Hoboken Education Association endorses ‘Leadership that Listens’ BOE slate


The Hoboken Education Association has endorsed the “Leadership that Listens” board of education slate in the non-partisan November 8th contest.

Instagram photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“We’re extremely proud to have the endorsement of the Hoboken Education Association, a well-respected organization that represents so many of our hardworking Hoboken teachers. We will proudly work alongside our school administrators and educators to continue improving the lives of our students, and are thrilled to have their support,” the LTL team of Trustee Alex de la Torre, Leslie Norwood, and Antonio Graña said in a joint statement.

“While candidates from other slates have demonstrated hostility towards our teachers and administrators – both in their words and the organizations they’ve aligned with – we will always treat our teachers and the organization they belong to with respect and dignity.”

LTL again took aim at their main opposition, the “Kids First” team of Pavel Sokolov, Cindy Wiegand, and Donna Magen for receiving the endorsement of the New Jersey Project, a conservative group that opposes vaccines mandates, LGBTQ curriculums, and has had Facebook posts critical of the New Jersey Education Association.

While Magen had a brief interaction with the head of NJ Project on Facebook, Kids First has maintained that no one from their team solicited the endorsement and has since disavowed it.

The HEA’s endorsement is not particularly shocking, given that the NJEA supported the $241 million school referendum in January by donating $5,000 to the Friends of the New Hoboken High School group, campaign finance records show.

Nevertheless, for the moment, LTL has secured the only union endorsement in the election as the race hits the 11th hour.

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  1. Questioning the way Christine Johnson and her HBOE rubber stamps acted in January is not being hostile.
    It is what two thirds of Hoboken voters did when the voted down the $300,000,000 construction referendum.
    Adding three of those people and voices to the existing Board will add much need diversity to the HOBE.

    Voting for Kids First.

  2. That is not a “brief interaction”, John.

    Magen wrote 41 posts beginning in 2021, and commented innumerable times on other’s posts. That is NOT a “brief interaction” with extremism. Magen is all-in with NJ Projects, a group the NJEA has called “homophobic” “transphobic” and spreading “misinformation”, one reason they took the unprecedented move to endorse in a Hoboken race– for LTL, against KF.

    “Fresh Faced Schools” is NJ Projects Facebook affiliate. You can verify Magen’s prolific activity yourself. Go to to “Fresh Faced Schools” FB page and type “Donna Magan” in the search box.


      • Once on “Fresh Faced Schools” FB page, the other to Nik Stouffer on “NJ Projects.”


        The context of the endorsement is she is a prolific participant in an anti-NJEA, anti- science, abti- LGBTQ & transgender privacy rights PAC.

          • Like Two groups says there are two facebook groups. where two groups is wrong is that magen isnt a member of the nj project group and has never commented on that one. you can do a search of the members and the group and you’ll see. donna has posted on the fresh faced one and ive read the posts. they are mainly about masking kids and how she didnt want it required which she has been open about. i dont understand why the LTL fanatics cant just stick to the facts and local policy issues. instead of fabricating political hyberbole. its not a good look for them.

    • 41 posts in 20 months on Fresh Faced and none on NJ Projects (I checked)? So what is that? 2 a month? You call that in bed? instead of making up stories why dont you just stick to the facts.

  3. The HEA endorsement has NOTHING to do with the past referendum, it has everything to do with extremist, anti-NJEA candidates that they believe are hostile to the interests of Hoboken teachers.

    The NJEA has called NJ Projects, the extremist PAC that endorsed Kids First (at Donna Magen’s request), “homophobic” “transphobic” and spreading “misinformation”.

    HEA knows of all of the Hoboken candidates and trusts that LTL will work in good faith in the best interest of students and teachers.

    Notably, the believe that KF is so unacceptable for Hoboken that this is the first time the they have endorsed local candidates.

    • nancy, enough of the crazy talk. there was no endorsement request and actually the ltl slate backed off this when pressed and even changed their narrative on the next flyer that they sent. not sure why you are continuing to push it. donna posted on nj fresh faced about masks. who cares? think about all the places you posted in your long trolling career.

  4. These three candidates are now legally barred from contract negotiations with the teachers union if they happen to win.

    Furthermore, the HEA had bought the BOE, such that they have worked in their contract that they NEVER pay for any health benefits or co-pay. It all goes on the backs of the people of hoboken.

    With health care costs skyrocketing for everyone and inflation at the highest in over 20+ years, they get to keep their Cadillac plans and pay ZERO. While everywhere else and other unions have to cover a portion of their costs, not the whole thing but at least 2% of the cost or something. That seems reasonable.

    • I don’t think they would be legally barred, but they sure ought to be. If they win the union will write their own contract. Again. It’s not like we needed any more proof that these people had no interest in being responsible stewards of the public’s money. But if anybody has any doubt, this endorsement seals it. Vote KF.

  5. The average Hoboken district school teacher’s base salary is $66K.

    For reasons including low salary, there is a REAL shortage of qualified teachers. Private sector employment is not only more lucrative, but increasing political pressure on teachers from ideologues like Kids First that are infiltrating school boards across NJ, threatening punishment for saying “gay”, banning books, editing textbooks, screaming about masks (Donna Magen) has made the profession less and less attractive. So, if you don’t think that low salaried workers that are educating our next generation deserve health benefits, the one perk of the otherwise thankless profession, that is your issue. If you want to attract and retain qualified teachers, provide benefits. Teachers are already reaching into their own pockets to cover classroom supply shortages. That is a fact.

    YES to health bennies for low-salaried Hoboken teachers in public and charters.

    Lastly, if the 3 newest board members are precluded from negotiating the next Union contract ( I hope that’s the case), well there are 9 board members.

    Got Math? That leaves six other board members. Now run off, MAGA.

  6. They get $66k for a ten month job so if you knew how to do math which you obviously don’t you would gross that up to roughly $80k for the year.

    And I agree that teachers should not be paying for their own school supplies that should 100% be coming from the school. No one is ever expected to pay for their own supplies at any job.

    But if you were literate you would have read that what was written was that they should pay a small fraction of health care costs, not everything not over 50% but at least some amount.

    And the contract has been in effect since before COVID and according to Dr Johnson since 2008. Anyone making $66k annually can pay a small fraction of their health care costs.

  7. Oh look!
    Joe Branco’s former boe school member and best buddy made the paper again.
    Can someone from kids first please explain why you chose to get mixed up with this crew? Was it just poor judgement or trying to win at all costs?

    NORTH JERSEY — Former Hoboken official and Newark Deputy Mayor Carmelo Garcia was indicted Friday for allegedly taking cash bribes and $19,000 worth of watches in a scheme to help two businessmen acquire property from the city of Newark, said the U.S. attorney’s office in a release.

    Indicted with Garcia on Friday were Frank Valvano Jr., 52, of Florham Park and Irwin Sablosky, 60, of Springfield, co-owners of a New Jersey-based pawnbroker and jewelry business that allegedly provided watches and cash to Garcia.

    The U.S. attorney’s office said that Garcia — who for a time was the director of Hoboken’s low-income housing and later worked at the Newark Community Economic Development Corp. (NCEDC) — was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury in a conspiracy to help the business owners buy and redevelop land owned by the city of Newark.

    The Charges

    Garcia, 45, along with Valvano and Sablosky, have been charged with:

    One count of conspiracy to defraud the city of Newark and the NCEDC facilitated by the use of interstate wire transmissions;
    17 counts of honest services wire fraud; and
    Four counts of use of interstate facilities to promote and facilitate bribery in violation of the Travel Act.

    Garcia is additionally charged with three counts of receiving bribes in connection with the business of a federally funded local government and organization.
    Valvano and Sablosky are additionally charged with three counts of offering the bribes.
    The defendants will be arraigned in federal court on a date to be determined.

    ‘Extensive Communication’

    According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

    From at least 2017 through April 2019, Garcia sought and received money and other benefits from Valvano, Sablosky, and others in exchange for Garcia’s use of his official positions and influence to advance real estate development matters of interest to Valvano and Sablosky.

    According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Garcia also received jewelry, including multiple high-end watches and chains, from Valvano’s and Sablosky’s pawnbroker and jewelry business, including a Rolex watch with a selling price of $8,900, a Cartier watch with a selling price of $3,295, an Omega watch with a selling price of $7,295, and a chain with a selling price of $9,345.”

    Office said that phone records and text messages showed “extensive communication” among the three men and others, “including text messages in which Garcia arranged to personally collect cash provided by Valvano and Sablosky.”

    Allegedly Received Bribe In The Bathroom

    A release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said that in 2018, while Garcia was Newark’s acting deputy mayor, he received an envelope containing $25,000 in cash, supplied by Valvano through an intermediary, in the restroom of a New Jersey restaurant.

    The U.S. Attorney’s Office says an associate of Garcia (identified in the indictment as “Individual 1”) also participated in the scheme.

    Officials say that the men tried to hide the payments by referring to them in texts as “docs” and “butter.”

    Potential Jail Time

    The honest services fraud conspiracy and honest services wire fraud charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The Travel Act charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The bribery concerning governments receiving federal funds charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

    All charges are punishable by a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of the pecuniary gain from the offense. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of ill-gotten gains obtained from the bribery scheme.

    An indictment is not a conviction, but is rendered after a grand jury determines that there’s enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

    Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez; and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation leading to the charges.”