Boone for Verona BOE

What's at Stake

Why I'm running

Elected office is a service to the community. It is with that spirit that I wish to sit on the Verona Board of Education. It is imperative that the board continues to provide administrators and teachers with the tools they need to put the students and their families in the best position to succeed.

While COVID still lurks in the back of our minds, we are beginning to appreciate life on the other side of that tunnel, ever stronger as a community and school system.

There's a new superintendent, a new head of guidance, a new facilities director, a relatively new Business Administrator, and new director of special services was just hired. While fresh perspectives are always welcome, we must recognize that we have lost some institutional knowledge and whoever joins the BOE must seek a balance.

Our school system makes Verona an enviable place to be. We need to continue to raise the bar in the spirit of continuous improvement: The BOE members must work to seek innovative ways to expand their knowledge base, administrators must remain on the cutting edge of education innovation, and teachers must strive to inspire students in what seems to be ever increasingly complex times.

About me

I was born in Detroit and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. Life brought me to the New York City area, where I settled in Verona shortly before 9/11.

This year marks the longest period of my life in one place at 21 years, giving me deeper roots in Verona than I had in Michigan. My two children were born and raised in Verona, and I watched them thrive and succeed from Laning to HBW to Verona High. Verona schools have given my family so much. I have been active with Verona's Scout troop and have enjoyed seeing the participants grow and succeed. Now, it is time now for me to give back further, which is why I want to serve the community on the Verona BOE.

I spent a bulk of my career as a journalist and am now in the advertising industry. I come from a family of educators, so it is only natural that I have actively served as an adjunct college instructor at the undergrad and graduate level for two decades.

New Jersey schools are among the best public schools in the country. Verona is among the best in New Jersey. I teach at a college in New York City, and I can immediately tell which of my students went to public school in New Jersey based on the quality of their work. Throughout my career, I have united disparate groups from around the world to solve problems--big or small. Should voters place me one the BOE, I would look forward to connecting all relevant parties to find equitable solutions.

I was only in Verona for a few weeks before 9/11, an event I was intimately involved with. I was amazed to see how well the community came together. That spirit continued through Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy and the pandemic. I look forward to strengthening our schools with a united community.

The BOE's job

The axiom "all politics is local" would at first blush appear to apply to the Board of Education. I would argue that doesn't mean school related issues need to be polarizing. I have seen Verona residents come together countless times to help make our town the wonderful place it is. I have lived in six states during my life, and I have never seen a stronger sense of community than in Verona.

Verona schools are among the best in New Jersey. New Jersey schools, collectively, are among the best in the country. That doesn't mean our schools are perfect. We must always strive to improve. To be blunt, a good BOE is like an umpire in baseball. You know they are doing a good job when you don’t notice them. To that end, I see the BOE's role as one of putting the students, teachers and administrators in the best position to succeed:

  • The administrators must have the flexibility to ensure they are bringing in a united and diverse team of teachers and to be able to help them grow in their careers

  • The teachers must have the freedom and resources to do their jobs.

  • The students must be able to feel safe in the school environment and empowered to be their true selves and encouraged to embrace their educational journeys with excitement and not dread.

Key Issues for Continued Excellence

Post Pandemic

I have heard from parents, particularly those with pupils in the early elementary grades. They are concerned about their children missing key educational milestones the last two years. Recent news reports of poor national reading scores justify these concerns. This isn’t just a Verona problem, but a national problem. Reading proficiency is crucial to future academic success.

While the best path forward is still being evaluated nationally, many experts are encouraging tutoring, expanding learning opportunities and summer learning programs. Such efforts will be costly. Fortunately Verona does have a solid infrastructure with the summer recreation, after-school programs and the town library to scale up such opportunities. The Verona schools' strong relationship with the town could allow us to unite and enhance such efforts.

Mental Health/DEI

Verona has received the results of the Grand River Solutions surveys and recommendations. The board will soon discuss next steps. This is something we should take seriously and make every effort to learn from without being reactionary and influenced by outside groups seeking to divide our community.

In my professional life, I am involved in these programs and see their benefits at all the places I work.

I am concerned that the notion of DEI makes some people nervous simply because they don’t fully appreciate what it is. Voters should not let fear and misinformation distract them. DEI strives to break down barriers and help people forge stronger connections for everybody. Verona as a town is so good at this. DEI only helps foster positive experiences for everybody.

In terms of mental health, we must put students in the best positions to succeed. DEI seeks to make every student feel included. Proper discussions about mental health can help students focus on their tasks at hand.

Verona historically does well with the high performing students and has shown success with helping those most in need. What we don't always get right is how we best help students who risk falling through the cracks. Is our staff trained enough to recognize that some students learn differently and might need a different approach to learning? Anxiety builds when fully capable students are struggling to keep pace through no fault of their own.

After High School

Verona sends roughly 98% of students to four-year colleges. While we don't know the number who complete their programs, it is safe to presume the success there, too, would be rather high. A shortcoming, however, is that we need to recognize that traditional four-year schools aren't always the best fit for everybody.

There are amazing professional level trade educational programs and other technical training opportunities that we simply don't take advantage of. We need to have an understanding of what these opportunities are and make sure that parents fully understand what their options are so that they can help their families make the best decisions for them.

Verona has awesome choices in terms of electives at the high school level. But I have to wonder if the range of choices is broad enough. We have a lot of AP and honors specialization in areas such as government studies as well of the sciences. Of course, we should continue to promote those, but we need to do better with technical and vocational education electives. Such programs, coupled with the rest of our very strong elective program would simply make our students stronger as they move to lives beyond Verona High.

Get your lawn sign

My campaign is 100% self funded. I will not take outside donations from groups, particularly those outside of Verona. Because of that, I will rely on word-of-mouth efforts. Email me at

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