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Meet the BOE Candidates: Jeremias Salinas

Tyra Hughes, Copy Editor

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WEST ORANGE, NJ- Jeremias Salinas, a Woodbridge Middle School world language teacher with 15 years of experience, is hopeful of bringing the West Orange community together in the wake of the Jeff Rutzky resignation. As a father of 2 kids, a daughter in 2nd grade and a senior son at West Orange High, Salinas is no stranger to the West Orange school district.

However, as a teacher, Salinas firmly believes that he has a unique opportunity to see how school works from the inside out and how policy created by the Board of Education truly affects the community. A community as diverse as West Orange is exactly what inspired Salinas to run for the WOBOE. He has high hopes for West Orange and knows that as a town, “We’re just a great as others because of our diverse community. We are doing great things and can do better things.”

Even with our diverse community, Salinas has noticed that the BOE can improve in their meeting locations and community participation. Although there are frequent BOE meetings held in the West Orange HS LMC, the location has not only caused an inconvenience to community members who live across town but, it has also caused the lack of community participation. Salinas hopes to bring meetings to elementary schools and other town locations that might increase participation, and provide people the opportunity to widen their perspectives on the BOE. His plan will ensure that everyone can have their issues heard and resolved, and with his success in bringing in student BOE representatives, Salinas will continue to strive for 100% community participation.

Our community, he noted in our interview, has been divided into those in favor of former Superintendent Jeff Rutzky, and those not in favor. He hopes that he will be one to bridge that gap, and refocus the town into unity and resolution. In the past, the focus has shifted from education, to personal relationships and problems, but Salinas believes that “the school logo should always be bigger than the people who represent it.”

The resignation of Jeff Rutzky has brought mixed feelings among West Orange, but Salinas has a neutral and hopeful attitude towards it. He does not view the resignation as a good thing, or a bad thing, but an opportunity to improve as a community, refocus, and move forward.

When asked about what he looks for in a superintendent, Salinas showed much care for their connection to education, and their familiarity to West Orange. He feels that a superintendent should have a clear plan as for what he or she wants for the future of West Orange education, someone that is invested in the community and moving forward. Salinas suggests that we stop looking further from West Orange, but within the community, among teachers, principals, supervisors, to lead the BOE.

One of Salinas’ main concerns is to provide students with the necessary materials needed for a successful future, and he does not plan on tackling that task from a business perspective, but an educational one. Salinas wants to make sure that materials are prioritized and given to students for the benefit of their future. He said, “The thing about having a business aspect toward education is that we’re not creating machines, we’re talking about people. There’s no dollar amount you can put on that.”

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