West New York candidates are gearing up for the April school board election.
The “Your Children’s Future” team has filed their petitions with the secretary of the Board of Education and it is confirmed they have the requisite credentials necessary to be placed on the ballot.
The three candidates, incumbent Trustees Jonathan Castaneda, Ana Sanchez, and Douglas Velasquez, are running under the slogan of “Your Children’s Future” and are grouped under Column A on the official ballot of April 19.
Castaneda previously ran on a slate with Adrienne Sires, the wife of U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, and Joseph Rodriguez, the husband of County Commissioner Caridad Rodriguez. However, both Sires and Rodriguez opted not to seek re-election, and Sanchez and Velasquez were appointed in January to the positions in which they will serve until the election and may continue to serve if re-elected.
The appointments were necessary since the town moved its Board of Education elections to April, the same as North Bergen and Weehawken.
Castaneda is heading the ticket as he runs for his third full term on the Board of Education.
A product of the West New York school district, Castaneda graduated from Public School Number Four and Memorial High School, Class of 2007. Castaneda attained his Bachelor of Science in Diplomacy and International Relations and a Master of Public Administration from Seton Hall University, and also has his Master of City and Regional Planning from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Castaneda has served the community in many capacities throughout his life-long residence in town. He was elected to the Board of Education in 2015 and serves as the Hudson County Representative to the Board of Directors of the New Jersey School Boards Association.
He serves as chairman of the Budget Committee for the district and has been recognized by the New Jersey School Boards Association as a Certified Board Member and Master Board Member. He is also the Chairman of the West New York Housing Corporation and the town’s Special Projects Manager.
“Our work over the last six years has catapulted our district to statewide recognition as we continue finding innovative and timely ways to ensure our students receive a world class education, and I am proud to have the opportunity to run for re-election with such an amazing team that will truly fight to continue the progress I have sought throughout my time on this board,” said Castaneda.
“I am grateful and excited our team has received so much support from our community and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together – from our numerous capital improvement investments at Coviello Field and all of our schools to our designation as a Future Ready and High Performing School District, to re-certifying for Middle States Accreditation at MHS, to ensuring every kid has access to a laptop computer, and to our other academic and athletic achievements – all albeit the pandemic.”
A small business owner, healthcare worker, and proactive parent whose daughter attends the West New York Middle School, Sanchez has also joined the “Your Children’s Future” team. She graduated from Public School Number Five and from Memorial High School Class of 1994.
Sanchez currently chairs the Student Affairs Committee and has made strides to ensure there is representation of the student body on the Board of Education. She has also focused on mitigating the potential long lasting effects of COVID on student’s learning development, specifically pushing for investments in literacy programs for our students. According to Sanchez, she will continue to be a voice for families and prioritize student academic success by expanding services for all children.
“Our students deserve the very best. As a lifelong resident of West New York and as a parent of a current student with special needs and a parent of a past student that attended Public School Number Six and Memorial High School, I know firsthand the challenges our students face,” said Sanchez. “This team is committed to ensuring that our kids get the very best education in our town as possible”.
A graduate of the West New York school district, Memorial High School Class of 1999, Velasquez is a healthcare worker as a Senior Phlebotomist and Paramedical Examiner. He is also parent of a student in Memorial High School.
Velasquez has been a volunteer at both Public School Number 3 and Public School Number 4 with both Parent Teacher Organizations and has coached in the WNY Little League a number of years. He currently serves as chair of the Facilities and Grounds Committee at the Board of Education and serves as a commissioner for the West New York Housing Authority.
He says he understands the importance of facilities and infrastructure, access to affordable housing, access to education and public health, will work hard to ensure that all children are safe in school, and advocate for social and emotional health resources for students.
“As a parent and product of this school system, it is important to ensure our students receive a quality education in West New York,” said Velasquez. “The Board of Education plays a pivotal role in the success of our schools, and our team pledges to make decisions that will enhance our high performing school district.”
April election ahead
In addition to the three incumbent Trustees running for re-election, another slate running under the slogan “Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s Future,” are grouped under Column B.
Running on that slate are Dorinne Auriemma, Vipul Parekh, and Jose Valdez.
The election will take place on April 19, and polls will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. at all regular polling sites throughout town. To check voter registration, visit https://bit.ly/3Ix6vEr for the most up to date information. To find a voting location, visit https://bit.ly/3spw84C.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.