HOWELL, NJ – Four seats are up for grabs on the Howell Township Board of Education, according to the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office.
For the full-term race (with three seats open), board vice president Albert “Al” Miller, Dr. Denise M. Lowe, Ira Thor, and Stephen Dobbins will be campaigning for a seat. Thor, Lowe and Miller are current members seeking to maintain their spots, while Dobbins is a newcomer slated to challenge the incumbents. Current board member Laurence Gurman is also running unopposed for a two-year unexpired term.
Miller has been a resident of Howell for 15 years and a Howell Township Board of Education member for nine years. He has two daughters, one in nursing school and one in Howell High School. “Both of my daughters went through the Howell school system, Miller told Patch. “They received excellent education by the dedicated hard working staff we have in our district.”
Miller graduated from Francis Lewis High School in New York, going on to attend the New York City Emergency Medical Services Academy. He is retired from FDNY Emergency Medical Services.
“This allows me to bring a health and safety outlook to the board, especially now during the current pandemic,” Miller said.
Are you running for a spot on the board of education? Contact Nicole Rosenthal at [email protected] for information on being featured in a candidate profile and submitting campaign announcements to Patch.
Why are you seeking a seat on the school board:
I am seeking another term on the Howell Board of Education to continue my work to support the excellent education the students in our district receive. In my nine years on the board our district has come under many challenges such as COVID-19, Technology Upgrades, State Mandates, Funding Cuts and etc. Many hard decisions were needed during these times and it was my experience on the Board that assisted me in making these decisions. I have been entrusted by the Board to be the Chair of the Finance Committee for the last 6 years. I work with Administration closely in examining budgetary cuts needed during the current State Aid cuts while providing an excellent education to our students. I also want to continue to be a voice for every Student, Staff Member & Resident of our district. As board members it is extremely important that we seek the input of the people we serve. I will continue to be a voice of the students, staff and residents of our great district.
The single most pressing issue facing our school district is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it:
I believe one of the greatest challenges facing our district is state aid budget cuts due to S2. Our district is slated to lose close to $13 million even with the increase expenses due to COVID-19. This cannot be expected to be made up by our taxpayers in Howell. One way I can continue to do this is through advocacy. I currently sit on the NJ School Boards Association Legislative Committee and travel to both Trenton and Washington D.C. on behalf of the Howell Residents to speak to our legislators about our concerns in our town. We also need to continue to look closely at our budget and make those hard decisions to keep our budget affordable for our residents.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking to serve on the school board seat?:
I currently serve as President of the Monmouth County School Boards Association which allows me to represent Howell at meetings with legislators and other organizations. By doing this I can bring Howell’s voice directly to the source. Such as recently I was able to attend the NJ Association of County & City Health Officials as they discussed the reopening of schools during COVID-19. Another difference is I obtained over 300 Professional Development Credits with NJ School Boards Association. This allowed me to obtain the title of Certified Board Leader. These Professional Development programs covered many important items such as Community Relations, Equity, Governance, School Funding, etc. By attending these, I became a more experienced board member for the Howell residents.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
The best advice ever shared with me is to “listen”. As a Board Member I believe that is one of our most important roles. I will continue to listen to the voices of the students, staff and residents of our district.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I was awarded Honorary Lifetime NJ PTA Membership by the NJ PTA for all my work that I have done with the PTAs throughout the years. I was a Religious Education Teacher at St. Veronicas. I also was an active member of the Howell HS Marching Band Parents Association.
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This article originally appeared on the Howell Patch