Montclair will hold elections in November for three open Board of Education seats. Nine residents filed petitions to meet the July 31 deadline to run as candidates. Three of the nine are incumbent members: Phaedra Dunn, Melanie Dysher and Allison Silverstein. New candidates are Stuart Ball, Alex Binkley, Jessica Glass, Theodore Graham, Will Novak and Dr. Kimberly Robinson Santos.

To help inform you before Election Day, Montclair Local launched a series of candidate profiles. Get to know the candidates and the plans they have for the future of education in Montclair. Our series continues with Jessica Glass.

Why are you running for Board of Education?

Whether a family has lived here for generations, grew up in the school system, or recently decided to raise children here, we all recognize that Montclair is a very special and unique place to live. Historically it has been this way. And I feel currently that it fights to remain this way. I choose to run because as a lifelong, minority member of the community, I believe the Montclair school system can bring out success in every student through cooperation and communication. I want students to have a solid and positive educational experience, like the one I had growing up in Montclair. 

What are some of the issues that are personal to you that you hope to address?

I think an open communication channel is necessary. There are a host of issues that need to be addressed, but I do think some resolution can be made if we improve the dialogue between the district and the community. Families need to feel supported in regards to the overall quality of education for their children. If we take time to look at the data to find the areas that need to be improved upon or areas that we have not yet addressed, then I think we’ll be moving in the right direction. Teacher retention, mental health support, saving the arts and extra curricular programs, declining enrollment,  improved post-high school/pre college guidance and diversity in the Honors/AP curriculum program are just some of the things I’d like to address and get answers to.

What do you bring to the board that you feel is currently missing?

I plan to contribute a fresh perspective and a desire to stay informed on evolving issues and best practices in order to drive the momentum forward for positive change. I’ve worked with sensitive populations providing support and advocacy in my educational career, and will bring a solution-focused attitude.

What connections, if any, do you have to the Montclair school system? 

I am a proud graduate of Hillside Elementary, Mt. Hebron (Buzz Aldrin) Middle School, and Montclair High. I was also a substitute teacher for a few years in grades K through 8.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you and your campaign? 

Everything that I am, have built or continue to be, comes from the result of my Montclair upbringing. I’m very proud of my Montclair education, had wonderful teachers that believed in me and have many friends and peers who felt the same. If given the opportunity to serve, I will continue to work diligently with other board members so that our current students can also have that same experience, diversity and pride.

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