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2021 BOE Elections: The Candidates Respond

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Pam Priscoe, Chris Wacha and Ron Mueller are the three candidates running for two seats on the Verona Board of Education on Tuesday, November 2.

To help readers to get to know the candidates, listed here in order of their place on the ballot, MyVeronaNJ interviewed all three via Zoom last week. There were four questions that were the same for all of the candidates, and another four that were specific to an individual candidate’s background, platform or public positions. You can read each candidate’s response to all eight questions on the pages below, which also include ways to learn more about them on the web and social media. In in the coming days, MyVeronaNJ.com will be grouping the candidates’ response to each of the common questions in an easy-to-read format:

Priscoe is seeking a second term on the BOE. A long-time municipal government employee and a graduate of Verona High School, Priscoe was the top vote-getter in the 2018 election, with 3,749 votes. During her term, she has served on the BOE’s Buildings & Grounds and Athletics & Co-Curricular committees. She acknowledged, in her interview, that she has come to regret being a sharp critic of the BOE in her first campaign. “Yes, I was very vocal at one point prior to me running for the Board of Ed,” she said, “and, looking back at it, it was extreme. ”

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Wacha and Mueller, who are running as a team, have often been BOE critics during the pandemic, yet some of their positions did not hold up to scrutiny during their interviews. Where clarifications and fact-checking were needed, it is included in the interview transcript in italics. Wacha has been the principal of Haledon Public School, a pre-K to 8th grade school, for four years and was also named Haledon’s superintendent in September 2020. Mueller has had a 25-year corporate career at Mercedes-Benz, American Express and Volvo. 

The Verona Conference of SCAs will be holding a candidates forum on Tuesday, October 19 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Verona High School. The event, which will be moderated by the League of Women Voters, will also be live streamed. The public can submit questions for that event to the Conference of SCAs by Friday, October 15, through this link. The moderator from the League will review the questions submitted and choose those to ask during the event.

MyVeronaNJ.com accepts letters to the editor from readers in support of candidates. Letter writers must, however, be Verona voters and letters will be fact-checked. Other comments on the candidates will be posted if they follow our Comments Policy; that policy also applies to MyVeronaNJ.com’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms.

Common Questions

BOE Candidates Question 1: What Does The BOE Do?

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

2 COMMENTS

  1. I want to know what each of the candidates position is on teaching critical race theory. This is a very important subject to many parents and it should be addressed.

  2. Critical race theory is not taught in any of Verona’s public schools at any level. Nor is it taught at the elementary, middle or high school level much of anyplace else in America. It is primarily taught in law schools because it is about race and the law.

    Since 2002, all New Jersey schools have had to incorporate African-American history into their social studies curriculum. New Jersey’s Amistad Mandate requires schools to teach about topics that many Verona parents and grandparents may not have learned when they were in school, such as the African slave trade, slavery in America, the many contributions that Black people have made to American society, and the impact of criminal justice and human rights. MyVeronaNJ.com wrote a story about race and Verona’s curriculum last year, and you can read it here.

    Also, the Verona Board of Education does not set the curriculum for Verona’s public schools; that is the job of the superintendent and the director of curriculum.

    Should you wish to reach out to the candidates, they have contact information on their websites, which are at listed at the top of each candidate response page.

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