Three of the four candidates vying for three open seats on the Hazlet Board of Education came to talk about their qualifications at a casual candidates forum at Raritan High School on Thursday.
Natale Iannello said he could not make the meeting due to a work commitment but sent a statement to be read.
Although only six Hazlet citizens turned out for the event held at the RHS cafeteria, the attendees engaged the candidates in thoughtful conversation about their views.
McNally, a middle school language arts teacher working in Freehold, was asked about the pros and cons of block scheduling, a trend towards longer classtime periods in practice in some area schools, not yet introduced at Hazlet. "I'm in favor," she said. "In middle school and high school, students are given more time to do project and problem-based learning. But it does does require more professional development training for the teacher," she said.
McGrath, a 9-year board veteran who travels for his job as a steamfitter, commented on the board's decision to enact redistricting to even out class sizes. He said it had an invigorating effect on teachers. "People get too comfortable. It’s a small town. You get to get out, meet new people," he said.
Willig, an attorney who presently serves at Board President, spoke about his desire to make Raritan High School a "very, very competitive high school" that retains the highest achievers, rather than loses them to the elite Monmouth County Vocational School District career academies or other private high schools. If down the road school choice allows families can choose any high school they want their children to attend, Hazlet must compete to keep its own, "We don't want our children going to other districts," he said.
Iannello's statement, read out load by Petrino, said the RHS Class of 1989 candidate was in favor of narrowing the achievement gap, increasing transparency and improving communications.
To date, no other candidate forums are planned. The election to select three candidates for the Board of Education will be held on November 6.