Jess Drass for Haddonfield, NJ Board of Education
Why I'm Running...
I am pretty much obsessed with school and learning new things, and have always been involved in education in some way throughout my life. It was incredible growing up with a first grade teacher as a mom. And not just any first grade teacher, but one who infused her creativity, passion, and excitement for learning into everything she did. From as far back as I can remember, I idolized my mom, Susan, and wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I treasured our special trips to Roberts Brothers, the teacher supply store in Pennsauken, where walking down the aisles felt like magic and uncovering secrets of the trade.
Even though her formal position as a public school teacher ended when I was born in 1980, her role and influence as a teacher lasted a lifetime. At that point the entire world became her classroom. Susan never let an opportunity go by to catch a “teaching moment.” From a very young age she taught me about the work it took “behind the scenes” to be a teacher…from lesson plans to bulletin boards to planning field trips or managing behavior…but most importantly how to motivate your students by treating them with love and respect, no matter who they are, what they look like, how they learn, or what part of town they are from. This training laid the foundation for when I had my own classroom nearly 20 years later, teaching art for 7 years at Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich Twp, NJ.
A Tribute to Mom...
Our mother was a constant fixture in our schools growing up, not only to support and advocate for her 4 children, but also as a Room Parent, PTA member, and eventually back as a teacher in Evesham Township. She treated every child like they were special, came up with the greatest crafts and activities for our school parties, and always helped us with our projects. My Mom even got a chance to be a Room Parent for my son CJ, filling in for me at his kindergarten Valentine's Party at Tatem.
Unfortunately, after battling many health issues over the years, my mom passed away in April of 2023. So when I was approached a month later by a fellow Haddonfield mom asking if I wanted to run for BOE, my immediate response was, “no, now’s not a good time.”
But as I thought about it, I realized the best way to honor my mom was to throw my hat in the ring. My mom was a lifelong advocate for children and a champion for public schools. She fought for equity and inclusion and focusing on what's best for the child. Because of her passion I developed a for love school and have always been involved in education throughout my life. I have been a high school teacher and have a degree in School Psychology. I am a professor training future educators at the University of the Arts and a Trauma Specialist stationed at a K-8 public school in North Philly through Temple University’s Philadelphia Healthy and Safe Schools program (PHASeS). I am also a grassroots organizer, both on the national and local level. I have studied how local school boards have been attacked in recent years and decided it was time for me to get involved.
I am running for a 3-year term for the Haddonfield, NJ Board of Education to continue my mom's life work of advocating for public schools. It would be an honor to be able to serve my community in memory of my mom, Susan Masino.
Haddonfield Civic Association Candidate Forum
Wednesday, Oct 25th, 7-8:45pm
This is an online forum. Please sign up below to receive a link to the webinar.
Thanks to everyone who came out to the Candidate Meet & Greet hosted by the Haddonfield BOE on October 11th at Kings Road Brewing Company!
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