”
His professional career began with AT&T after he graduated from college, and Faranetta has been with the company for over 30 years. His experience involves managing the New Jersey real estate for AT&T, as well as launching billion-dollar businesses within the company.
“So my business background spans many different kinds of disciplines,” Faranetta concluded. “Plus, as I said, the community involvement; I’ve been involved with the schools since Day One, really. I’d like to think that all of those different experiences are something I could bring as value to the board.”
Board member Sheldon Epstein reminded the candidates how the board functions in relation to the school district, and asked them to elaborate on their professional experience to support the Board’s goals. He also reminded them of the considerable time commitment required.
“Sometimes there’s a perception that the emphasis is on education,” Epstein explained. “In reality this is a governing body; the emphasis falls on first word 'Board' more than on the last word 'education.'”
Weisberger commented that working on the BOE is a “labor of love,” and he is always aware of the time commitment the position involves.
Fogel explained that while she’s been teaching for many years, she has served in many different roles through volunteer organizations that provided the administrative experience necessary to serve on the board.
“I always end up on committees and board,” Faranetta began. “Whether it’s starting out as a coach and then ending up running the league… So I always wind up in a position where I become part of the leadership committee…. I clearly understand the role of the board and the function of leadership that we need to bring into the district.”
Board Member Ronald Conti asked what each candidate believes to be the greatest weakness in the district.
One of the challenges Fogel mentioned is the special education population within in the community, and how these students need more support in order to "feel success" in the district.
Weisberger stated that, in the past, he believed the weakness to be the culture, but he worked hard to resolve that problem in the district. The external constraints, such as state curriculum and testing, is now the biggest challenge facing Randolph.
“I haven’t been part of the district actively for four years,” Faranetta said. “One of my biggest concerns in general in society, which probably translates directly into our kids here, is the ability not only to see data and critically sort through the data, but really understand the impact of the data.”
“This town, this district, has been very, very good to me and to my children, and I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to work with you guys, hopefully,” Faranetta stated in his closing comments, “and continue to do that for all the rest of the students in the district.”
The board deliberated for half an hour and chose Joseph Faranetta to fill the vacant seat. After swearing in, he filled the role for the remainder of the meeting.