OLD BRIDGE — Five candidates are vying for three, three-year terms on the Old Bridge Township Public Schools Board of Education.
Candidates are incumbents Matthew Sulikowski, Salvatore J. DiPrima and Kevin Borsilli, former board member Richard J. Dunn and college student Jeffrey Dynof.
Borsilli is seeking a second term on the board. He has lived in the township for 17 years and has two children who attend Old Bridge schools.
Borsilli said he wants to ensure that every student in Old Bridge has an equal opportunity to succeed and complete their diploma requirements.
“We need to be sure that every student is prepared to take on the challenges that life will have in store for them,” he said. “I am dedicated to putting education first for every child.”
According to Borsilli, progress has been made over the past few years in making Old Bridge a great place to raise a family.
“I love being a part of the success of this district, and I want to be sure that it continues,” he said. “Old Bridge offers a wonderful array of extracurricular activities to our students, and I want to see that continue.
If elected, Borsilli said he would continue to work on improving the learning facilities in the school district.
“We have a very aged infrastructure which needs to be upgraded to meet the needs of the 21st century,” he said. “Many of our schools have been neglected for so many years, and the current board has been focused as of lately on improving these facilities. I am proud to have led these initiatives as chairman of the strategic and long range planning committee and I want to be sure that it continues.”
A business analyst at Barclays Capital, he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Thomas Edison State College. Borsilli is active in the Grissom School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) as treasurer, a member of the Old Bridge High School PTSA, a third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus No. 6424, and is the treasurer and a committee member for Boy Scout Troop 129.
DiPrima, who has two children, holds an associate’s degree in business administration from Kingsborough Community College. He is a branch operations manager for a financial services firm.
Prior to being elected to the board of education, DiPrima was a member and officer of the Leroy Gordon Cooper School PTA, the Carl Sandburg Middle School PTA, and the Old Bridge High School PTSA and is a life member of the Cooper School PTA.
He was also an officer of the Middlesex County PTA; a coach, manager, secretary and safety officer for the Lawrence Harbor Little League; and is a third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus in the Saint Lawrence Church council.
DiPrima said during his tenure the board has passed three budgets with minimal tax impact to the community while keeping all programs in place, initiated full-day kindergarten, and assembled a highly qualified administrative team.
He said the hard work of the board team has given the Old Bridge School District the distinction of being recognized as a District of Character.
“I love this school district and this community, and I would like the opportunity to continue to build on these accomplishments and accolades, not stopping until we are number one,” he said.
“Old Bridge is being recognized; people want their children to come to our schools, We must continue to build on our accomplishments while striving to grow better, while still being prudent with taxpayers’ money.”
DiPrima said during his first run for the board, he promised to be a voice for the community.
“I have been, I will continue to listen to people’s wants and needs if graciously reelected,” he said.
Dunn is seeking another term on the board. He previously served on the board from 2011 to 2015.
A resident of the township for 17 years, he has two children attending Old Bridge schools.
Dunn has a bachelor of arts degree in history and political science with a concentration in secondary education from the College of Staten Island.
Dunn is vice president of real estate operations with Paramount Assets in Elizabeth.
Dunn is an active member of the Parent Teacher Association and the Special Education PTA.
A self-described supporter of the “community schooling ideal,” he said he is seeking election to the board to enhance the quality of education for students while protecting taxpayers’ wallets.
“As a parent and advocate of education, I want to ensure that the quality of education provided to our children is the finest and that every child has a fair and equitable opportunity for achievement and success,” he said.
If elected, Dunn said he would work to expand special education services, which would keep more students in the district. Additionally, he said special needs programs could provide an alternative revenue source.
“By expanding, we can not only offer our services to smaller districts, and also retain a portion of our students who receive services outside the district, but provide our current students with better specialized programs and services such as social skills conditioning and therapeutic opportunities,” he said. “The district outsources approximately 75 students to specialized schools at about $5 million annually. If we could keep a portion of those students in district, we could save about $1.5 million, which can be used for services for not only the retained students but the students already receiving special services from the district.”
Dynof is seeking his first term on the board. He ran for a term unsuccessfully in 2013. He is a lifelong resident of Old Bridge and a 2013 graduate of Old Bridge High School.
He is currently a junior at Rutgers University commuting from Old Bridge and participates in several organizations and activities in the Old Bridge community.
Dynof works part-time as an independent tutor as well as a laboratory assistant. He works with students from Old Bridge and surrounding districts in various grade levels.
“I also instruct students in college planning and testing,” he said. “Working with diverse groups of students has allowed me to stay updated on the current curriculum of the school system. I am aware of student and parent concerns and understand the components of a nurturing learning environment.”
Dynof said he also has acquired concrete knowledge and experience on the factors that are most important for student success.
He said he strongly believes in the importance of community involvement and has trained Seeing Eye Dogs for the visually impaired for the past ten years. He also served as the president of Middlesex County Puppy PALS (Puppies Aiding the Less Sighted).
Dynof serves on the Old Bridge Township Environmental Commission and has volunteered his time at Cheesequake State Park. Previously, he has served as a Middlesex County Youth Conservation Corps crew member.
Additionally, at Rutgers University, he represents his peers as an academic affairs representative.
Dynof said he is running for a seat on the board because he wants to apply his unique firsthand experience to give back to the community that has provided him with so much.
“I am passionate about enhancing the school system that I call home,” he said. “I want to make sure students are continually being provided with the very best education and learning environment.”
Dynof said he is also running to ensure every student is provided with the academic and social support that will benefit them.
“I advocate for students and education so our entire community can have a brighter future,” he said.
If elected, Dynof said he would work hard to continually enhance the quality of education in the ever-changing environment and constantly adapting society.
“My unique experience will make me a fervent academic advocate on the school board,” he said. “I would like to work toward the goal of attaining blue ribbon schools in Old Bridge. I would like to expand course offerings so all students have access to innovative courses that they will enjoy and succeed in.”
Dynof said he would also like to see more programs that provide students with additional skills and certifications that will help them be successful and competitive as they move forward.
Sulikowski is seeking his fourth term on the board. He has lived in Old Bridge for 16 and has two adult children and three grandchildren.
Sulikowski has a Bachelor of Arts degree in industrial arts from Newark State Teachers College (now Kean University). He was an Old Bridge High School teacher of industrial arts and retired after a 45-year career as an educator.
The long-time board member said he has spent countless hours working to make the Old Bridge school system a better place for students and teachers alike.
He is also a member of the Middlesex Regional Educational Services Commission.
Sulikowski said he is running for another term on the board because he believes his extensive experience gives him the perspective needed for a board member.
“My realistic perspective on the daily workings of the school district, school facilities, and a better understanding of expenses our district faces [are the] reasons I believe I am a candidate ready for any challenge or challenges that the Old Bridge Board of Education may encounter now or in the future,” he said.
Sulikowski said of the many areas he has a great interest in, the one area that stands out to him is to ensure all students are provided the finest education and equal opportunity possible for success in their future.
“Going forward I would like to see the job placement program, which I implemented approximately eight years ago for the special education students, continue to thrive,” he said.
To date this program has been very successful placing many of the district’s students in work-related areas providing them with income and a true sense of accomplishment, Sulikowski said.
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3.