|Hoboken School Board slates, Reach Higher (2 + 4 = 6) debated the Dark Side (ODD numbers) last Monday night.|
To tell the truth, GA had no idea who Sheillah Dallara and Addys Velez, the ladies of the Reach Higher BoE ticket, were.
I had the pleasure of meeting both recently. Their passion for making Hoboken district schools "the pride of the community" is palpable. They are 'real' public education activists, not politically-partisan missiles launched by the Dark Side.
|Sheillah Dallara registering voters with Tom Kluepfel|
She and her husband Aaron have two children at Wallace School: her daughter is in the PreK-4 class and her son is in the self-contained Kindergarten class that serves as the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Program for children with special needs.
Prior to being a stay-at-home mom to her young children, Sheillah worked in the auditing field for five years. Now, she is actively engaged in many school-related and community organizations. Sheillah serves as the vice president of the Wallace School Parent-Teacher Organization. She is also a co-director of the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group where she spends time connecting special needs families to valuable and local resources, programs, recreational activities, and support services. Sheillah also volunteers her time as the events director for Hoboken Family Alliance, and is a parent representative for the Hoboken Early Childhood Advisory Council.
Away from these activities, many will know Sheillah from the spin classes she teaches at Work It Out Studio in Hoboken.
"My special focus, my passion, is on the continued success of the district's excellent special education program," says Sheillah, and she has organized fundraising events in support of the ABA program. Sheillah is dedicated to the Hoboken Public School District, its families, and its students and she is enthusiastic in engaging all residents in neighborhood events and activities. “I truly believe that when we all work together, stay focused on the future and not get stuck in the past, our district public schools will be the pride of our community," she says. "I will work my hardest to make this happen.”
|Addys Velez registering voters with some guy named Tom|
Today, Addys is an accomplished professional with a background in Human Resources, Accounting and Finance, and Operations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Business and her Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. Addys works in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where she provides leadership and oversight for the operations department of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program and its efforts related to the Superstorm Sandy disaster.
Addys is a 13-year Hoboken resident. Her three children are enrolled in the district public schools—two daughters at Hoboken Junior Senior High School and son at Wallace Primary School. She is an active parent and treasurer of the high school PTO. Her experience with the district is what motivates her to seek election to the Board of Education. "I am so proud of our schools and the steady improvements. We are a shining example of what a public school system should be," says Addys. "We need to enhance and support the work already underway."
(GA Note: Alright.... it just wouldn't be fair... meet BoE Trustee Tom again!)
|Tom Kluepfel loitering with his running mates, Sheillah and Addys|
Tom is a graduate of The Cooper Union School of Art, which he attended on a four-year scholarship. "I was blessed with an education that I would never have had access to otherwise, thanks to a generous 19th-century philanthropist who I will never be able to thank," he says. "That instilled in me an obligation to do what I can to further public education opportunities to young people who come after me."
Tom is the co-creative director and partner at Doyle Partners, a design studio in Manhattan, with thirty-five years' experience working on communication and design projects for a broad roster of clients—from major corporations to grassroots non-profits.
Tom and his wife, Lynn (a special education instructor at a local charter school), raised their two children in Hoboken. Although they are no longer district parents (their youngest was a Class of 2014 graduate of Hoboken High; she is now a biology major at Ramapo College), Tom remains committed to working hard on behalf of the district. "Once a proud Redwing parent, always a proud Redwing parent," he says, proudly.
So what do you think, people? Are they great, or what?
GA note: All images lifted from the Reach Higher Facebook campaign site, check it out!
And please if you can, DONATE!