Thomas is the first Jersey City school board trustee to be elected to the 26-member board of the statewide federation of school boards. He was administered the oath of office by Daniel Sinclair, president of NJSBA, along with other new members at the Sept. 14 meeting of the board.
The NJSBA serves over 600 school boards, represented by the over 6,000 elected school board members serving the over 1.3 million students enrolled in 2,598 schools across the state of New Jersey.
Thomas will serve a three-year term from September 2017 through June 2020, even though his current term of office as a school board member expires at the end of 2019.
He is a single father with a background in financial management and some experience in teaching, and is a strong proponent of alternative choices for students, other than college preparation. He has also been an advocate of better management of school space to deal with the shortage of classroom space as projected by a report issued to the board in 2014.
He was elected to the school board in 2016 by the highest number of votes secured for a school election in the state.
Thomas is one of fewer than 200 certified volunteer 9/11 lecturers and educates visitors at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, impacting millions of visitors and students since he joined in 2012.
A graduate of Marquette University, he also serves as a consulting principal at Glocal Max Consulting Inc. and is the founder and chief executive officer at iPartie Inc.
Active in the Indian American community; Thomas also supports veterans’ issues and LGBTQ equality.
At the NJSBA meeting held in Trenton on June 9, 2017, Thomas was also voted in as a representative and ‘voting delegate’ to the ‘Urban Boards’ committee of the NJSBA, a strategic committee that studies trends and issues in urban education and addresses the challenges facings urban districts namely school funding, infrastructure, testing, non-college bound student strategy, lead in water to name a few.
Thomas’s work on the Urban Boards committee will engage him with key issues facing Newark, Patterson, Camden, Trenton, Passaic, and Wayne, which are also Abbot districts like Jersey City, facing common challenges needing cohesive, coordinated solutions and strategy.
“I am delighted to be elected to the Board of Directors of the NJSBA.” – Sudhan Thomas
Thomas will also join the newly-created work force task committee created by the NJSBA that will begin work by the end of 2017.
The work force task committee will create a white paper and strategy for non-college bound students. Thomas heads the student equity and work force committee in Jersey City, and is expected to draw experience from the work done locally and his corporate world experience, relationships that may help this newly formulated task force at the NJSBA.
Last year, Thomas ran his successful election campaign on the promise of a “3C” program, promising to roll out a school to prepare students for corporate jobs, a school-to-craftsmanship initiative that would help Jersey City students with a vocational pivot in the non-college bound space with private and public partnerships.
Thomas seems to be following through on an important campaign platform promise not just locally in Jersey City but with a statewide impact and footprint.
“I am delighted to be elected to the Board of Directors of the NJSBA,” he said. “It is an absolute honor and a privilege to serve at the state level in addition to my local, home city responsibilities. My election is a validation of the various progressive measures undertaken at the current board. I am hopeful of leveraging our ideas from the local Jersey City level to the state level to give every child a real shot at the American dream.
“I am particularly excited about the work force development task force, which also mirrors Ambassador [Phil] Murphy’s call to help prepare our students for a rapidly changing world. Our nation is going through a crucial phase with a sustained attack on public education and other public programs. We have to remain vigilante and come up with robust partnerships, ideas, strategies and solutions to protect our children to continue to fund their educational needs that would ultimately help preserve the greatness of our nation.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.