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Board of Education Candidate: Nicole DellaFave

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany Focus reached out to all Board of Education candidates for the upcoming election. Here’s what Nicole DellaFave had to say.

Q. What is the role of the school board of education? What is the role of the Superintendent of Schools? (Please answer both parts): 

A. The role of the board of education is to enforce current policies, be the voice of the constituents, and hold the school district accountable to represent the best interests of all students. They also hire the superintendent, which creates a domino effect for the rest of the district.

  • The superintendent is essentially the CEO of the school district. He or she sets the tone for how the district works. They hire and manage the administration, which effectively manages the rest of the staff. The superintendent is responsible for the direction in which the district trends.

    Q. If you have not previously served on, or run for election to the Board of Education in the past, what motivated you to run at this time?

    A. I was a teacher in Parsippany for 17 years. Being that I worked in the district I lived in, I could not run to be a board member. I have been out of the classroom for three years and would like to bring my voice – representing parents, teachers, and taxpayers, to the board. I see a need for fresh faces, new ideas, and positive energy!

    Q. Between April 30, 2022, and April 30, 2023, how many Board of Education meetings have you attended?

    A. I would say four meetings. I have two children whose activities often took me away – however, I always read the bulletins and minutes and corresponded with the board as I saw fit. I was also able to listen to meetings when they were conducted virtually – which was unfortunately taken away last year.

    Q. Attending Bi-monthly meetings is only a fraction of the commitment needed by an elected board member. If you have attended less than three meetings during this time, how will you assure voters that you have the time and dedication to serve on the Board of Education?

    A.  Being a board member is indeed a huge commitment. Being a teacher for so many years, it is easy for me to commit to serving a purpose larger than myself. My family knows my passion for public education and the need to make a difference in our community. Being around people and the decision-makers that shape our student’s lives is of utmost importance. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this.

    Q. If elected to the Board of Education, what would be your three top priorities in detail?

    A. My priorities would be as follows:
  • Bring relevant and challenging educational programming to our schools. We should be actively researching initiatives throughout the state and country to see what inventive programs there are. We should look at all levels of our schooling and curriculum, survey the staff, see which areas are in need of a boost, and use that data to bring fresh programming.
  • Infrastructure. Our school buildings are old and in desperate need of updates and upkeep. I believe the board members need to go around to each and every building and take stock of major update priorities. This needs to be done in conjunction with expanding our schools and making sure we have the capacity needed for any and all new developments.
  • My third priority is to engage with the public – including our teachers, and to make the board a space free of any partisan feelings; a space that needs to be rational and logical. I would like to open the lines of communication and get down to the business of helping all of our students.

    Q. Describe your plan to balance the needs/wants of your constituents, state and federal mandates, and your personal beliefs to ensure that school district policies are appropriate to these sometimes competing priorities.

    A. My plan is simple. Think of the children first. As an educator, I am trained to think of that line first and foremost. No matter the policy – how will this affect the students? Will this be the best for the students? Does this meet the needs of all students? With those questions in mind, personal beliefs, federal and state mandates, needs, and wants of the constituents may fall away, because we can actually come together to serve the common goal.

    Q. Describe your comfort level with fiscal responsibility and your ability to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions to maintain financial stability.

    A. This is always a tough question. We would all like to wave a magic wand and make everything affordable and all decisions would be easy. I don’t believe there is an easy answer to this question. I understand holding to the 2% threshold is important, but it is also limiting. Again, we look to the logic. What options do we have that make the most sense, and would also be responsible for the future, and the taxpayers? This may mean making a cut, but adding a program that eliminates the need for something else. I’m ok with that, as long as the purpose always comes back to the students.

    Q. As a publicly elected Board of Education member, you are a constant representation of the Parsippany Board of Education, including on social media platforms. Describe how you would balance your personal opinions with your sworn obligations to the board while using these platforms.

    A. A social media presence can be a blessing and a curse! Considering one of my main ideals is to take away personal/partisan beliefs, I feel that posts on those platforms should refrain from political beliefs or affiliations. That is not to say that personal opinions shouldn’t be expressed – however, the public is entrusting board members to make decisions based on the well-being of the students in the district, not following a specific ideology. This must be separate.

    Q. Having a family member employed by the school district or elected as a Board of Education Member creates a potential conflict of interest. If this situation pertains to you, how can you assure voters that, if elected, your decisions will be objective and in the best interest of the school district and not seen as nepotism?

    A. While I don’t believe this directly applies to me, my only family member employed by the district is my aunt, who is a paraprofessional at Lake Hiawatha Elementary. As always, the kids should be at the forefront of our discussions and decisions.
Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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