Several Bernards Township Board of Education Candidates Seeking Write-in Votes | #Education

BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ — At least three people have indicated they would like write-in votes for a post on the Bernards Township Board of Education.

One candidate is Ruchika S. Hira, who sought a board seat twice in the last two years. Another is a 22-year-old Bernards schools graduate, Harris Gartenberg. A third, Christopher Asakiewicz, used the public comment portion of the Oct. 5 school board meeting to announce his interest.

Three board members will be chosen at the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbents Jennifer Korn and Jennifer White will each seek another three-year term. Linda Wooldridge, first elected in 2011, declined to file for re-election.

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A third candidate, Elaine DiDario, announced in mid-September that she had had a change of heart and was dropping out of the race. Her name will still be on the ballot, but she asked for people not to vote for her and instead urged people to run write-in campaigns.

Hira is a lawyer working for a firm in Little Falls. In November 2019, she was one of five candidates seeking three seats on the board. In January 2018 she was one of 12 people who asked to be considered by the board to fill a vacancy. Timothy Salmon was ultimately selected.

Hira’s practice is in the area of family law, dealing with families, children and conflict resolution on a day-to-day basis.

“I am constantly having to think outside the box to craft solutions that work for everyone involved,” she said last year. “I also believe school boards with a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and ethnicities benefit from multiple perspectives.”

Gartenberg grew up in Basking Ridge and attended public schools. In April, he graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a minor in legal studies. He said he is considering whether his future includes graduate programs, be it law school or a master’s degree. 

“We are also experiencing very challenging times with the Covid pandemic. I personally had to finish my senior year of college by Zoom and virtual learning and this opportunistic experience has given me insight into the positives and negatives of the current strategy. Allow me to be a voice for the future,” he posted on social media.

In the job market in the pandemic era, he says he is interested in working at a law firm as a legal assistant or entry-level paralegal or conflicts analyst, or addressing legal compliance issues at a corporation.

Until winter arrives, he is working at a boat marina in Lake Hopatcong, he said.

Asakiewicz said in his public comment message that he would have children in the school district in the coming future. He said he saw the race as “an opportunity to make a lasting difference to their future and my community.”


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