October 28, 2020

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Edison Board Of Education Profiles: Shi, White, Patel

5 min read
EDISON, NJ — Thirteen candidates are vying for three seats to the Edison Board of...

EDISON, NJ — Thirteen candidates are vying for three seats to the Edison Board of Education come Nov. 3. Incumbent Jerry Shi is running with Mohin Patel and Virginia White on Edison First slate.

Read below to learn more about Shi, White and Patel and their platform for the upcoming elections in Edison.

Name – Jerry Shi

Position sought – Member, Edison Board of Education

Campaign website – Edisonfirst.com

Education – I received my Bachelor’s in systems engineering, and my Master’s in computer science and MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Occupation – I am currently employed as a project manager for clinical operations at a major pharmaceutical company. Some of the clinical areas I work on include oncology, cardiology, respiratory, women’s health, and vaccines.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office – Current school Board member

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

Position sought – Member, Edison Board of Education

Education – Edison High School, Dental Assistant

Occupation – For 26 years, I worked as an administrative assistant at the Edison Board of Education, giving me a unique insight into the operations of our school district. I routinely worked with parents to direct and guide them in the resolution of specific problems with bussing and special education needs. It was my pleasure to welcome the public and assist with diversified needs, scheduling concerns, and other day to day challenges as part of my job responsibilities. My other responsibilities included Worker’s Compensation for district employees, authorized identification for security systems for district buildings, and organized the usage of Education Center rooms. I also assisted in the establishment of district enrollment procedures when the Enrollment Center was first created.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

Elected committeewomen of local district

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

No

Name – Mohin Patel

Position sought – Member, Edison Board of Education

Education – Bachelor degree finance degree from Rutgers University

Occupation – For the past five years I have owned and operated a software and technology consulting firm also based in Edison. I also have over a decade of experience leading large-scale Agile transformation efforts to optimize business processes and increase efficiency and managed an energy firm where I managed the energy portfolios for commercial, industrial, and municipal entities.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office – Elected committeeman of local district

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
No

Why are you seeking elective office?

We would like to put the word “public” back into Edison Public Schools. We need a more open, accessible, and resident friendly district that communicates with the public in a timely manner. We will create an Online Parent Help Desk System to track your requests and hold administrators accountable. Parents’, students’ and residents’ voice will be heard, and their questions will be answered.

What is one area you would like to concentrate on if elected?

We will hold the administration accountable and eliminate irresponsible and wasteful spending. Our pledge: A 0% budget increase in 2021 without cutting resources for schools, students and staff.

We must make sure that teaching is efficient and engaging. We will train our staff and students, by giving them the tools to have the most effective remote learning experience possible. Remote learning does not mean Reduced learning. We will not let your children fall behind academically.

Administrators must allocate more patrolling resources and enforce strict disciplinary action for students abusing illicit substances. We will not let the kids fight this alone.

What is the main difference between you and the other candidates.

Edison First team has a proven track record, experience, knowledge, and determination to move our schools forward.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

Jerry Shi: During my term on the Edison Board of Education, I quickly realized that taxpayers are being burdened with wasteful spending. I led the charge on vendor reforms and the Board was able to save millions of dollars by cutting down a bloated budget. We were able to save over $8 million from renegotiating contracts and requesting vendors to reduce their fees while providing the same or better services such as health insurance. I also initiated an Operational Audit that uncovered wasteful spending.

These savings were produced from non-classroom spending, i.e. money we saved did not have an impact on the quality of education. In fact, was reinvested into the classroom by getting better textbooks, added new programs such as enhanced Elementary school Gifted Classes, Middle school Computer classes and Volleyball, High school Dance, and Cricket.

Looking to protect our own taxpayers, I have asked for increased investigations of out of district students who are unlawfully attending our schools. To this end, we are now in the process of implementing an online annual residency verification system.

We are also incorporating new technology. This includes piloting an online school bus tracking system for parents through GPS technology. I also advocated for online registration to help parents register new students, and as a result, for the first time in years, there was no long lines waiting outside the Enrollment Center.

At the same time, I also successfully advocated for reduced computer screen time for our younger students, and promoted increased instructional teaching. Upon our requests, the district has re- inspected and removed some of the online programs purchased but very rarely used by teachers.

We have also made infrastructure improvements to our schools. This includes extensions to Woodrow Wilson Middle School and FDR. We also inaugurated a new turf baseball field for Edison High School, at no cost to taxpayers.

Virginia White: Edison has always been my home. My family moved to Edison in 1910 and public service is a value that my parents instilled in me and my siblings early on. My brother Joe bravely served our nation during the Vietnam War, when he was killed in action in 1969. I have been a member of Guardian Angels / Transfiguration of the Lord Parish for nearly 55 years. I previously served as the President of the VFW Auxiliary Post 3117. I was also the Fundraising Chairwoman for the Edison Police Wives Organization. While my children attended our public schools, I served as a PTO mother, and Team Mom for the Edison Boys Baseball League, and a member of the Edison High School 5th Quarter Club.

Mohin Patel: I have been active in the community since I moved to Edison nearly 14 years ago. Most recently, I organized a mental health seminar for school children to discuss the stress they are feeling during this global pandemic. I also helped organize PPE donations and food donations for first responders during this global pandemic.

For over a decade, I have organized summer sports and educational youth camps. I also teach a course on financial responsibility for high school students where I go over how to make budgets, manage expenses, and live within their means. In addition, I also lead several yoga classes for children and helped coach my son’s soccer team. I have also held leadership positions in multiple local charitable organizations.

In anticipation of the upcoming election, Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns. We will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

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