By Araceli Gonzalez
Three community leaders declared their candidacy for the New Brunswick School Board, challenging the political establishment and promising to put the students of the city first.
After more than 30 years as a bilingual kindergarten teacher, Linda “Lindy” Stork is ready to put her extensive knowledge and experience with community care and education into serving the students of her city as a Board of Education member.
“Being a teacher in New Brunswick and seeing my own kids go through our public school system, I got to understand just how much we needed someone looking out for our student’s best interests on the Board of Ed,” said Stork. “I’ve been advocating for New Brunswick students for years and I am willing and ready to fight for them, every step of the way.”
At just 23 years old Jennifer Garcia is already a seasoned community organizer at a local worker center. She plans to expand on her work and commitment to her community by serving on the school board, where she can make decisions that directly impact students of her city.
“As a first generation college Student, I experienced first hand the many systemic roadblocks people of my background face in this struggle to overcome our material condition,” said Garcia. “Having come out on the other side, l can now use this experience and knowledge to ensure that we prioritize closing that gap for kids that come after me.”
A graduate of Rutgers University, like his running mates, Matthew Rivera has settled in New Brunswick and invested heavily in his community, only choosing employment where he could serve.
“When I came to New Brunswick in 2014, I was moved by the amount of culture and community in this City. But I was also saddened to see the level of inequality and opportunity for the residents. As a member of the Board of Education, I will use my diverse skills set and experience to help shape a better future for the students of New Brunswick.”
The “Students First” Team is running to deliver tangible changes in the current quality of education. Among their top priorities are improving accountability, ensuring adequate staffing in all schools, updating the district’s aging facilities to modern standards, and bringing much-needed transparency with the public
The candidates say they were motivated to run by the highly publicized injustice of the school board’s rushed sale of the Lincoln Annex School, displacing 750 students against the wishes of the parents, students, neighborhood residents, and advocates for public education.
The incumbent board members ignored the massive community opposition to the sale and the inadequate plan to send the displaced students to a warehouse building in a dangerous area far from their neighborhood for several years. Lindy, Matt, and Jenifer plan to challenge this corruption and racial injustice while centering the needs of our students and putting them first.