The election will be held April 15.
The pool of candidates includes three incumbents, a past board member, and fresh faces making their first foray into political office.
This could be one of the most important board elections to be held in recent years, as whoever is sitting on the next board will have a hand in selecting the new superintendent later this year. Current School Superintendent Constantino Scerbo announced his retirement in November. His last day on the job will be June 30.
Current board members will likely do first-round interviews with applicants for that job in early spring. The new board, to be seated after the April elections, will do later round interviews and will make the final decision on Scerbo's replacement. Scerbo, who has been in the position for 24 years, is well regarded by many parents and naming his successor could prove to be controversial if the new superintendent breaks his mold.
Managing the school budget may be another controversial challenge. The state of New Jersey is facing a budget deficit and Gov. Jon Corzine has submitted a budget to the legislature in Trenton that has $500 million in overall cuts and a $190 million reduction in state aid to towns. The ripple affects may eventually be felt in the halls of Huber, Clarendon, Secaucus Middle School, and the high school.
The current board members who are running for re-election are William Millevoi, Susan Pirro, and Eleanore Reinl.
The three incumbents face competition from political newcomers Michael Makarski, Gary Riebesell, and Dora Marra.
Community activist Thomas Troyer, who has previously served several terms on the board, rounds out the list of candidates.
First-time candidate Dora Marra has deep roots in Secaucus. The daughter and niece of the co-owners of Marra's Drugs, Marra comes from a family that has a very long history with the local school board. Several of her relatives have served on the governing body.
Married with no children, Marra is the proprietor of Headdress New York, a women's apparel and accessories vendor on Irving Place in Secaucus.
Gary Riebesell has been living in Secaucus for 14 years. Like Marra, this is his first time running for any office. Currently a lieutenant with the Hudson County Sheriff's Office, Riebesell has worked with the department for 23 years. Riebesell, Jersey City native, is married and has a 12-year-old in Clarendon Elementary School.
Michael Makarski, like Marra and Riebesell, is also a newcomer to the political scene. This is his first run for an elected seat. Activist Tom Troyer, who left the Secaucus Board of Education last year, hopes to win his seat back this spring. Probably best known for taking the Town Council to task for various decisions, Troyer served on the Secaucus Board of Education from 1973 to 1976 and again from 1979 to 1982. Most recently he served on the board from 2001 until last year.
Troyer also taught high school social studies for 45 years. He taught at Emerson in Union City, where he fought against the appointed school board system and became an advocate for elected boards.
Troyer also taught in high school in Secaucus from 1965 until about 1970 and was instrumental in getting the high school opened.
Troyer, a widower who now works as a substitute teacher, has two adult sons.
Millevoi, Reinl, and Pirro are familiar faces on the board.
Millevoi is a retired Jersey City teacher and school administrator who has been active around education for about 36 years. Long an advocate for technology in the Secaucus schools, Millevoi served two terms as school board president.
Millevoi is a married father with two adult children.
Reinl has been on the board for about 30 years and is the longest-serving member. A married mother of three adult sons, Reinl is a board member of the Hudson County School Boards Association and was reportedly very active in the PTA when her children were growing up. Professionally, she worked as an administrative assistant for Hartz Mountain Industries and Movado Watch Company, among other firms. She is also the first vice president of Friends of the Secaucus Library.
Susan Pirro, a divorced mother of three daughters, has worked for the Board of Education in Union City as an insurance administrator. A former vice president of the Secaucus Board of Education, Pirro is a former member of the PTA who also served as a parent liaison/volunteer for more than 15 years.
During the 2005 Board of Education elections, Millevoi and Pirro ran with the support of Mayor Dennis Elwell and the Secaucus Democratic Organization-affiliated Children First Committee. Reinl ran independently.
The mayor said in an interview that he would not publicly support any candidate this year.