‘Together We Can’ is only current slate in Bayonne BOE race, four independents running

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The “Together We Can” team is the only slate currently running in the non-partisan November 2nd Bayonne Board of Education race, with four independents also challenging for three, three-year terms on the board.

The Together We Can Bayonne Board of Education slate, from left to right: Melissa Godesky-Rodriguez, Trustee Pam Sclafane, and Trustee Jodi Casais.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Jodi [Casais], Pam [Sclafane], and Melissa [Godesky-Rodriguez] are highly qualified candidates who all share a similar goal: improving the lives of the students who attend our schools,” BOE President Maria Valado, a former Together We Can candidate, said in a statement.

“We are confident that our schools and board will be improved with them on our team.”

Casais was elected in 2018, while Sclafane was appointed at the end of last year following the resignation of former Board President Joe Ryan.

Additionally, Godesky-Rodriguez is a local parent and advocate who unsuccessfully sought a board seat as an independent in 2019.

“I am ready to bring a different perspective to the table. I believe work still needs to be done to ensure our students have the emotional and hands-on support needed so that they can truly thrive within our community, and to support our teachers and their needs as well,” she said in a statement.

Their listed priorities include expanding social services, maintaining property taxes to keep Bayonne affordable, implementing more technology in the classroom and providing more tools needed in the classroom for local teachers to succeed.

Former Trustee Charles Ryan, who served a two-year term between 2017 and 2018 and was appointed in 2019 after a losing re-election effort at the polls, is again seeking to return to the board. He also came up short in last year’s race.

His slogan on the ballot is “The Smart Choice.”

Additionally, career educator Gina Irizarry, who unsuccessfully sought a seat in the 2015, 2016, and 2018 elections, is running again, along with first time candidates Nichole Gabriele and Petra Ghaly.

Ghaly just graduated from Bayonne High School and was the elected student council representative for the BOE.

Gabriele’s is running under the “Voice for All” banner, Ghaly’s slogan is “Bayonne Familiies First,” and Irizarry does not currently have one.