Matawan and Aberdeen voters will be asked to select their Board of Education representatives during the election next month.
New Jersey School Board Elections are normally held in April, however Senate Bill 3184, which was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in January, allowed school boards to combine their elections with the general election in November.
In February, the district voted to move the election, along with the majority of New Jersey school districts.
There is (1) three-year term open for a Matawan resident, while there are (2) three-year terms and (1) one-year unexpired term open for Aberdeen residents.
Patricia Phillips is running as a write-in candidate for a one-year unexpired term.
A write-in candidate means that the voter must literally write the candidates name into the corresponding box on the ballot.
Patricia Phillips, a resident of Aberdeen Township since 1976, was appointed to the board of education in Sept. 2011 after a member resigned one year into her term.
Although Phillips was a new face to the board, she was not a new one to the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District. Almost 35 years ago, Phillips became a guidance counselor at the high school. In 2004, she was appointed as the director for student personnel services and then, a few years later, as the assistant principal. She performed both the director of student personnel services and the assistant principal duties after budget cuts eliminated the director's position in the 2010-11 academic year. At the end of the school year last spring, Phillips decided she was ready to retire.
Over her years in the district, Phillips helped initiated several educational programs that emphasize student leadership, empowerment, and getting into college. Even after retirement, Phillips remains involved in the Monmouth County School Counselor Association and is an active member of her church. She was recently inducted into the Matawan Regional High School Hall of Fame for her work in the district.
As a member of the board of education, Phillips plans to continue her focus on student achievement, especially among children who "fall through the cracks."
"I worked in education for 38 years. I love working with the kids. Kids are my passion and I wanted to find another avenue that I would be able to help kids in a different way," she said.
Phillips is happy to see the literacy programs in the elementary school beginning to really have a positive impact on the students. She is also glad that the board kept the budget under their self-imposed 1.5% cap.
"I'm proud we’ve kept the tax levy within the 1.5% cap, which is looking out for the taxpayers but also looking out for what's best for their children," Phillips said.
She understands, however, that taxes are still a burden on local residents.
"I also like the idea of looking for other types of revenue that we can bring in to help the taxpayers," she said.
Phillips believes a vote for her is a vote for an honest individual who uses facts to make decisions in the best interest of the children.
"Most people know who I am. I am a person who is honest, a person who cares about children. I'm a good listener; I'm passionate about education and how important it is in this very global economy and society," she said. "I come to the board with no hidden agenda, no ax to grind, but with a sincere desire to help set policies to help kids grow and be competitive in a global market. I come with a real desire to be a help, to look at the issues realistically without bias and to help our kids get to the next level in their lives."