Candidates were asked to answer the same questions about themselves and their stances for East Brunswick Patch. Patch will be presenting the candidates in their own words with profiles running up until the election.
HOLLY HOWARD CANDIDATE PROFILEName: Holly Howard
Age: 63Occupation: Homemaker
My husband, Bill, and I have lived in East Brunswick for over 30 years. We have two children, Jennifer and Josh, and a daughter-in-law, Katie, all who attended our schools K-12.
My son and his wife are new homeowners in town and are expecting their first child, a future kindergartener at Lawrence Brook School. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education from The College of New Jersey and taught high school in Princeton for several years. After moving to this area, I managed The Wooden Nickel restaurant in North Brunswick until the birth of my second child.
Having two children who attended our schools K-12 and serving as both Frost PTA President and President of PTA Presidents Council, I have had the unique experience of being involved in all our schools, gaining a better understanding of the collaboration necessary between elementary and secondary levels to ensure our students’ success.
I’ve had many of the same questions and concerns that develop as our children progress through the school system and can offer an objective, balanced perspective to evaluate proposals and resolve situations.
What distinguishes me from my fellow candidates is the depth of my knowledge about all aspects of our district. In my years on the Board, I have served on every committee and been involved in initiatives including planning and construction of new buildings, adoption and evaluation of curriculum and the development of strategies to keep our buildings healthy, safe and secure for our students and staff.
Serving on the Board has also given me the opportunity to meet and work with different groups within our community, listening to their concerns and appreciating different points of view. Now with adult children, I have the time not only to attend Board meetings and my assigned committees, but also to go into our schools in an ongoing effort to evaluate instruction, stay up to date on current methodology and technology and ensure that our dollars are allocated wisely.
The two most pressing issues currently facing our school district are the selection of a new Superintendent of Schools and the effects of the continuing financial crises on our schools and residents.
A consequence of the financial crises in our state is the threat of reducing our outstanding district to one where all students get an “adequate” education. During my time on the Board, I am proud that we have not allowed that to happen. By promoting shared services, inter-local agreements with the township, and increased purchasing opportunities with other school districts, we have been able to lower costs in the budget and preserve programs.
I have met with members of township government in an effort to increase opportunities to work together to the benefit of our residents and am optimistic that by working together, we can increase efficiencies and lighten the tax burden.
In addition, our Community Programs department has developed multiple childcare programs offered at competitive prices, which serve the dual purpose of providing quality daycare and preschool education while contributing additional revenue to the district. Outside funding is also generated by using the auditorium at Hammarskjold as an intended rental venue with the added benefit of presenting our community with wonderful concerts and programs.
One of the most important responsibilities of the Board is the selection of their Superintendent of Schools. Despite a lengthy search prior to Dr. Magistro’s retirement, we were unsuccessful in finding a candidate who met our criteria and was a good fit for the district.
We need capable educational leadership but more importantly a leader who will have the enthusiasm and vision for what we can achieve, and the energy and drive to get us there. My goal is to find a candidate with the potential for growth and longevity here in East Brunswick and I hope the voters will give me that chance.