Letter to the Editor

Candidates for the Board of Education will appear on the same ballot as elected officials this Nov. 6.


This is a unique election year in New Jersey. For the first time, Board of Education candidates appear on the same ballot as the rest of our elected representatives. Especially with this being a presidential election year, many of us may forget to cast our votes for our local Board of Education candidates. I am writing to remind all registered voters to exercise your right to vote on this Election Day and, if you live in New Milford, to vote for Darren Drake and Joe Steele for the New Milford Board of Education.

I served my community for 19 years on the board and I was fortunate enough to serve with both Darren and Joe for a few of those years. This is a time when experience really does matter. Overall, the NMBOE is an inexperienced board. There are only two trustees who have more experience than Darren and Joe. Balancing “new blood” with the old can bring some great new ideas. But when you have too little experience, valuable time is wasted in trying to get all of the newer members up to speed.

Darren and Joe have chosen to run for the Board of Education again because they care passionately about the education provided to New Milford’s students.  Unlike the Council, Board of Education Trustees do not receive stipends or health benefits. They receive nothing other than the satisfaction of serving their communities. Thank you, Darren and Joe, for a job well done and for running again to serve New Milford. These two fine gentlemen deserve your support and deserve to be reelected to the New Milford Board of Education.

Lori Barton

Darren Drake October 22, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Thank you Lori.
Bucktail October 22, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Steele and Drake got my vote.
mellie October 22, 2012 at 03:49 PM
Do either men have children within the district.
Lori Barton October 22, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Yes, Joe Steele has two children currently attending New Milford schools. Darren is a 2003 graduate of New Milford schools and brings a fresher, younger view to the board. He has more recent experience in college and knows what is needed to prepare our students for the 21st century.
Sebastian Yoon October 22, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Is anyone else running? If there is, what do we know about them? Will Patch be providing any information on everyone? I apologize if this is already out there. Maybe someone can point me to it? I would like to get more information other than Ms. Barton’s recommendation. No disrespect intended, but those 19 years are marked by several dark days in the schools. I’d like to get more information on everyone before I make my decision. Thank You.
Donna Colucci October 23, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Jim Prendergast and Laura O'Grady...
Sam B. October 23, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Darren Drake and Joe Steele are the best choices
Michelle October 23, 2012 at 05:19 AM
I agree Sam B. The first time I met Darren Drake, my inner self did a triple take at his wit and intelligence. Not just a cut above, but way above. Education is a priority, and his professional background lends itself perfectly to what he is tasked with on the Board. He is my NUMBER ONE CHOICE for BOE (and any other position or office he chooses to run for). Since we are voting for 3 out of the 4 slots, my second vote will go to Joe Steele, and my third to Laura O'Grady. Good luck everyone!!
Bucktail October 23, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Sebastian, if I may call you that. I don't understand how you have been following the Board of Education for 19 years and yet you don't know who the other 3 candidates are. However, you do feel obligated to diminish three innocent volunteers. I do have to hand it to you though, no offense meant - you have tarnished a 19 year volunteer veteran of the Board of Ed when you don't even know what part she played in whatever questionable situations had occurred. I do suppose based on your logic, that you could also blame any one of the M & C for a person putting up a NO Parking sign wherever he wanted no one else to park, except his own friends. Have a nice day.
Sebastian Yoon October 23, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Thank you for the information. I do apologize if my comments sounded disparaging. That wasn't my intent and this is not the place to dig up issues long in the past. If a person is part of a larger group, then that person, along with the rest, assumes the responsibility for all actions; good or bad. Same for candidates in general. They will campaign on accomplishments but tend not accept responsibility for negative items. Following or not following the board for 19 years is irrelevant. I speak to how the schools were at various points of that time and that ultimately is a reflection of the Board of Education. Some people will focus on the good things during that time and others will focus on the bad. That’s normal. I don’t discount Mr. Drake or Mr. Steele’s value to the board. I hope they continue, as part of the entire body, to make the decisions that are best. Being mostly homebound, I have come to rely on online media for a large portion of my information. I will be more diligent in finding out about all the candidates before the election and am still curious if Patch plans on providing any more information. Can anyone point me to information that may already exist for the candidates? Besides Mr. Drake and Mrs. Steele, Ms. Colucci indicates that there are 2 others. Thank you again for all of the information.
scooby doo October 24, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Is your opinion of the dark days based on online media? have you been inside the schools to see what happens there? things are running real smooth for a while now. no big changes in administration. lots of good in last 20 years. beautiful additions to schools, full day kindergarden, lots more AP classes. go inside the schools and see all the great things. lots of newspapers only print bad stuff, good stuff isn't considered news. go online and read about the holocaust education program at high school. NMHS is a leader in the world not just the state for that. that's the stuff that reflects the board of education.
Laura O'Grady October 24, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Thank you Michelle. I appreciate your confidence and hope I have the chance to serve on the board.


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