#childsafety | Lawrence Board of Education Profile: Olufunmilola Ladigbolu

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ — Olufunmilola ‘Funmi’ Ladigbolu is passionate about education and equity. She hopes to see all children in Lawrence Township have access to quality and equal education. And for this reason, she is running for a seat in the Board of Education this Nov. 3.

Ladigbolu is an IT Change Control Administrator by professions. She says her decisions are data driven and hopes to bring this skill to the job if elected.

Read below to learn more about Ladigbolu and her platform for the upcoming elections in Lawrence.

Name – Olufunmilola ‘Funmi’ Ladigbolu

Age (as of Election Day) – 39

Position Sought – Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

Yes, Department of Justice

BA- Psychology/Justice Studies, College of Saint Elizabeth,

MA-Clinical Psychology, Long Island University,

MPA, Penn State

Occupation –

IT Change Control Administrator

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office –

None

Campaign website –

https://www.facebook.com/Ladigboluforboe

Why are you seeking elective office?

I am running because I believe that every child deserves a quality education which extends beyond the four walls of their classrooms. If elected, I will serve as an ethical, accountable, and fair member of the board that will facilitate the process of building relationships with various members and businesses with the goal of community engagement. Lawrence Township is Lawrence Public Schools and Lawrence Public Schools is Lawrence Township. We are one and will go further together.

The single most pressing issue facing our school district is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

The single most pressing issue facing our school district is the challenge of continuing to improve learning opportunities for all students regardless of social economically background. Our society values and promotes those who can produce, inspire, and lead. Critical thinking, synthesizing information, and developing creative solutions to challenges should be emphasized and encouraged throughout the learning experience. The definition of success and what it takes to achieve has evolved in many ways; therefore, student offerings and experiences must reflect the aforementioned evolution. Providing our children with the competitive edge that is needed to stand out will not only prepare them for the future but will create endless opportunities. Additionally, equity and the recruitment of staff that reflect the student body. Greater effort is needed to recruit and attract teachers and other staff who are BIPOC. Having staff member who are reflective of our student population will further foster an environment in which there is true equity and diversity.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I would first note the similarities that we all share. We are all parents and education is certainly a priority for all of us. Secondly, we are all seeking positions in the administration of the resources necessary to continue the tradition of excellence that Lawrence Township school system is synonymous. I believe we all want the best for our students. However, our approach is what differs. Data driven decision making is what I utilize to make decisions. Seeking measurable metrics to drive decision making and best practices, not based on feelings or emotions. All while ensuring that education and safety of our staff and children are not compromised.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency).

There is always room for improvement. One area of improvement is communication and transparency in decision making. Parents are provided with decisions that have been made without being given the critical information on why the decisions are made.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

  • Greater collaboration with the community is needed for this district to progress. Our district would benefit from having partnerships with the many large corporations in the area. Which will allow our students to gain hands-on experience in various sectors. I was astonished at the limited independent study opportunities that exists in our community.
  • The Equity task force is on the right track by providing metrics on the disproportional suspension rates of minority students. We should also have similar metrics analyzing the number of minority students that are enrolled in advanced placement classes. Having these kinds of metrics will help us to see where the gaps are, educate our community and give us an opportunity to address any blind spots.
  • For children to participate in hybrid/in-person learning, there will need to be several safety procedures and precautionary measures taken. It is imperative that our students and staff wear masks during in person instruction with the exception of those who for medical reasons are unable to wear a mask. The Township should also have multiple sessions, which would not only support working families with multiple children but also faculty and staff members. Additionally, offering multiple sessions for hybrid/in-person learning will enable the town to implement social distancing standards effectively, as the standard classroom in our district was not created to accommodate social distancing and could only accommodate half of the students on most classroom rosters comfortably. As a mother, I understand the complexities involved in keeping our children safe while simultaneously ensuring that they receive the best education possible.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

I am an accomplished and driven healthcare administrator with extensive program development, change management, risk management, and process management experience in a hybrid environment of higher education and healthcare. I launch many university-wide initiatives while overseeing budgets. Being an effective Board member requires collaboration and creative thinking to ensure our resources are invested in our classrooms and that our tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently. The skill set that I utilize in my profession can be used to address student achievement, diversity, and inclusion. I have personally experienced challenges and frustration with course selections and placement for our students. It is essential for our students to be placed in classes in which they are challenged, not just placed in classes where they can obtain A’s. Value should be placed on rigor instead of solely attaining high grades. Furthermore, greater collaboration with the community is needed for this district to progress. Our district would benefit from having partnerships with the many large corporations in the area. Which will allow our students to gain hands-on experience in various sectors.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

The best advice shared with me was in the form of a quote, “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible”.- Author unknown

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

I’m passionate about education and equity. Decisions will be made on data and research and not on personal agenda or feelings. I’ll bring a critical thinking approach that facilitates proactive decision making. If I am selected, I will work towards creating a more robust and diverse student experience which allows for greater hands on training for our students equipping them with skills needed for life after high school. I am excited for the opportunity to serve and work alongside my community in this capacity. While continuing to make Lawrence Township a place where administrators, teachers and families have a wonderfully balanced relationship and experience with our school system.

In anticipation of the upcoming election, Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns. We will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

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