Ask your local candidate a question.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Know the Candidates

Deborah Fuhrmann

Board of Education | Blairstown Elementary School

Why are you running for the Board of Education?

I am running for the Blairstown Board of Education because I feel my expierence as parent, a community member and an educator make me an asset to this community and the position. Prior to our family moving to Bliarstown, I was elected to a position on the Belvidere Board of Education. During my time there, I understood the importance of providing quality education being balanced with the financial needs of the community. We are all trying to manage inflation and the high costs of living in these current times. The Board of Education Memebers will need to balance these needs within our community with the need to keep our students education a priority. We do not want budget cuts, inflation and the rising costs to have a negative effect on the education of our children.

What are the three most important issues facing the school district today?

1. The most important issue facing our school district today is funding. The state has cut funding to our schools and as taxpayers this affects not only our taxes, but the programs schools are able to offer to our students. We need to find ways to share services with our surrounding districts, as well as capitalize on teachers with dual certifications who can fill the many roles required.

2. Technology is ever evolving and changing the world, forcing our school has to keep up with the changes. Schools need to embrace the current technology advancements and capitalize on them with our students rather than fight them. Cell phones, AI and social media are not going away and our schools need to learn to teach with them in order ensure our students are ready for the world we live in.

3. Ensuring student safety is a massive challenge that all schools currently face. Schools must take measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for students, as well as stay in compliance with New Jersey's new mandated Threat Assessment Team requirement in every school building. Student safety does not end with their physical safety, but also addresses cyberbullying and mental health. After the school closures causes by Covid-19 many of our students are struggling with mental health, social anxiety and peer to peer interactions. School and communities must work together to ensure that our students are safe in every compasity possible.

Tell us about yourself and what experience do you have that would make you a good candidate for the School Board position?

I am a resident of Blairstown, NJ and live with my husband, two children and our fur babies. My son Jack is a current Junior who plays football and works at Wilson Family Farms. Addison, my daughter is currently a freshman who loves riding her horse and is assisting the field hockey team while recovering from an injury.

I am a high school special education teacher and teach freshman English at Morris Knolls High School. When I am not teaching you can find me coaching field hockey, spending time with our pets or cheering my children on at their sporting events.

I believe that my experiences in education along with being a parent helps me to understand the connection between our community and our schools. I understand the importance of student success, while balancing it with the needs of our families, funding and community.

What have you done to prepare to be a Board of Education member?

Previous to moving to Blairstown in 2020 I served on the Belvidere Board of Education for 6 years. While serving on the board I learned the importance of listening to the community and stakeholders to drive curriculum and financial decisions. I stay current with school law and academic rankings in the state of New Jersey. As an educator, I keep current with the newest curriculum and teaching strategies that our professionals should utilize to help our students.

What are the strengths and achievements of the School District and the community it serves?

Blairstown Elementary school has done a fantastic job offering different afterschool programs to our community's students. They utilize social media very well to advertise these programs, but I would like to see them add a cellphone app like North Warren Regional uses to keep parents and community members informed of other events. It was very nice to see the school donate a bench in memory K-9 Caster this year. Currently, Blairstown Elementary School maintains a 10:1 teacher to student ratio which is key in assisting to close the gap for our students with disabilities. Over 25% of Blairstown Elementary School Students have a disability that affects their learning, as reported by the NJDOE's 2021 school report card.