HOBOKEN MATTERS: Board of Education Candidate Tom Kluepfel

It is election season again and there are several seats up for grabs in Hoboken's Board of Education. These individuals play a crucial role in the growth and success of our school system and as a thriving and growing school district, this election is a very important one!

To gain a better understanding of the candidates, LH contacted each one and sent the exact same questions.The responses are 100% unedited & unchanged in any way. Ailene McGuirk and Patricia Waiters are running as independents, while Tom Kluepfel, John Madigan and Malani Cademartori are running as a slate.

Please note: Candidate Patricia Waiters declined to participate despite several attempts.

Order of listing does not reflect any endorsement or preference.

This is a non-sponsored post, and serves informational purposes only.

For more information on any candidate or slate, please click the top photo to visit their

website and/or FB pages. To read responses from another candidate, please click on

their photo at the bottom of this post.

Election Day is TUESDAY NOV 6th



How long have you lived in Hoboken, and do you have children in the Hoboken Public School system?

My wife and I have lived in Hoboken for 38 years. We have two grown children; our daughter graduated from Hoboken High School, Class of 2014.

Hoboken Public schools are a controversial topic, with many transient Hoboken residents citing the schools as reason for moving to suburbia. What do you think is the biggest misconception about our schools, and what would you like the community to know?

Our district schools are safe, nurturing environments offering progressive, innovative programs taught by amazing educators who will know you and your child well. There are plenty of reasons one might opt for suburbia over Hoboken, but our schools shouldn't be one of them.

What motivates you to become a member of the BOE, and what is your experience in public education?

Quality public education is our society's greatest asset, providing equal opportunity to all children. That is what led me to become involved as a co-founder of Elysian Charter School back in mid-1990s, and what motivated me to take a bigger step and seek election to the Hoboken Board of Education. I was elected to the board in 2012, and have served two three-years terms since. My wife is also an educator at a local charter school; through her, I also gain insight into the challenges teachers face.

As a member of the BOE, do you see yourself as a representative of the community or of the school system? What does that mean to you?

It's both. The job of a board member is to work to improve student achievement while being responsible to the taxpayers. We also have the responsibility to advocate on behalf of the children of the district.

What do you think is the school system's greatest challenges right now, and what are your plans to address this?

Improving student achievement is always a priority, and the board must continue to maintain the progress by supporting innovative programming and adequate budgets. And space is getting tight; the board must anticipate and plan for increasing student enrollment.

One of the most common comments/questions we hear about the school district is, "The elementary schools have improved, but I don't know if I want my child staying in the public district for middle or high school." What is your response to this?

I would urge people to visit those schools. They would come away with a very different opinion.

What is your view of the relationship between the BOE and the superintendent of schools? What is your ideal relationship between the two offices, and how will you work to achieve that?

The relationship is similar to that between a corporate board and its CEO. The BOE hires the superintendent to implement its goals and policies, and supports the superintendent's decisions — educational programs, personnel decisions, budgets — that successfully work toward increasing student achievement. By state law, the superintendent is subject to an annual evaluation by the board of the progress made towards achieving the board's goals. The ideal relationship is productive and trustful.

If a parent, teacher, principal or even a student comes to you with an issue, suggestion or complaint, what do you see as your role in addressing this?

The protocol for such things is defined by the New Jersey Board of Education Code of Ethics, state regulations, and by board policy. Issues or complaints from parents to board members must be promptly referred to the superintendent. Teachers and principals know not to approach board members with such matters — teachers take issues to their principal, principals go to the superintendent.

What is your philosophy of special education and how will you support the needs of special needs children?

It is the board's responsibility to provide each of its students with the programs and resources they need to reach their fullest potential. It's as simple as that.

Let's end on a fun note- when you aren't campaigning and have some down time, where do you like to go in Hoboken?

Long walks are my thing. I figured out a 5-mile circuit that takes me up and down the waterfront and through the parks and piers along the way.


Read responses from other BOE candidates

Please Note: Patricia Waiters declined to participate in this questionnaire