New voices and a new vision.
That is the platform Robyn Kingston and Laura Stinziano are running on for seats on the Wayne Board of Education in this year’s election. Until recently, they were co-presidents of the Wayne Council of Parent Teacher Organizations.
Kingston and Stinziano are alumni of the Wayne Pubilc School District. Kingston is the mother of three children, Stinziano two.
The pair said that the first priority of the new board must be to hire a superintendent.
“The most important job in the district is the superintendent’s,” Stinziano said. “The most important job of the board is to hire and evaluate the superintendent.”
Governor Chris Christie has made the process of hiring a superintendent more difficult by implementing a $175,000 salary cap.
“We understand that the cap makes things more difficult, but it is not impossible,” Stinziano said.
The candidates said they are qualified to hire a superintendent based on their work history.
Kingston worked in human resources as an employment manager for 23 years.
“My job was to make sure that I hired the most highly qualified people to make the organization successful,” Kingston said.
Stinziano has 10 years of teaching experience.
“I can see what parents and teachers are looking for in a superintendent,” Stinziano said.
The mothers said they want to “change the culture of the board.”
“There is a perceived feeling that the board is too controlling in managing the day-to-day operation of the district,” Stinziano said. “From what we hear, there is a feeling out there that superintendents are not allowed to come into this district and lead because they are smothered by micromanaging.”
The pair said their experience of leading the PTO for several years will be invaluable to them if they are elected. They said they will regularly communicate with residents in a timely manner.
Sharing services with the municipality needs to be examined, they said.
Combining payroll and human resources departments and possibly consolidating communications services are steps that can be examined to save taxpayers money.
“There has to be new ways of generating revenues,” Kingston. “We have to go to members of the community and solicit ideas from them. We are open to ideas and change.”
Improving and changing the elementary math program is a priority for the candidates. Children must learn, at a young age, to think critically through a problem and apply that way of thinking to other situations.
Bullying must be curbed in the middle schools. The pair is examining starting anti-bullying clubs in the schools.
“I don’t think our parents feel we have an effective bullying policy in our district. Everything is handled differently depending on what school your kids attend,” Kingston said. “We need to take proactive measures instead of reactive measures.”
The district’s high schools need to continue to offer “viable academic programs” and extra-curricular activities.
“We’ve got to make sure they have the opportunity to become well-rounded students,” Stinziano said. “Getting into a good college isn’t just about getting 'As' anymore.”