(Editor’s Note: Elections for the South Plainfield Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5. This year, five candidates are vying for three open seats; incumbents Deborah “Debbie” Boyle, Tom Cassio and Jim Giannakis and are seeking re-election while Cherie Glover and Bill Seesselberg are vying for a seat as well. TAPinto emailed all five candidates the same questions, the candidates answers will be published one per day this week unedited.)

Giannakis’s Bio

Ernie ‘Jim’ Giannakis, a resident for 33 years, is seeking re-election to the South Plainfield Board of Education. His name will appear on the ballot in ‘Row I.’

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Giannakis was a member of the board of education for three consecutive terms from 2005 to 2015 and again elected in 2017, He was the Board's President from 2007 to 2011. 

Professionally, Giannakis works as a food service director for Piscataway Public Schools and, on a local front, has been a South Plainfield Ponytail Softball Coach, a member of St. Luke’s Church in North Plainfield, and a member of the Mountainside PBA. Giannakis is also a former vice president of the Mountainside Rotary Club and a former member of the Franklin School PTO and Grant School PTO Executive Committee.

 Why are you running for re-election to the South Plainfield Board of Education?

 I am seeking re-election to the Board of Education because I believe I have played an important role in moving the District forward.  I look at the strides this Board is making and I have supported the implementation of new academic programs, overall test scores improving, a referendum passed which has enhanced our buildings tremendously, our High School becoming a “TOP 100” in the State school, students each starting to get their own tablet, the list could go on and on, but this is happening because the large majority of this Board is pulling in the same direction and I want to continue being a part of this.

In your opinion, what is the role of a board of education member?

To support our staff and Administration and give them the tools necessary to thoroughly educate and improve each of our students, as well as maintain our facilities.  We also have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers, of which I am also one.

What do you feel are the top three (3) issues affecting South Plainfield schools?

Keeping up with the surrounding growth, developments are increasing quickly, and we are running out of classroom space.  Also, we have a District with some older buildings, thankfully we were able to pass a referendum that allowed us to make some major improvements, however we also have to maintain them as well. Ensuring we have all of the qualified faculty and staffing throughout our District in all the right positions.

If elected/re-elected to the Board, what is the first thing you would look into?

 I would continue the pace we are currently on, planning for the impending developments with additional students, as well as working on our 5 year plan.

What are some of your accomplishments as a member of the Board (incumbents)?

 I am so proud of so many of the accomplishments that have happened over the last 3 years, we passed a major referendum, hired a full time Business Administrator, our High School is rated as a “Top 100” in the State, and we have given every High School student a Chrome book to take home and use every day.

What do you like best about South Plainfield Schools?

The students, the faculty, the way it feels like family.

Why should residents elect/re-elect you to the South Plainfield Board of Education?

What makes you the candidate of choice? I am dedicated to our students and faculty. I also am invested having a daughter in our system. I work tirelessly to make sure I am at every meeting and read every paper sent to me to stay on top of any and all issues,  also never taking anyone’s concerns lightly and doing my due diligence. Every decision I make is always in the best interest of the students, faculty and taxpayers. I will always work hard to maintain that and continue to push South Plainfield to be the best!!

Is there anything else you would like voters to know?

This is an Election campaign and I will do what I always do, focus on the positive. The only thing I ask is that you do your homework. If someone is spreading negativity about myself or other candidates, check for yourself.  My door is always open and I welcome questions…my email is egiannakis@spboe.org. Thank you

What line are you on the ballot?

 I am Line I