As we continue to navigate this unique school year, the well-being of our students and staff should always be at the forefront. Safety is a top priority, as is the mental health of all stakeholders. Social emotional learning is paramount if we want to effectively educate our youth. A popular saying in educator circles is “Maslow before Bloom”, which means that we must consider a child’s most basic needs before expecting them to consider the content we are teaching them. I firmly believe that is true. And, if I were elected to the Board of Education, I will always use that belief as a guide.

Our schools are filled with talented teachers and staff who we trust with our children. The primary purpose of school is to educate. But there is also socialization, athletics and the arts. Many students look forward to these aspects of school and missed them the most this spring. It is fantastic to see these programs, in a slightly different form, returning to our schools. South Plainfield has a strong athletic program and I hope to see that grow even more. It is great to see students getting socialization as teams return to the fields and practices. As a parent of a high school student involved with several ensembles in the music program, including marching band, one of my priorities is to see continued investment in the arts. I have seen firsthand how these programs enhance school for a student, increase confidence and improve math skills. It is remarkable to see all of the creative ways students were able to share their musical and artistic talents this spring. They used technology to make beautiful videos that can be saved forever. Even when things go back to something that more closely resembles ‘normal’, I hope we continue to offer students ways to express themselves artistically. I know my daughter appreciates the new music technology skills she has acquired.

I have been a teacher for nearly two decades. I want nothing more than to see my students, in person. I hope that can be done safely, as soon as possible. A classroom teacher is the ideal candidate for a seat on the Board of Education. Who is better than an educator to understand what it is like to be in the classroom and offer a realistic picture of the challenges students and staff face? I have devoted half of my life to educating children. Kids will be at the forefront of every decision I will make, if I were to be elected to the Board of Education. All kids must have their needs met, whether they have an IEP or 504 plan, participate in athletics or in the arts. I am an independent thinker, who sees the big picture and understands the realities in our schools. I ask you to consider supporting my candidacy, because I am in it for the kids. Just like I have been throughout my teaching career. A fresh perspective will also help our district to continue to move forward. Innovation and new ideas are not negatives. Please reach out to me at with any questions you have.

Remember, column 2 will work for you. Keefe is in it for the Kids.