Meet Spotswood Board of Education Candidate Dan Lennan | #Education

HELMETTA/SPOTSWOOD, NJ – Voters in Spotswood and Helmetta are deciding on one open Spotswood Board of Education seat in the upcoming election. Mail-in ballots have been sent out by Middlesex County and have begun arriving in borough mailboxes. Incumbent Bertrand Louis and Dan Lennan are both seeking the open seat on the Spotswood Board of Education. Lennan and his wife moved to Spotswood in 2001 and have three children attending school within the Spotswood School District. While Lennan has never held a public office, he is an active member of the Spotswood community.

Lennan has been an assistant coach, head coach and vice-president of the East Brunswick/Spotswood Golden Bear Chargers and headed up the fundraising endeavors of Spotswood’s youth baseball team that was supposed to play in Cooperstown this summer. He serves as the team dad for the U12 travel baseball team. In addition, Lennan is the Board of Education liaison for the Sptoswood PTA. Along with his wife, Lennan has worked with various community organizations.

“We always volunteer to lend a hand to such organizations as the Mama Mare Breast Cancer Foundation as well as the Jillybean Foundation, both of which help patients and their families during and after their treatments for breast cancer,” Lennan said.

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Lennan mounted a social media-fueled write-in campaign last fall, but this year wanted to have his name on the ballot for the November 3 general election.

“I am running for the BOE because I want to help our students, staff and families in town,” Lennan said. “I genuinely believe that every person on the current BOE has the best interest of our schools at heart. I am not pointing fingers at anyone and blaming them for what I feel are areas that need improvement. I just feel that I have different ideas that I believe will improve our overall district in many ways. The worst thing about a board, any board not just the BOE, is the status quo and doing things because, ‘they’ve always been done that way’. I am in favor of growth and new ideas, if I win there will come a time when someone will challenge me because they think my ideals have grown stale. I will welcome that challenge when it comes, that is the only way to continue to improve.”

Lennan has worked as a construction equipment salesman for almost two decades. He feels his communication skills are his strongest asset.

“If I cannot successfully communicate with my accounts I will not earn their business,” he explained. “While most of the time that means coming through for them in a pinch, it also means being very honest and telling them bad news no matter how uncomfortable that makes me or how much it disappoints them. My honesty, transparency and thorough communication skills are what has allowed me to be so successful in an incredibly challenging and competitive industry. I look forward to bringing those strengths to the Spotswood Board of Education.”

Lennan is a huge fan of Spotswood’s community interaction and the events the Spotswood Recreation Department and the Spotswood PTA put on all year round.

“The Christmas tree lighting the Spotswood REC department has every year is always our favorite,” Lennan explained. “As a coach and Vp of GBC, I was a participant, but now am very happy to just be able to walk around and enjoy the event with my wife. The REC department is responsible for so many of the friends my family has made during the last 20 years because of the different programs they run. Our PTA has been recognized nationally as a School of Excellence which is amazing considering the small size of our district, and we participate in as much as we can with them.”

“If you have never been to the tricky tray you are missing out and the same can be said for the Casino Night held by the Spotswood Education Foundation,” Lennan added. “We have three children who play on school athletic teams and our youngest son plays travel baseball for the Spotswood Youth Baseball and Softball League. The great thing about Spotswood is the support those teams get from the community. When we show up in another town to play we usually have the larger and louder crowd. That isn’t something a lot of larger towns can say.”

Lennan feels the dramatic change the coronavirus pandemic has made on everyday life is one of the biggest issues currently impacting the Sptoswood School District.

“In March all three of my kids walked out of their schools excited about the spring sports seasons beginning, then the schools closed, and we were thrown into turmoil,” Lennan said. “I think the biggest issue the district faced at that time was communication. I feel there could have been more done and what info we did get from the district could have been clearer. I honestly cannot lay that all at the feet of the district since they were doing what was coming out from the state and county level, but I had a ton of people coming to me asking why they were seeing other districts doing certain things ours wasn’t.”

“I think getting our schools reopened for some type of in-person instruction safely is priority number one while also making sure the current virtual model is being done to the best of our ability,” he continued. “With all of this will come tough financial decisions for our school district. I know I will be able to make choices that put our children first while still being responsible to the taxpayers in town.”

Improving communication from the Spotswood Board of Education down to the schools and the community is Lennan’s top goal if elected.

“My main goal is to increase the frequency, quality and transparency of communication between the schools, parents and staff,” Lennan said. “I have spoken to parents and teachers. Both have universally expressed a desire for better communication. I also think the BOE image as a whole needs to be improved within the town. More people reach out to the PTA or a person running for the board than the actual board. That is a problem.”

“When I ask people why they haven’t gone to the BOE directly, they either don’t know who to talk to or have any faith that their problem will be handled,” he continued. “The board will never be able to make every person happy. I will be no different if elected. It’s an impossible ask, but people need to at least know they can approach the board and have an opportunity to work together on a solution.”

“I will always tell you the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear,” Lennan added. “There are many people who support my candidacy and feel the same way I do about many issues. I cannot honestly tell those people that if I am elected they will get everything they want out of the school district. That is an impossible promise to keep and unrealistic platform to run on. What I can promise, is that I will be there for any parent who needs to talk to a board member about an issue and be an advocate for them if I feel their concerns are legitimate. If not, I will continue to discuss the issue with the family and never make them feel they were dismissed or ignored until we can come to a mutual agreement. Our students, staff and towns deserve the best someone has to offer. I am ready and willing to dedicate my best to the Spotswood School District.”

 

*In the upcoming weeks, Tapinto Milltown/Spotswood will continue with the Meet the Candidate series leading up to Election Day on Tuesday, November 3. Candidates running in local elections in Helmetta, Milltown and Spotswood will be featured.

 

 


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