While we await the arrival of our mail-in ballots this week, we urge everyone to focus on the local election happening in Teaneck that will be included at the bottom of our ballots.
The Teaneck Board of Education (BOE) consists of nine members. Three members are elected every year and everyone serves a three year term. This year there are six candidates running for those three spots, only one of whom is an incumbent.
In Teaneck, close to 60 percent of our tax dollars go to fund the public schools. For the past six years the municipal portion of our taxes has remained flat. While enrollment has declined every year, the BOE budget increases by approximately two percent annually.
Whether you send your children to public school or not, the public education that Teaneck students receive should be important to you.
This year we are lucky to have three candidates running for BOE whom we support. We have met with all three and feel them to be highly qualified, to have the best interests of Teaneck’s students foremost in their minds, and to be understanding of the needs of students who chose to attend private schools while continuing to pay school taxes, as well as special education students and students with IEPs who require in person learning.
Damen Cooper attended Teaneck public schools from elementary school thru high school. He has been an educator for 22 years. He has experience as a special education teacher, a high school principal and a central office administrator. He lives in Teaneck with his wife and two sons who attend the Whittier School and Benjamin Franklin Middle School. He is looking to increase the level of reading and math education students receive in lower grades to set them up for success in high school and beyond. He understands education as a student, a parent, an educator and an administrator. He is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
Danielle Gee is a mother of three sons two of whom attend the Whittier School. She was an active mom on the Whittier PTO. Danielle is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Universities and is currently the chief of staff at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a $400 million dollar non profit. When she was in fifth grade, her teacher nominated her to a leadership program that prepared her for her future placement in independent schools. Because of the opportunities she was given, Danielle sees the disparities between success in the public and independent school systems and wants to address them. During this time of virtual learning she has formed pods with other families allowing students to learn together with a proctor, and has invited others who may need extra help to join. She is a uniter, a listener and in our opinion, the Real Deal.
Harold Clark is a retired Teaneck police officer and detective. His children are a product of the the Teaneck public school system. He has coached Teaneck Football for over 20 years. Harold wants to make sure that Teaneck High School students are set up to succeed once they graduate, so much so, that before every football practice, he required his players to attend a study hall. To him education is a priority, behavior is a priority, and setting students up for success is a priority. He is full of energy and has a smile that upon meeting him gives you the assurance that he will get things done.
Many of us don’t make the effort to vote in our local Board of Education election, even though this board spends the majority of our local tax dollars. This year, there is no excuse not to vote. The BOE is included on your ballot.
We urge you to vote and we hope you’ll consider voting for Damen Cooper - Column 2, Danielle Gee - Column 6 and Harold Clark - Column 5.Mayor Jim Dunleavy
Deputy Mayor Elie Katz
Deputy Mayor Mark (Mendy) Schwartz
Councilman Keith Kaplan
Councilman Mike Pagan
Councilwoman Karen Orgen
Teaneck BOE Member Gerald Reiner