Running for the Third Time, Jean Marie Mitchell Says This Year's 'Ticket is Strong'

School board elections will take place on November 6.

For the third year in a row, Jean Marie Mitchell is running for school board.

“I am dedicated to be on this board,” Mitchell, 50, said. “I am dedicated to the school district.”

While Mitchell ran and lost last year, she already served a year on the board during the 2010-2011 school year.

As the mother of a sophomore at Hoboken High School, Mitchell said she wants to make move the district forward and make more people aware of the Hoboken High School, which she calls “Hoboken’s best kept secret.”

Mitchell’s son has been in the Hoboken public schools since Kindergarten, she said.

The Kids First ticket of which Mitchell is part, recently underwent some changes. Sitting board member Theresa Minutillo announced that she wouldn’t be running for re-election. Tom Kluepfel—one of the founders of the Elysian Charter School—then joined Kids First. Also running with Mitchell this year is sitting board member Ruth McAllister.

Running against Kids First, is a three-member ticket that calls itself Move Hoboken Forward.

The candidates that make up Kids First, Mitchell said, is “strong” this year. Last year, Mitchell ran with Cliff Godfrey and Steve Feinstein. All three candidates lost in 2011.

“That ticket,” Mitchell said, “wasn’t as strong as this ticket, I’d say.”

This is also the first time that the school board elections are being held in November. Candidates have been seen campaigning and registering people to vote.

Mitchell, who has lived in Hoboken for more than a decade, attends the monthly council meetings and takes pride in the fact that her attendance record is clean. In fact, it’s one of the things she is disappointed with about some of the current board members.

“I am frustrated and disillusioned,” she said about some board members, without naming any names. “They don’t even attend committee meetings.”

On Mitchell’s to-do list are tasks such as “improving the reputation or the image of the district and of course improving scores.” Also important, Mitchell said, is to get more parents involved. “I find that the more involved the parent is,” she said, “the more successful the child can be.” 

While Kids First currently holds a five-vote majority on the school board, Mitchell said it’s not enough.

The school board has been under some criticism lately with a disappointing ranking in New Jersey Monthly and a slow increase in test scores. Superintendent of Schools Mark Toback, meanwhile, has said that those numbers represent the school district of two years ago, rather than today’s situation.

About Toback, Mitchell had no criticism whatsoever. , said that she is “thrilled with his performance.”

While the Hoboken Board of Education is an unpaid position, Mitchell—who works full time as a information technology manager during the day—said it has “kind of become my life.”

“I’m a single parent,” Mitchell said. “I am serious about this. I don’t want to just talk about this. I want to be able to get back on the dais and serve again.”

Stay tuned to Patch for interviews with all the school board candidates.

CuriousReplacement October 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Hi CuriousPasskeyGal, I like the new name. I love when you call Frank Raia and Matt Calicchio "colleagues". You are a total hoot. I had a question about how we get paid. Tuition at Stevens Cooperative is $16,400. Pretty steep, right? So my question is, did they say they would pay more if we use a bunch of different IDs? Did they say how much more? You know why I need to know, girlfriend. Private school mom's putting a hurt on Kid's First - Dawn's legacy.
recallbethmason October 11, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I just luv how the original poster keeps changing his name to a different anti Zimmer name...it is laughable how desperate the old guard have become! Oh well, all for naught....your going to be stuck with Zimmer for another 4 years next november (yes the elections will be getting moved, there will be a huge turnout this November as I watched a ton of people registering to vote recently in Hoboken which of course the old guard hate to see happen...
Hobbs October 11, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Sadly more of the disgusting personal attacks that we have come to expect from Hoboken's OLD GUARD politicos. Have to ask why Liz Markevitch who was once respected has decided to be associated with these political cesspool dwellers ? Shame on you Liz !
demosthenes October 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Please don't explain. That would just make you seem even scummier if that's possible. Your screen name is a credit to Dawn since I'm confident she has no interest in having the author of your post as one of her fans.
Gardiner4Freeholder October 11, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Jean Marie Mitchell is a honest concerned parent and hard working campaigner. Ruth McCallister and Tom Kluepfel are indeed strong given their track record in supporting education and not the patronage that the Pupie posse espouses. Tom's inclusion on the Kids First ticket is a problem for the opposition's strategy for the divide and conquer charter school parent crowd. Couple that with certain Hoboken Dads trying to penetrate Hoboken Mom's group (isn't that how babies are made? ) and the failure of that operation to date that has been and the conclusion is very simple. If turnout is high (for the BOE election) Kids First should win easily on the merits. Most educated voters know the Move Hoboken Forward would actually be a step backward given the proclivity for graft as evidenced with the 2006 BOE audit when Frank and Friends were running amok with taxpayer dollars. If turnout is low (and there are a ton of under-votes) then the Pupie slate will likely win with their annual BOE "paid workers" strategy which tops out at around 2200- 2500 votes. That is their max. Their only ally is voter apathy and they damn well know it. One thing though, their side always shows up. GOTV is the key for the proper result.
Hobbs October 11, 2012 at 04:33 PM
November 6th Vote KIDS FIRST K - L - M Kluepfel + Mitchell + McCallister Proud of the progress.
lorraine morgan October 11, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Reformers? what have they reformed? * Cronyism exists just as much now at boe (perhaps even more so under kf rule) KF majority voted to terminate Paula Ohaus .Guess they thought they needed to reform Paula for Producing Award Winning Productions for HHS Theatre Arts Program..(any sign of awards now? don't think so) Why does this reformer refrain from mentioning names of Board Trustees who have missed committee meetings??? Is it because..ooops.. her own runningmate and other KF bd members missed their committee meetings as well ? * "J"ust "B"e sure to pay close attention to tuesday's boe agenda .
Prouder Parent October 11, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Naah. The highlight of Jean Marie's year was approving laptops for her son's class. No wonder she wants to get back there - time for an upgrade.
Bryan Daniels October 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
What is so strong about is ticket in comparison to last years ticket? Isn't Kids First just pulling in more Charter School people to run with them? I though they were against Charter Schools?
Journey October 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Wo do I call to sign up to volunteer my time?
Hobbs October 11, 2012 at 09:25 PM
You obviously have not been paying attention. Parroting back the same well refuted OLD GUARD politico talking points just show your desperation, Perhaps Patrica Waiters said it best: "You can't "Move Forward" with yesterday's corruption."
NoFanOfDawnZ October 11, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Kids Last has 0 chance of winning. Too tainted. A former volunteer of theirs like depicting residents of Hoboken in punch bowls with floating turds, Minutillo relation, that will take me a book to write about her, their fundraiser only had around 10 people show up. Then there is Clifford who got caught in a club fighting and threatening people. Why even run? If they get 100 votes I will be impressed. We need a change, time for some new able minded people to bring the BOE back to life.
Journey October 11, 2012 at 10:23 PM
If you think charters a simple black/white question... It is more of trying to help the most students with the funds they have instead of a small minority.
mcgato October 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Wow, a negative comment about Kids First, followed by two other negative comments from posters who have 1 total post each. If I were a cynical person, I would assume that all 3 came from lorraine morgan.
Journey October 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM
The laptop program covers multiple grades, not just one class.
puzzledone October 11, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Well, we know for MF, it's about steak dinners, no show jobs, cell phones, trips to AC, superintendents who need us to pay for their mentors, gaming tests, and just paying themselves out of the BOE budget. Are you really sure you want to make this a race to the bottom?
Passkey October 12, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I'm looking forward to this month's BOE meeting. It was at last year's October meeting when the district's NJASK and HSPA test scores were discussed. It will be nice to see some objective assessment on how Kids First is doing before the November elections.
Hobbs October 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM
November 6th Vote Kids First K - L - M Kluepfel + Mitchell + McCallister Proud of the Progress
pdq October 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Lorraine, I heard that it was Frances Rhodes Kearns who signed all those illegal employee contracts. I recall that they were the very contracts that attorney Gagliardi had to rewrite. Those same contracts for the employees who sued the district and lost. Didn't she sign David Anthony's low show contract too? The contract that said he would work UP TO 20 hours, with full time salary and benefits? What's up with Frances Rhodes Kearns? Isn't she an associate of Angel Alicea and his wife? Is that correct, Lorraine?
pdq October 13, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Mr. Passkey, Pardon my ignorance but if I understand the role of the school board correctly, school board members are strictly prohibited from administering, managing or taking NJASK and HSPA tests. Did you mean to say; it would be nice to see some objective assessment on how the kids are doing before the November elections?
Passkey October 13, 2012 at 03:43 PM
pdq, Like most parents, I would like to know how the district is doing concerning state testing. We know its been a problem-- resulting in the district being classified a DISTRICT IN NEED OF IMPROVEMENT for the first time ever under Kids First's watch. I'm anxious to see the results of the Smartboards, and the laptops, and all these outside experts coming to the district to help. We've been told it is going to have results (just read the Kids First literature and all the self congratulations on there "accomplishments"). In this, the beginning of the 4th year of Kids First majority control of the Board-- its reasonable to expect some evidence to support the claims.
CuriousReplacement October 13, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Hi CuriousPasskeyGal, I'm really having trouble with my defamation lawsuit. Plus I have to come up with $16,400 to put the little Replacement in Stevens Cooperative. Do we get paid extra if we use more than one ID like you when we stick it to Kids First? A few extra bucks would be nice even though I'll end up giving it to the lawyers in my multi-state defamation suit. Private school moms using as many screen names as possible to pay off our lawyers - Dawn's legacy.
Bryan Daniels October 13, 2012 at 06:53 PM
An attempted answer to the question is what I was aiming for.... Why would Kids First say they are against Charters then try to run Charter School Broad people on their ticket?
Bryan Daniels October 13, 2012 at 07:02 PM
How is there change when its the same people puppeteering either side of this election. Everyone on this Move Forward ticket is guilty by association to Michael Russo & Angel Alicea how is that for too tainted. TEAM - Patrica Waiters!
puzzledone October 13, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Well, we still won't be able to measure improvement legitimately due to the retained 10th grader and other testing issues during the prior board that you tried to brush off on that other email thread. The one that seemed to clean up ONLY AFTER Kids First took office? Of course, the other problem is that the prior group screwed up the schools in ways that certainly will have long term impact. It's going to take a long time to clean up the garbage they left behind. Hope the steak was tasty.
Sting Ray October 14, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Passkey, what, your cell phone contract ran out? Need another cell phone? Hungry for a steak dinner? Yeah, we know, you want your free stuff back. Take another spin.
Redwing forever October 16, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Jean what would you do if a teacher checked in and for 72 days did not show up for class to teach. would you give them a coaching job or get rid of them? show us tonight go talk about this problem and i will support you !!!!!!!
Passkey October 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
In September 2010, then Board Member Mitchell told the public in a "welcome back to school letter" in the Hoboken Reporter, "The High School will be offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which parents were requesting for years."-- as many high school parents came to realize, AP was NOT ready to go in 2010-2011 and it was over a year before AP classes began in HHS. She also claimed "enrollment has increased throughout the district"-- another "error as district enrollment is down. Finally, she also said, "Mr. Joy, the interim principal for Hoboken High School has returned. He has made outstanding improvements to the educational programs and facility in his short time with us." - we now know his "outstanding improvements" included having the 3rd lowest graduation rate in Hudson County, a high school that failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress for his 2 years there (first time ever), and the precipitous drop in NJ Monthly rankings which is well documented. Jean Marie has proven she is either ill informed or she will say what she has to so she can be part of the team. She is not credible. http://hudsonreporter.com/view/full_story/9480196/article-A-back-to-school-welcome-to-all?instance=secondary_stories_left_column
Facts Alone October 18, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I bet even Cliff Godfrey and Steve Feinstein won't vote for this broad after the way she trashes them in this story. Maybe those two will chip in to buy her a copy of Dale Carnegie.
lorraine morgan October 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM
oh my,you could very well be correct about this. There seems to be a big push to vote for tom K. Remember that early on , Tom was running independently and probably has his own loyal voter base, who may bullet vote to make sure he gets elected. This is a very likely scenario. This election is going to be about Every Man or Woman for Themselves and well they can endear themselves to the voters.


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