Eleven residents apply for vacant school board post | Paterson Times Paterson Times

Eleven residents apply for vacant school board post

By Jayed Rahman
Published: June 25, 2014


About a dozen city residents, among them former school board candidates and a member, have submitted cover letters and resumes to fill the vacant seat left by councilman-elect Alex Mendez.

One former school board member Daniel Vergara, who currently works as chief code enforcement officer at the city’s Public Works Department, has submitted a cover letter and resume to the board for consideration. Vergara was appointed to the board in 2001 and later won a full term in 2003.

Three other applicants who ran abortive campaigns in past to capture a seat at the board submitted applications as well. Khader “Ken” Abuassab, an Arab community leader, who ran unsuccessfully for a school board seat in 1990, submitted a cover letter and resume to the school board for consideration. Abuassab is currently an alternate on the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission.

Nelly Celi, who serves as a community manager at the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, tossed her name into the selection process. Celi ran unsuccessfully against some of the current board members in the most recent school board election.

Joel Ramirez, who works as an admissions director in Berkeley College has also submitted an application. Ramirez unsuccessfully ran during the 2012 school board election.

Among the newcomers: Escha Bates, a public safety dispatcher at the city’s police department; Oshin Castillo, a political operative who worked in several local elections and works as an assistant head teller at TDBank; Monet Kendall, a school counselor, who currently works as associate dean of guidance at the New Jersey Seeds, an initiative encouraging poor urban youth to attend college; Lilisa Mimms, a pastor and founder of the New Beginnings Christian Outreach Ministries; Mohammad Ramadan, a student from Montclair University; Flavio Rivera, an auditor in Passaic County government; and Taj Uddin, a small business owner, who operates a grocery store.

The school board opened up the application process last month. Mendez is being sworn in into the council on July 1st.  The board’s rules prevents Mendez from serving in both bodies. “A board member cannot concurrently hold office as mayor or member of the governing body of Paterson,” reads a clause in the board’s bylaws.

School board president Christopher Irving said a board meeting will be held next week where each candidate will be grilled with questions to settle on a candidate to serve in Mendez’s place until a special election is held in November.

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