(Editor’s Note: Elections for the South Plainfield Board of Education will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. This year, seven candidates are vying for three open seats; incumbents John Farinella, Chere Glover, and Sharon Miller are seeking re-election while Keith Both, Jennifer Curtis, Pio Pennisi, and Stephanie Wolak are vying for a seat as well. TAPinto emailed all seven candidates the same questions and is publishing each candidate profile in alphabetical order.)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – John Farinella, a resident since 1973, is seeking re-election to his third consecutive term on the South Plainfield Board of Education (BOE). He was first elected in 2011 and, over the course of his tenure, served as vice president for two years. Farinella was also chair of the BOE’s negotiations committee for the recently approved South Plainfield Education Association contract. His name will appear on the ballot in ‘Line 7.’
A graduate of South Plainfield High School, Farinella went on to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in both mathematics and economics from Penn State University as well as a master of arts degree in education administration and supervision from Saint Peter’s College and a juris doctor degree from Seton Hall University School of Law.
In addition to being a member of the New Jersey Bar, New York Bar, and the United States District Court of New Jersey Bar, Farinella has over 20 years of experience in public education. He has served as a mathematics teacher, vice principal, and high school principal. Since 2010, Farinella has been principal of Rahway High School and, for the past eight years, has served as president of the Rahway Administrators and Supervisors Association. Additionally, he is a member of the Union County Secondary School Principals Association, the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Farinella was named NJPSA’s 2017 Secondary School Principal of the Year for the State of New Jersey and, in spring 2016, received the Richard J. Nichols, Ed.D. Award from Kean University for his support of the professional development of student teachers placed at Rahway High School.
In his spare time, Farinella enjoys spending time with his wife Dawn and their three children. His son is a 2017 graduate of South Plainfield High School and his two other children are still students in the district. Farinella's hobbies include running, biking, fishing, traveling, and music.
For this year’s election, all seven candidates vying for three open seats on the South Plainfield BOE were provided with the same questions. Farinella’s responses are as follows:
TAPinto South Plainfield (TAPinto): Why are you running for re-election to the South Plainfield BOE?
John Farinella (JF): I am seeking re-election to the South Plainfield Board of Education to continue to advocate for effective supports, policies and professional staff to make educational opportunities for all students effective, accessible and comprehensive in the South Public Schools.
TAPinto: In your opinion, what is the role of a BOE member?
JF: Board of education members serve as advocates for sound educational policies for the district and serve in the role of employing strong educational leaders, teachers, and support staff so that students enrolled in the South Plainfield Public Schools are provided a meaningful and comprehensive educational experience that affords them the opportunity to pursue the career and personal goals that they aspire to reach.
TAPInto: What do you feel are the top 3 issues affecting South Plainfield schools?
JF: The top three issues that the South Plainfield Public Schools face are as follows: Maintaining and enhancing educational opportunities for all students of all ability levels through a rich and rigorous curriculum; maintaining and sustaining sound educational leaders and highly-competent teachers at all levels throughout the district; and repairing and maintaining the facilities owned by the South Plainfield Public Schools.
TAPinto: If re-elect to the board, what is the first thing you would look into?
JF: If re-elected, the most important task that needs to be addressed is to hire a permanent business administrator as the [current] interim business administrator’s two-year window of time to work temporarily in the district will come to a close. The business administrator is the designated purchasing agent for the South Plainfield Public Schools. The role of the business administrator is crucial to the effective operation of the district.
\TAPinto: What are some of your accomplishments as a member of the board?
JF: I have been instrumental in helping the South Plainfield Board of Education to settle the past three SPEA contracts on time and in a fair and responsible manner. In addition, I was part of the hiring committees that have selected and hired two excellent Superintendents while serving as a board member. Finally, I was instrumental in advocating for the referendum that was recently passed which will sustain high-quality educational facilities for our students well into the future.
TAPinto: What do you like best about South Plainfield Schools?
JF: I like that the South Plainfield Public Schools offer solid academic programs along with varied and meaningful extracurricular opportunities in the areas of athletics and in the visual, fine, and performing arts.
TAPinto: Why should residents re-elect you to the South Plainfield BOE? What makes you the candidate of choice?
JF: I am the candidate of choice for the South Plainfield Board of Education because I am a professional educator with excellent professional experience that enables me to better support the needs of our students in our school system. My ability to provide leadership at the Board level has been demonstrated since I was first elected in 2011. As noted earlier, I have been instrumental in helping the South Plainfield Board of Education to settle the past three SPEA contracts on time and in a fair and responsible manner. In addition, I was part of the hiring committees that have selected and hired two excellent superintendents while serving as a board member. Finally, I was instrumental in advocating for the referendum that was recently passed which will sustain high-quality educational facilities for our students well into the future.
TAPinto: Is there anything else you would like voters to know?
JF: I believe that our public schools in South Plainfield are the most valuable resource in our community, positively affecting the lives of all students who attend them. In addition, the value of our homes is a direct reflection of our strong school system, revealing to all that South Plainfield is a great town to live and to raise a family in. I strongly encourage all South Plainfield voters to re-elect me to the South Plainfield Board of Education. My professional experience as an award-winning educator and my strong advocacy for public education makes me the right person to continue to maintain and to enhance the educational opportunities for our students in our South Plainfield Public Schools.
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