Three of the candidates running for seats on the Guttenberg Board of Education currently serve on the board. The fourth one, who works for the town, is angling for one of the three seats. What do the four candidates for the three open seats on Guttenberg Board of Education have in common? They all feel they have what it takes to lead the organization going into the future, as the district works to solve overcrowding with an expansion scheduled to start next summer.
The school district consists of one entity, the Anna L. Klein School, a prekindergarten through eighth grade learning center. After graduating from Klein, Guttenberg students go on to North Bergen High School.
The three school board seats are for three-year terms. The election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Born in Hoboken and raised in Jersey City, Montanez-Acosta has put down roots in Guttenberg.
She is the administrative assistant for the town, overseeing seniors and parking-permit programs, and planning special events.
She is fully vested in the Guttenberg educational system, where three of her four children attend school. Montanez-Acosta is the former coordinator for the Summer Lunch Program at Klein School. She is also a former lunch aide.
The three open school board seats are for three-year terms.
“I’m running for the school board because I want to make the right decisions for our students,” said Montanez-Acosta, who is seeking her first term on the school board.
A native New Yorker, Schneider was born in the Bronx and raised in Brooklyn. She lives in Guttenberg with her husband, Louis, and seven-year-old daughter, Brielle, who attends the Klein School.
Schneider works for the Jewish Federation of North America, a nonprofit organization that raises money and awareness for social programs in Israel and around the world. She has also volunteered at soup kitchens and delivered meals to elderly people in their homes.
Schneider has been a member of the school board since November. She is a graduate of New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts, and attended Columbia University.
Schneider is running for the board again because she said she believes that education is key for any community to thrive.
“Without sounding too clichéd, our children are our future, both in our community and the world around us,” she said. “I want to help in any way I can to help shape our school and make it a place that our children want—and can—learn to their absolute highest potential.”
Elsa A. Schwarz
Born in Argentina, Schwarz has been a Guttenberg resident for 21 years.
Her husband Niels’s business took them around the world. This experience gave Schwarz the opportunity to work on educational initiatives in Guatemala and to later serve on the board of trustees for her children’s school in Colombia.
She said her experiences in Central and South America have been helpful to her, because she better understands the needs of the Latino community, which makes up a sizable portion of the Guttenberg school district. Schwarz also learned Spanish fluently and understands Portuguese and Italian, tools she finds helpful in a diverse school system.
She said the biggest issues right now are overcrowding and a transient population.
She is running again, she said, because “I care about the children and the whole community.” Schwarz has served on the Guttenberg Board of Education for six years.
Sari F. Zukerman
Zukerman has been a board member for nine years, including serving as its president from 2007 to 2011. She is running for her fourth term.
She was a teacher for 35 years before retiring. Education has been Zukerman’s life, and even after nine years on the board, she still has the desire to serve.
“I am a born educator who has made my former vocation into a continued avocation in retirement,” she said. “Education is very important and demanding, and I want to be certain that the children of Guttenberg get the best to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
Zukerman is a graduate of Cornell University, holds a master’s degree in education, and has a post-graduate certification in elementary school administration and supervision.
She was on the committee that negotiated the most recent teacher contract, as well as the one that worked with the town on planning the community center and school improvement project.
“I want to use my education background to advise and enhance programs in math, reading, and technology at Anna L. Klein,” she said.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.