WAYNE, NJ – In a tight race, Suzanne Pudup won the Election to become Wayne’s Board of Education (BOE) Vice President.

At the BOE reorganization meeting, Pudup was sworn-in to begin her second three-year term on the BOE.  She was then nominated for Vice President by Stacey Scher and Sean Duffy seconded the motion.

2019 President of the BOE, Michael Bubba was the only other nominee for Vice President, having been nominated by Matthew Giordano and seconded by Don Pavlak

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As Business Administrator, William Moffit read off the ballots, the tension in the room mounted.

Dawn Kumar               voted for Pudup (1)

Matthew Giordano       voted for Bubba (1)

Suzanne Pudup           voted for Pudup (2)

Eileen Albanese          voted for Bubba (2)

Don Pavlak                  voted for Bubba (3)

Michael Bubba            voted for Bubba (4)

Stacey Scher                voted for Pudup (3)

Cathy Kazan                voted for Pudup (4)

Sean Duffy                   voted for Pudup (5)

“Mrs. Pudup has become Vice President,” announced Moffit to applause from the audience at hand.

Pudup then took her seat next to newly elected President of the Wayne BOE Cathy Kazan on the dais.

This was exactly how the votes went for the BOE President’s election where Kazan won the seat 5-4 against Albanese.

In an interview with TAPinto Wayne, Pudup was asked why she was voted onto the Board and why she was elected as Vice President. “I think one of my strong suits is that I do try to see both sides of an issue,” she said. “I don’t get stuck on believing something has to be right or wrong. I’m always willing to listen.”

“I play well with others in the sandbox,” Pudup said with a laugh.

In talking about the split voting that went on during the elections, Pudup said: “When selecting officers, personalities sometimes come into play, but I know that all the Board members are interested in moving the district forward for the betterment of the educational system for the students, their parents and the community at large. Future votes by all the members will be based on this and not on personalities.”

Pudup complimented Bubba saying he was a fine President and would’ve made a fine Vice President. She also spoke highly of incoming President Kazan. “Mrs. Kazan, of all the board members has volunteered a lot of her time and has been involved in both the New Jersey School Boards Association and the Passaic County School Boards Association as our representative,” said Pudup. “I’m impressed that she drives down to meetings in Trenton, and she had been very participatory in these organization,” said Pudup.

Finishing, Pudup added: “She’s dedicated and like the rest of us, she’s there for the kids."

Who is Suzanne Pudup?

Pudup and her husband, Dave, moved to Wayne in 1982. Both were originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and met at Carnegie Mellon University.  She started her teaching career as a classroom instructor in the Paterson Public Schools in 1995 and then came to the Wayne Public Schools in 1998 while working on her master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Media at William Paterson. 

The majority of her service in Wayne was as an Elementary Media Specialist -- first at Albert Payson Terhune, and the last nine years at the Lafayette School. 

“Lafayette was like coming home because that was where my sons, Mike and Ed started their education in Wayne,” said Pudup.  “Both are graduates of Wayne Valley High School.

After a twenty-one-year career as a teacher, Pudup retired in 2016, but wanted to continue her commitment to public education by serving on the BOE.  “I believe that my experience as a teacher within the district allows me to bring a knowledgeable perspective to the Board,” she said.  

Her husband Dave Pudup has retired from a job at IBM and now volunteers on the Wayne Memorial First Aid Squad.

2020 BOE Issues and Direction

“For me, one of the biggest issues is to make sure that the full-day Kindergarten plan meets its timeline,” said Pudup. “And, also passing the new budget for the next school year.”

The former teacher spoke about the need to always be assessing what the needs are in the district. “For example, we’ve already done the Block Scheduling change at the High School. Can we do that at the middle schools?” she said. “And, we need to make sure that we are always meeting all our staffing needs.”

“I believe it’s very important to look ahead and measure how changes in the Township might impact the school district. Such as Valley Bank selling their property. Will that mean housing units?” she said.

Avalon Bay is in the process of purchasing the land where Valley Bank sits on Valley Road extension.  Their goal is to build over five-hundred housing units, but the Wayne Township municipal government is currently embroiled in a lawsuit regarding this issue and the results of this transaction are still up in the air.

“With housing units comes more students and how do we plan for that moving forward?” asked Pudup. “It’s our job to make sure that we have the classroom space available to house those students and teachers available to educate those students coming into the district.”

“It’s about always keeping one eye on the future,” she said.

Very self-servingly, TAPinto Wayne asked Pudup about selecting TAPinto Wayne as the officially designated online news source for the BOE. “I think it’s terrific,” she said.” Sometimes I think that people’s lives, are so busy that if we make it easier to get local news, its better. Especially since our current local newspapers have been shrinking over the last few years.”

Pudup believes that Wayne has an excellent administrative team and is proud of the progress the school district is making -- from the One-to-One Chromebook Initiative to the fulfillment of a Full Day Kindergarten.  “Another priority is working with all stakeholders in an open-minded, supportive, and productive manner,” said Pudup. 

It’s this attitude that likely had her elected as Vice President of the Wayne BOE.