Two named to Red Bank school board

Terms run until April school board elections


SHARON LEFF Toni Brown (l) and Carrie Ludwikowski take their oaths as members of the Red Bank Public School District Board of Education. SHARON LEFF Toni Brown (l) and Carrie Ludwikowski take their oaths as members of the Red Bank Public School District Board of Education. RED BANK — Carrie Ludwikowski and Toni Brown were appointed and sworn in to the Red Bank Public School District Board of Education at its meeting on Jan. 20.

Ludwikowski and Brown replace board members Juanita Lewis, who left the board after being elected to the Borough Council, and Ann Goldman, who resigned from the board in December due to work obligations.

Three candidates applied for the two open spots. Following an interview portion and then an executive session, the board returned with its decision.

“I started coming to board meetings about a year ago because I was concerned by what I was hearing about the schools. And over the past year, I came to more meetings and joined committees, and I am passionate about schools, my children, their friends,” said Ludwikowski, who serves on the curriculum and community committees. “So, I feel like I would be a good addition, and I’m here already, so I might as well.”

Questions during the interview portion included why the candidate was interested in the open seat, what issues the board is facing and how can that issue be fixed, and possible goals for their board tenure.

Brown, a resident of Red Bank for 30 years, has had two children go through the district schools and currently has twins enrolled in the fourth grade. A special-needs teacher at a school in Newark, Brown said she is passionate about education and that that would make her a good addition to the board.

“I feel that because of that passion, I will be able to give back in a way and give insight to what I believe a lot of the people in the community are representing or thinking or feeling,” she said.

Both new board members stressed the need to engage the community more in the education process.

“I think our schools face a [public relations] problem because what people think they know is not what’s really going on, from what I’m seeing as a parent and a person involved in some of the committees,” Ludwikowski said.

Brown said getting the community involved is a paramount goal for her as a board member. She also said test scores and student comprehension are issues currently facing the Board of Education

“I know that’s a classroom issue, but I think it’s an issue for the Board of Education because we need to find ways for teachers to be able to implement strategies that will help students comprehend more,” she said.

Superintendent Laura Morana said it was a difficult decision to choose between the candidates.

“We are organizing an orientation session to take them [the new board members] through the whole process, what to expect, how do I communicate with them, how decisions are made, how they can raise questions and work as a team, and that will give them also an insight into the membership of the board,” Morana said in an interview after the meeting.

She said the orientation will educate the new members about the roles on the board, the committee work involved, the overall involvement of the community, and the responsibility of representing all the children in the school system.

Both Ludwikowski and Brown said they were surprised and honored by their appointments.

Ludwikowski said that had she not been appointed, she still intended to be involved and serve on the committees she’s a member of.

Matthew Damm, who was not appointed, was encouraged to run for a seat on the board in the upcoming school board election.

Annie Darrow, school business administrator and board secretary, said the new board members will serve until the next school board election, scheduled for April pending legislation to change the date.

“Because this opening was before Feb. 21, we are only allowed to fill the position until the next election. So, although they cover a term that ends in April 2009 and then April 2010, both of these openings will just be until April 2009,” she said.

For more information about how to run in the school board election, call 732-758-1500.