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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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Candidate Interviews: Lower Township Elementary School District

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By Herald Staff

Read about why these candidates are running for the Board of Education in the Lower Township Elementary School District! To view the answers provided by candidates in other Cape May County school districts, click here.

Lauren Cox

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
It would be an honor and a privilege to be voted on to the Lower Township Elementary Board of Education. I am a Lower Township native, born and raised in our seaside community. I value our public schools and our community with utmost respect. Now more than ever, we need accountability, transparency and integrity. I vow to always put the students priorities first. 
Soon, I will have three children attending Lower elementary schools. I am beyond grateful for all of our teachers, principals, and everyone that works in our schools. I was inspired to run for school board because of my children. I want every child in our community to receive the best education possible! 
Do you support the new state standards for sex education as described in the 2020 Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards? How will your view impact the decisions you make?
The 2020 NJ Health and Physical Education Standards are highly inappropriate for young children. As a mother, I find these standards extremely disturbing. Exposing our children to these sexual standards is unnecessary. As a community we must act to preserve the innocence of our children.
Email: laur_lizzy@yahoo.com

Jason Felsing

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am a father of two daughters who both attend Carl T. Mitnick School.  I am also a police sergeant for the Lower Township Police Department, and I do not take the abilities that my career has afforded me lightly, namely close interactions with area youth.  My chosen campaign theme/slogan this year is, “Education Like Ours”.  As an alumni of the LTES and LCMR school districts, I hope that our children can continue to thrive with the tools provided by the staff and school boards just like I was in my time as a local student.  
Do you support the new state standards for sex education as described in the 2020 Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards? How will your view impact the decisions you make?
Although I do not support the standards as written, I anticipate that working alongside my potential esteemed colleagues on the board we may come to an agreement that meets both the expectations of the State and the wishes of our township’s parents and guardians.  As described in my “why” for running for school board, I am hoping we can continue the history of providing a safe, caring, and educationally-sound learning experience for our kids.  I understand that times have changed quite a bit since I went to the LTES schools; however, there is no reason to completely change the wonderful education methods that helped my classmates and I succeed in our secondary and collegiate lives.  
Email: jason.felsing@gmail.com

Lauren Randle

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am a proud LTES and LCMR alum, and a mom of two kids. I attended school board meetings as a mom who wanted to be informed. I listened and learned. I heard concerns from parents and rational responses from the board. I am running because I became concerned that if I didn’t, loud agendas may distract the board from continuing the real work that needs to be done on behalf of our students. I want to clearly say that I do not have an agenda besides continuing to listen and learn from parents, teachers, and administrators. I feel more strongly than ever that our school board is, and should remain, nonpolitical. As a LTES Board member, my only goal is to continue to do better for our community. 
Do you support the new state standards for sex education as described in the 2020 Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards? How will your view impact the decisions you make?
After attending monthly board meetings over the last year, I now understand that it is not the board’s role to make these standards, but rather, how best to meet them. I listened closely to the comprehensive overview of how our teachers and administrators are implementing these standards in our elementary schools, and I am comfortable and confident that they are serving our students in an age-appropriate manner and accommodating families well. I support the thoughtful approach LTES has made to develop a curriculum that both meets the standards and keeps the concerns of our students and families in mind. 
Email: lauren.randle@gmail.com

Jonathan Vile

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
I am running for a seat on the Lower Township Elementary Board of Education to simply help out my community. Having enjoyed the benefits of living in Lower Township, I believe it is important to give back. Without question, the students and staff have had to deal with difficult circumstances these past few years. It is my hope to facilitate policies to provide our kids with a great educational foundation while also supporting the teachers and staff with the best resources possible. All this needs to be accomplished with a prudent watch on the budget’s bottom line. I sincerely believe this can be done.
Do you support the new state standards for sex education as described in the 2020 Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards? How will your view impact the decisions you make?
While reading through the state’s standards for health and physical education, I found the format to be a bit confusing regarding elementary grade level expectations. But, in total, I believe the standards are appropriate for the elementary grades. I particularly commend the provision to promote dignity and respect for all individuals. There are, however, a few parts of the standards with which I am uncomfortable, predominantly regarding sex education in the early grades. As a member of the Board, I would be especially interested in the specifics of how our curriculum addresses these areas. 
Email: jvile010508@comcast.net

Sally Drozd Yerk

Why are you running for the Board of Education?
My husband (the late Paul Yerk)and I have lived here for 43 years and our seven children all attended the Lower Township Schools.   I am running for my second term.  I began my first term January 2020 and then the world changed in three short months. It has been a challenging three years and yet I seek to serve another term.  I believe my education background and community involvement has given me the insight to know our families and needs of our students.  It has been a pleasure to see the next generation of my former students’ children and our own grandchildren attending our schools and I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of their education experience.
Do you support the new state standards for sex education as described in the 2020 Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards? How will your view impact the decisions you make?
I am a retired PE/Health teacher.  I have read and reviewed the 2020 standards and I believe the state did a very poor job in presenting  and writing the new standards.  I was part of our Lower Township School curriculum committee and our administrators and teachers took many hours to prepare the updated curriculum.  I do not agree with the examples that the state presented. When the Lower Township Health Curriculum was finalized, there was very little change in what had been taught for the past 30 years.  I believe it is very important to teach our children “age appropriate” material and have our families choose if the lessons are right for their children.
Email: sallyyerk@gmail.com
To learn about the other candidate, email Charles Utsch at: utschcp0318@gmail.com.

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