Page 4 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • April 15, 2009
School board candidates prepare for April 21 election
by Frank J. McMahon The candidates seeking election to the Franklin Lakes K-8 and the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School boards of education are in their last week of campaigning before the voters make their choices on April 21. Six candidates are seeking election to three three-year seats on the Franklin Lakes K-8 School Board and four candidates are seeking election to the three three-year seats that are available on the regional board. Franklin Lakes Board of Education incumbents Joseph Conti and Kathie Schwartz are seeking reelection to that board, while four other newcomers have also ﬁled nominating petitions. They are Margaret Bennett, Michael BenDavid, Ann Turi Connelly, and John F. Woods Jr. Incumbent Cherise Coleburn is not seeking reelection. Conti has been on the board for 12 years and is seeking his ﬁfth term. A past board president, he is the current chairman of the board’s Personnel Committee. He has also chaired the Finance Committee. A graduate of Saint Peter’s College, where he earned BS degree in natural science, he also holds an MS in biology and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is employed by Summit VetPharm in Fort Lee as senior director--regulatory and development. He and his wife Sharon have two sons. Conti is a commissioner on the shade tree commission and is a coach for recreation basketball and baseball programs. Schwartz has completed a one year term on the board. During that time, she served on the Operations, Community Relations, and Personnel Committee as an alternate. She has also been a Franklin Lakes Education Foundation representative. Schwartz has a BA in accounting from Rutgers College and an MBA in ﬁnance from NYU Stern School of Business. She has three students at the Woodside Avenue School. Her background is in accounting and ﬁnance. She spent more than 10 years in banking and ﬁnance, most recently as a managing director at Deutsche Bank. She resigned from that position in 2002 when she had triplets and decided to be a stay at home mom and become more involved in her community. Bennett has resided in Franklin Lakes for ﬁve years. She has four children. She holds an MA in creative writing and is a writer and editor. Bennett managed a research group for a mid-sized brokerage ﬁrm where she helped develop a successful ﬁnancial research product. She has also been a consultant on marketplace research design, a writing teacher, and content editor. She is a board member of the NJ Coalition for World Class Math and works with organizations that deliver medical services to orphans in Asia. In the past two years, she regularly attended board of education meetings and is on the Franklin Lakes District Math Revision Committee.
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Ben-David graduated from Rutgers College cum laude with a BA degree in 1993 and from Seton Hall Law School in 1996. He has been an educator and educational leader for 10 years in two school districts. His educational experiences include teaching and coaching, and district-wide curriculum development, unit and lesson design and Middle States Accreditation. He is certiﬁed as a principal and supervisor, and recently passed the school superintendent’s assessment. Prior to entering education, he was a litigation associate with a law ﬁrm in Morristown and served as a legal intern for current Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito. His legal experience involved the representation of various Fortune 500 companies, and complex bankruptcy and commercial litigation. Connelly is the mother of two boys who attend the High Mountain Road School and has been a resident of the borough for eight years. She has been involved in the HMRS Parent Teacher Association and has chaired school assemblies. An attorney who has been admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey, she received her law degree from Saint John’s University School of Law and has a BS degree from Tulane University in political economics. Woods has ﬁve children, three of whom are attending the borough’s elementary schools. He has a BS in accounting from The College of New Jersey and is currently the chief ﬁnancial ofﬁcer of an investment partnership in Greenwich, Connecticut. His community activities include being the co-director of Franklin Lakes Recreation Flag Football Program and coach of various recreation sports in the community, including baseball, tee-ball and soccer. His hobbies include playing in the men’s softball league and swimming. In the Ramapo Indian Hills Board of Education contest incumbent Geri Petersen, an Oakland representative, is being challenged by Elizabeth Pierce for the open Oakland seat on the board. Robert Gebhard, a new candidate (continued on page 31)
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