Patch reached out to the ten candidates running for three open Middletown Board of Education seats and asked them questions about themselves and their vision for the community.
The terms of Board President Chris Aveta and members Vincent Brand and John Bennett, Jr. expire this year. Bennett joined the board last year, filling a one-year unexpired term. All incumbents are in the running for their seats.
The seven challengers are: Bob Banta, Richard G. Campbell, Michael Craig, Rocco DelGuercio, Michael A. Donlon, Anastasia Millicker and Michael J. Ostrander, Jr.
Polls open on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Below are responses from candidate Rocco DelGuercio:
Can you please provide a brief bio, including how long you’ve lived in Middletown and your ties to the community?
I was born in Caracas Venezuela and I am the son of Italian emigrants who came to the United States in 1967. I grew up in Astoria, Queens NY and have a BA in Liberal Art, a BS in Business and an MBA in Finance. I have lived in Middletown, NJ since 1997
What are your motivations for running for elected office?
I have a passion for doing the right thing and making sure that people are treated equally and fairly. I have always believed that you should put back more into this world then you take out it.
What new ideas do you have for Middletown schools?
I think that the board of education should set policies and put administrators in place to follow those policies. Too many times, I feel the board gets too involved with the micro-managing and actually interferes with the duties entrusted to our administrators. We as board members should oversee and ensure that our children get an education that teaches and inspires them without getting in the way of the people that we have put in place to achieve this goal.
What challenges do Middletown schools currently face, and what do you plan to do to address them?
With social media is becoming a greater part of our children’s lives I think one of the biggest challenges facing our schools is make sure that our children are taught the interpersonal and social skills needed to interact with each other. I think going back to basics and making sure that our children can effectively communicate with each other and develop their social skills should be a top priority of any education program -- this should start at a young age.
Property taxes are always a concern, especially in New Jersey. How can Middletown control taxes?
We need to accept that fact that property taxes are something that we will always be faced with. I think too much time and effort is spent by our elected official on justifying our taxes. Rather what we need to do is to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently because if we are able to do that then we will be able to control our taxes.
What accomplishments in your private life translates positively to a position in public office?
I have over 27 experience in running businesses and large departments for major investment banks. I have been successful in every stage of my career in motivating and inspiring people. I believe that if you treat people fairly, honestly and with respect they will work twice as hard for you and twice as hard on any project. I am action orientated and believe anything can be accomplished with teamwork and willingness to comprise. I’ll also believe that sometimes new blood, ideas and energy in an organization is a good thing (and needed) and can only make an organization better, stronger and successful.