From the Candidates: Mike Sockol for Holmdel BOE

The following was written by Mike Sockol, candidate for the Holmdel Board of Education.

Mike Sockol, candidate for the Holmdel Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of Mike Sockol).
Mike Sockol, candidate for the Holmdel Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of Mike Sockol).

The following was written by Mike Sockol, candidate for the Holmdel Board of Education.

I recently saw this intriguing tidbit in the Asbury Park Press:

"Approximately 1.23 candidates are running for each open seat on Tuesday, the lowest ratio of candidates per vacant seat since 1999, according to the school boards association."

I guess we can state the obvious here.  It’s not easy serving on the school board.  It’s a tough job that takes a lot of time and energy.  You better be ready to roll up your sleeves.  But more important, knowing the high standards we set here in New Jersey, you better be ready to deliver the goods.

When I first seriously considered serving on the Holmdel Board of Education three years ago, I saw a district facing a multitude of challenges, including failed budget votes, lingering negotiations with our teachers, various financial challenges, and looming reform initiatives coming from both Trenton and Washington.

While it was a time defined by tough choices, it also offered an opportunity to provide new ideas and perspectives.

By working in partnership with administrators, teachers, and parents, my board colleagues and I developed solutions to address many of these issues, and I’m proud of the accomplishments we achieved together:

  • expanded curriculum choices 
  • safer district facilities and infrastructure
  • investments in technology enhancements
  • significant conservation-related savings
  • reduced operating expenses 
  • the recruitment of top administrative talent
  • fair and equitable contracts for our school staff
  • budgets well below the state-mandated two-percent cap

During my tenure on the Board, I have consistently supported initiatives designed to ensure quality education at a reasonable cost.  Over the last three years, school taxes have only increased on average by less than nine-tenths of one percent annually, including no property tax increase in 2011.  In fact, the school district's share of your annual property tax bill has dropped almost three percentage points over this period.

At the same time, the district has broadened its offerings in arts, theater, music, social studies, science, and mathematics to extend quality education in the broadest manner possible, reaching students at all ranges of skill and achievement.  National publications consistently rank the Holmdel High School among the best in the country, and our students continuously garner awards for academic, artistic, and athletic excellence.

I use the term “we” deliberately.  Public education is a collective exercise. Every Holmdel resident is a stakeholder in our school district, and we need to make a commitment to align our goals in an open and public way so that we can collectively build upon our strengths and address our weaknesses.   

With new educational mandates from Trenton and continuing fiscal pressures, we still have more work to do—such as addressing core curriculum requirements, new teacher evaluations, and additional technology requirements, just to name a few.   

The job still requires rolled-up sleeves.   I hope with your support on Tuesday, we can continue to work together to ensure a quality education for our community's most valuable asset--our children.


Shao Todd November 06, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Ever hear about the pot calling the kettle black? BM calls Dave a brown noser while he brown noses Vander Woude and Pavlik. Now in order to run for school board, you'd have to go under you real name. And we all know you don't want your identity revealed.
Paul Narciso November 07, 2013 at 01:19 PM
Let me put it this way Mr. Shao Todd if that is your REAL name. Apparently this guy can only manage to win a BOE election which was an UNCONTESTED election. He made a website asking for contributions for his campaign for what signs. It was the BOE not running for senate. What does this say about his character. He ran for council 2 or 3 times and LOST!!!!! You obviously fooled 2500 people with the charm and political motives but not the Community. Very sneaky man will tell you just what you want to hear just to get a vote. So glad my kids are older and not in school anymore . He is bragging about being #1 with his total votes, so immature, on social media. This is a man that is in charge of our schools! Good Luck all enjoy the next 3 yrs!
Shao Todd November 07, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Well, Paul Narciso (don't you own a hair salon in Toronto?) I think it's interesting that I said nothing about this candidate in my comment, but you went on a tirade about him directed at me. It seems you have a personal vendetta against him. Anyways, to address your points: 1. You've forgotten about the contested BOE election where he also came in first. 2. What does that about his character? It says he takes races seriously, regardless of the position he's running for. 3. Maybe he lost the council election because he ran as a Democrat? In the past five elections, the only Democrat to win was Larry Fink in 2009 and he won by only 26 votes. Currently, the Township Committee consists of only Republicans. 4. You say he's fooled "2500 people" but not the community. What are those 2,500 people part of if they're not members of the community? Are you suggesting the community is a minority? 5. "Very sneaky man will tell you just what you want to hear just to get a vote." - Blanket statement. 6. "He is bragging about being #1 with his total votes, so immature, on social media." - Mind proving this? 7. Yes, he's in charge of the schools. What important things are you doing? You can't be doing anything too important if you have the time to attack people you don't like on the Internet.


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