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BOE Candidate Profile: Stephanie Rivera

Rutgers Student Studying Education Lives on Hamilton St. and Mentors Kids at NBHS
Stephanie Rivera
Stephanie Rivera speaks about community involvement at Tuesday's open forum featuring all six Board of Education candidates. Molly O'Brien

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Stephanie Rivera, current student at Rutgers University, is running for a position on New Brunswick’s School Board Education.

Rivera, along with two others, are striving to change the way New Brunswick's Board of Education handles New Brunswick schools and the community.

Rivera is running on a ticket with Sean Monohan and Martin Arocho. Their website is www.nbschoolboard.org. Rivera also encouraged those who want to learn more to check out their updates and pictures on Facebook.

“I would not be running for this position if I did not believe I was qualified for the job,” writes Rivera in a recent blog post. “There are already enough politicians with no real understanding of what school need doing that already.”

Rivera studies Education and Education Policy. She will be attending Rutgers Graduate School of Education next year.

Rivera is a cofounder of Students United for Public Education. She is also the founder and current president of Rutgers’ Future Teachers Association.

Diane Ratvich, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, recognized Stephanie Rivera as an individual with “strong values… she has guts, and she is articulate… I would vote for Stephanie if I lived in her town."

“There is no set age at where we can begin making solid, positive changes in our communities, and in this world,” says Rivera in an online web post.

“We must dismantle society’s established norms, or they will dismantle us.”

In addition to her time spent studying education policy, Rivera spends two hours a week mentoring children in New Brunswick through Rutgers Future Scholars.

On Tuesday’s Bilingual Forum held by Unity Square, Rivera said she sees the “impact of gang violence and poverty,” and that she “wants to fight for them, and for the parents."

Rivera says the close interactions between her and the students on a regular basis “is one of the main reasons why [she is] pursuing this position on the school board.”

“I think we can’t look at urban districts in comparison with any other district. They are very unique.”

“I have a strong passion for students in urban districts,” explains Rivera.

She believes that working with New Brunswick children has given her a “unique perspective.”

“I will always put them first.”

One of Stephanie Rivera’s main concerns is including the community in building a child’s success.

Rivera strives to use creative methods on how to “connect the classroom experience to outside the classroom.” She explains that a child’s sense of “motivation is critical.”

As for parental involvement in PTA/PTO meetings, Rivera says, “We need to make more available times so that all parents, all community members, are able to voice their opinion.”

Rivera states, “All community concerns are critical when we make decisions regarding our schools and our children.”

“Quality education should not depend on luck.”

Read Unity Square's Blogspot Interview with Stephanie Rivera. Lees en español.

Polls are open today from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.  Please visit NewBrunswickToday.com for up-to-date election results this evening.