By John Burton |
RED BANK — Dominic Kalorin has been seeing good things happening in the public schools and decided to step up and make sure the progress continues.
“I don’t think the school gets enough credit for how good it is,” said Kalorin about what he’s seen at the Red Bank Middle School, 101 Harding Road.
And that, in part, is what led him to run for a seat on the public school district Board of Education, winning it on Nov. 8.
Kalorin, encouraged by other parents and community friends, mounted a late-in-the-game write-in campaign to seek a seat on the nine-member board overseeing the district’s primary and middle schools.
As a write-in candidate, Kalorin garnered 69 votes, according to unofficial totals posted by the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office, winning the one-year unexpired term to the board. And with those votes, Kalorin topped the list of other write-in candidates who received a total of 66 votes.
Kalorin said he witnessed his older daughter’s education in the school system (she is now at Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver) and has been equally impressed with what he is seeing with his younger daughter, currently a sixth-grader.
“The education there is unbelievable,” he said. Speaking with parents who have children in other surrounding districts, Kalorin said he was surprised – in a good way – that his daughters have been studying areas more advanced than those districts. He remembered some of the material his older daughter studied in her eighth grade math class, “stuff I wasn’t doing until college.”
“Over the years I’ve heard a lot of not nice things about the schools,” here in the borough, he acknowledged. He has come to realize that was in the past and not the reality he has seen first-hand. Much of the credit, Kalorin said, is owed to Jared Rumage, superintendent of schools, who has been with the district since 2014. “He really is awesome,” Kalorin said, pointing to the advances the district has made in recent years in test scores and introducing innovative programs.
“Other than wanting to help the kids,” Kalorin said, “one of my main objectives is just get the word out about how good the schools are and good the education is.”
Kalorin, 45, lives on South Street with his family and owns and operates a landscaping business, Deluxe Landscaping Management. He holds a college degree in special education and while he’s never taught, he and his wife, who is an educator, believe they have some appreciation for what is going on in the schools and what is needed for a good education. “My personal belief is that it does start at home,” with parents contributing to the process, he said. “Pay attention to your kids’ education.”
He wasn’t aware of how the process works to apply and run for the board of education and waited too long to file the necessary paperwork. But when he expressed an interest in running for what was an uncontested seat, it turns out, he said, “The parents I know, they got behind me. They were telling everyone to get behind me.”
Kalorin would have to run for re-election next year to win a full three-year term, should he choose. As for now, he said he’ll just see how this year goes before he makes that decision. “I’m new to all this… Let’s see how this goes,” he said.
In this year’s local board of education election, incumbents Tom Labetti and Janet Jones were re-elected in uncontested races. Anne Amato won the third uncontested seat, held by Michael Ballard, who was elected to the Borough Council and whose term runs to the end of the year.
Board member Juanita Lewis, who had previously served on the board and is a former borough council member, had been appointed last year to fill a board vacancy but opted to not seek the one-year term.
This article was first published in the Nov. 16-23, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.
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