The Parents United Hoboken Board of Education slate, which has the backing of politicos such as Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) and 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo, hosted a meet and greet at Biggie’s Clam Bar last night.
“We are gonna run a positive campaign because at the end of the day, we’re all in it for our district of children and our city children as well,” said Hoboken BOE Trustee Peter Biancamano.
“And we’re all it because we just hired a superintendent a year ago, Dr. Christine Johnson, who has come into this district and has done a wonderful, wonderful job,” adding that he was very impressed upon meeting the Parents United team of Jessica Nelson, Francis “Chipper” Benway and Jennifer Rossini.
Nelson, who sells real estate, had her twin daughters – who joined her during her speech – were her main reason for decided to run.
“My twin daughters, they currently attend Hoboken Charter School. The other reason I would tell you I am very interested in being a part of this is as a realtor in Hoboken,” she explained.
“Too often I see people saying ‘could you sell my home? I want to move to Chatham. I want to move to Summit. I want to move to Westfield. I’m not happy with the schools in Hoboken.
Benway, a history teacher and former baseball and football coach, said that education has been a high priority in his life for two decades.
“Education has been very important to me since my mid-20s: I’ve been involved in education for the past 20 years. As a coach, I’ve mentored many, many young ball players,” he recalled.
“As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to have students, former students come back and thank me for all the positive things I’ve helped them to do with their lives. Now is my turn to make sure that Hoboken education is where it should be.”
Rossini, a former trustee for Hudson County CASA, a group that helps neglected and abused children, says her 5-year-old son’s struggles with the special needs curriculum motivated her to seek a seat on the board.
” … The reason I initially wanted to get involved is because there really is no program for my son. He is kind of in between the programs that I wanted to get more involved in the process because I want something for him and I don’t want to have to move.”
She is also a business executive, which she believes would bring a fresh perspective to the board when it comes time to make difficult financial decisions.
Others in attendances included former North Hudson Sewerage Authority Chairman Frank Raia, ex-Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason, Hoboken NAACP member Cory Anderson, West New York Housing Authority Executive Director Bob DiVincent, Hoboken BOE Trustee John Madigan, Elysian Charter School President Eduardo Gonzalez, Hoboken Democratic Committee Secretary Joe Branco, among many others.
Many pundits are viewing the November 8 race as a sneak preview of 2017, where Romano is expected to challenge Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
Zimmer is backing the Forward Together team, who is hosting a meet and greet tomorrow, and the team also has the support of several members of the city council.
While the Zimmer-backed BOE ticket defeated Romano’s BOE team at the polls in 2015, huge vote-by-mail numbers gave Britney Montgomery and Madigan unexpected come from behind victories.