LETTER: Hoboken BOE trustees ‘need a true passion for the promise of public education’


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken Board of Education Vice President Malani Cademartori, speaking as a private citizen, explains why trustees “need a true passion for the promise of public education.”

Hoboken Board of Education Trustee Malani Cademartori being sworn in on January 2nd, 2019. Screenshot via YouTube.

Dear Editor,

Petitions for potential candidates for the 3 annual seats up for election on the Hoboken Public School District’s Board of Education are due this coming Monday, July 25th.

To file a petition and be eligible to run for one of the three seats up this year (and every year), you must, among other things, have at least 10 signatures on your completed petition, have lived in Hoboken for no less than one year, be a registered voter, and be at least 18 years of age.

Those who are ultimately elected to the Board of Education will be required to clear a background check, be fingerprinted and undergo ethics training.

There is no requirement for a candidate to be a parent of a child in the school district or at all, nor is there a requirement for a candidate to have any sort of background in education.

Candidates are required to be able to read and write, but are not required to have a certain level of education themselves nor any sort of or certain degrees.

Thus, there is very little that is formally required to run for or be elected to a seat on the Board of Education. In my opinion, however, to perform the duties of a Board of Education

Trustee the way it deserves to be discharged, a candidate needs some very specific characteristics.

I believe you need a true passion for the promise of public education for all and a desire to continually strive to represent that notion and goal. You need to believe in the beauty of seeing achievement in our children and in the vision of equity through education.

It should be important to you that our children live diversity in their everyday lives in order to appreciate diversity in the world.

And you should understand, going into it, that all children are different and achieve differently, and that education is capable of being, and must be, flexible.

You have to believe that what you do for all the city’s children will shape a better city, state, country and world than the one we are leaving them to work with. In short, you need a true passion about education, equity, our children and their future.

It also helps to be able to check your ego at the door and have a thick skin to keep your focus on the kids. You need to accept and understand that you don’t know everything.

You need to be willing to learn how and why things work the way they do in public service (as opposed to in the private sector because they truly aren’t comparable) and specifically in public education – and there is a lot to learn; much more than I had ever anticipated.

You need to be collaborative and tuck your ego away in order to work as a cohesive unit with the whole Board and the administration, for the good of the children we serve as our primary charge.

The right people will know that this is not their stage or spotlight, nor their springboard for whatever else it is they want to do. This is not their place to be, or prove, they are “right” about whatever it is they want to be right about.

In my opinion, they should know this is not a place for partisan politics or representing “sides” as it were here in Hoboken.

Because being on the board is an end in itself – it’s a position that satisfies a calling to serve the least represented in our community.

It’s not about you, or me, or even about your or my own children (if you have them), it’s about the community and progress and selflessness.

We all know by now that being elected to the Board of Education and serving thereon, is voluntary, with no remuneration, perks or real recognition.

Frankly, very few people know who any of the board members are at any given time, and it has often been called a “thankless” job as a result.

But I can assure you that it is not a thankless job.

While board members may not receive a ton of recognition or thanks from the public at large (and I, for one, am just fine with that), we receive all the satisfaction and “thanks” we need when we see the children of the district smile as they come out of school, or when we see them achieve in whatever it is they strive to accomplish.

For my own part, the sense of purpose that I experience and how full my soul feels when I attend our high school graduation is something I wish everyone could experience.

There is, truly, no better day of the year.

So, if the thought of watching our incredibly diverse young adults exude confidence and a sense of achievement, cheer in equal amounts for each of their fellow graduates, and honor their parents and teachers as they cross the dias and take their first steps into the world, brings a smile to your face or warms your heart, I believe you should consider a run for the Board of Education.

Best of luck to all those candidates whose aim is true.

Disclaimer: Although I am a current member of the Hoboken Board of Education, the foregoing letter and statements therein are made in my capacity as a private citizen and not in my capacity as a board member.

These statements are also not representative of the board or any of the board’s individual members, and represent my own personal opinions only.

Malani Cademartori


Editor’s note: This letter was submitted before the “Kids First” opposition slate was announced.

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  1. The residents of Hoboken were very clear when they overwhelmingly vote NO after being blindsided, on a bloated high school construction plan that all of the members of the BOE participated in a calculated lie of omission.

    They all lost the trust and respect of the majority and should not be allowed to try to mislead the people of Hoboken again.

    Despite the hollow protest in this self-serving letter to the contrary the current BOE is for the most is part of and functions in lock step of the Ravi Bhalla’s political machine.

  2. What a bitter defensive letter!
    From the wife of a husband who throws tantrums when his neighbor hung a “Vote No” sign to block her secret high school plan…

    • Branco is the neighbor so don’t be shy, and Malani is not her husband’s keeper. Chivalrous if you ask me… getting pissed off at the guy trolling his wife. They live across the same street. GOO Joe has the maturity of a fetus (coincidentally valued more by his political party than an adolescent rape victim).

      Joe needs to put on his big boy pants, this attack is weak tea. Did anyone bother Joe’s wife about his BoE campaign’s Nazi truck? No, they did not. Family is not fair game in politics– unless of course you dumpster dive like GOP Joe (as opposed to GI Joe). Leave Malani ‘s husband (and every candidate’s spouse) out of your petty attacks.

      • It is a bitter defensive letter.
        The voters of Hoboken have witnessed over again have seen any questioning of the actions the BOE or lack of them will not be tolerated and be met with vicious personal attacks.
        The voters of Hoboken have also reminded Superintendent Johnson and her BOE rubber stamp board that they have the ultimate say as to what they will fund.
        Hoboken needs an honest and open school board with a diversity of opinions.
        I will not be voting to keep any Superintendent Johnson’s crew on the HBOE.

      • Her husband made public postings of Branco’s home and publicly complained about Joes vote no sign.
        He is very fair game.
        When The First Lady calls Mexican Americans “breakfast tacos” is she not fair game because she’s family?
        Is Melania Trump not fair game when she sits in the White House while her husband tries to upend democracy?

        It’s not Melani’s fault her husband is supposedly one bow tie away from Tucker Carlson but his actions in their FAILED hockey rink referendum is legit.

  3. https://hobokenhorse.com/nazi-truck-mastermind/

    It was not Joe Branco sorry to disappoint. But you knew that already. You also know that Joe’s wife is Jewish therefore making his kids Jewish. Therefore you are the one clearly attacking his wife and kids by trying to associate this disgusting propaganda with him.

    ** You do realize your statement may constitute libel. **

  4. We need candidates with integrity, the ability to look at things objectively – and some basic math skills. The rest is all window dressing.

  5. right away with asinine comments and comparisons that are ok for you but if someone who is on the other side of the divide said it you would be up in arms calling for there head. its not libel they can say whatever they want unchecked,do as i say not as i do. must be nice

  6. The buck for campaign expenditures stops with the campaign manager or managers. It’s all on the record. As for threats, the truth is the best defense against such frivolous claims. I seem to recall one which ended very badly for a married pair of litigants. Now, the article you linked may be libel and the victim, Mr. Barccato, may wish to explore those options.

    Back to the point: BoE family members– including spouses– are not fair game for anonymous smear campaigns. Nor are the families of campaign managers.

  7. Candidates should have integrity, see things objectively and have some basic math skills. While government agencies do operate much differently than private businesses, an appreciation for cost/benefit evaluations should also be required.

    Finally, I think having this particular filing deadline so far in advance of the election does not serve us well. At very least, the current Board should provide a more formal response to the Referendum vote, which may expand, or for that matter contract, the number of possible candidates. At this point, we are still operating somewhat in the dark, which has led to problems in the recent past.

    At very least, let’s hope for some honest, public debates come Fall.

    • The HBOE is not going to release a referendum proposal until after the election. If they did that or someone leaked a potential bond vote, they would lose votes in November.

  8. Malani Cademartori has proven she is unable to tuck away her own enormous ego and has set the dubious example that if you don’t like anyone’s opinion you confront them in public and try to intimidate them.

    Her actions have convinced me and probably many others to look for alternatives to not only her but all of the old BOE leadership.

    • She’s looks so angry all the time
      It seems people like Melani, Ailene and Irene ( Infamous ‘Butt buddy’ texting remark heard around the world a few years ago ) haven’t learned their lesson – or are they that arrogant ?
      This feels like a Beth Mason era campaign already
      The current BOE really lost their way
      Bring back Minutillo