(Editor's Note: Candidates for local elections are allowed to submit statements and information about their candidacy on the Alternative Press. We will be presenting information on this year's three candidates for the West Orange Board of Education. These statements come directly from the candidates themselves and are published verbatim.)
Dear West Orange Families:
Over the past year, I led a parents’ coalition that raised awareness, elevated parental dialogue with the WOBOE Administration, and effected improvements in Middle School Math, Language Arts and Standardized Test Prep. At the request of a diverse group of parents and community leaders from varied ideologies and backgrounds, I decided to run for the Board Education. I accepted the challenge in order to serve our children, to maximize our tax payers’ return on investment, and to be a bridge builder and unifying force in our town. As individuals, we are isolated voices of concern. Together we can be a chorus of concerted action and creative ideas for progress.
Our children deserve the best education possible…an education that empowers them to compete and succeed, and to experience a richness and depth of learning that brings them fulfillment in their lives, and sparks vocations and careers.
Given our tax investment and our town's quality of life, families and tax payers are shareholders who benefit from a school system that rises from good to premier, and, in doing so, lifts our property values and our town’s prestige. West Orange can become a beacon that shines brighter than all nearby townships, and a magnet for families, businesses, and investment. I want to enhance our investment in best-in-class academics, and reduce our sole reliance on tax dollars and government grants by engaging the 500+ corporations and foundations that invest hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars in education grants, sponsorships, donations, and partnerships for the sciences and arts.
My unique qualifications are commensurate with BOE responsibilities of management leadership in academics/curriculum policy development, budget management, creation of new revenue, facilities management and family advocacy. I am the only BOE candidate with the following attributes:
· Children in the school system
· YALE education in history and the sciences
· Current leadership in WO advocacy and youth development, working with parents and kids weekly
o Mountain Top League: Current Board of Directors and volunteer coach for 4 years
o Boy Scouts Leader: Current Council Board of Directors; Scout Leader 7 years, and advocate for gender equality
o Active on 4 PTAs over 8 years and current involvement in 2
o Led a Middle School Parents Coalition: Drove improvements in academics
· 25+ years of marketing, strategic planning and publishing, managing big budgets (Pepsi, Ford, McDonald’s, etc.)
· 1st career psychiatric counseling/case management
· Experience with EDUCATION partnerships and fund development: UNCF, INROADS, et al. I have a prequalified list of over 300 corporations and foundations that invest in education
· Digital publishing with understanding of tech ed and STEM educational needs
· 30+ years of English/Math tutoring, athletics coaching and counseling
Together we can bring excellence to West Orange Education through…
• Curriculum management: Upgraded standards, rigor and performance metrics
• 360-degree administrator evaluations
• Budget Control – Administrative and financial audits
• Millions of dollars in new revenue – corporate and foundation
• Parent/Teacher partnerships, surveys and curriculum committees
Best Practices in Education:
• Adopt practices of top performing WO and U.S. schools
• Differentiated Instruction – Addressing individual needs and performance cohorts with enrichment curricula and critical thinking skills
• Free tutors and teachers aides via university and corporate partners
• Brand WO Education in the town “WHERE INNOVATION LIVES” through Science Leadership
• Teach “21st-Century Skills” in technology/computer languages provided by corporations
If you believe in my ideas, please vote for me on November 5th.
All my best,
Mark A. Robertson