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School Board Picks Potosnak To Fill Vacant Seat For Remainder Of Year

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Edward Potosnak III was selected April 25 to fill a vacated Board of Education seat.

It took the Board of Education president to change her vote, but Home Street resident Edward Potosnak III was selected to fill the board’s vacant seat at an April 25 special meeting.

Potosnak, who is also an alternate member of the township Planning Board, was one of six candidates vying for the seat vacated earlier this year by Robert Trautmann.

“I’m looking forward to being on the school board,” Potosnak said after the meeting. “With the educational experience that I have and the challenges the board faces, we’ll be able to work together to get good things done.”

Potosnak is executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters in Trenton. He’s also a part-time lecturer in Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education’s chemistry department, and runs a home remodeling business. He was a chemistry teacher in Bridgewater-Raritan High School from 1999 to 2007.

During the meeting, the seven board members in attendance – member Keisha Smith-Carrington was absent – asked each of the candidates one question, after which the candidates were given time for their own statements.

In answering the questions posed to him, Potosnak said that he wanted to be on the board because he is “interested in serving with you so that together we can make sure the students in Franklin have the keys they need for success.”

“I want to work with people to find solutions,” he added.

Potosnak said one thing he’d like to do is partner with area colleges and universities to bring college courses into the high school. He said this would give college-bound students an advantage when they move on because they’d already have some college credits.

Each board member was then asked for their top three candidates, from which the two candidates getting the most votes were selected.

That resulted in finalists being Margaret Drive resident Alex Kharazi and a tie between Potosnak and Weston Road resident John B. Kinghorn. Another vote by the board resulted in Potosnak being selected as the second finalist.

That’s where things got difficult. The board needed five votes to appoint the new member; the first vote was split 4-3, with Potosnak garnering the most votes, those of board members Delvin Burton, Christine Danielsen, Nancy LaCorte and Richard Arline.

After each board member explained why they supported their choice, a second vote was taken, with the same result.

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Edward Potosnak, left, and Alex Kharazi wait to hear their fate at the April 25 Board of Education meeting.

That’s when board president Julia Presley switched her vote from Kharazi to Potosnak.

“Because I am the board president, and I believe that both of you bring a great deal of experience to the board, and no one up here is going to change their vote, I’m going to switch my vote to Mr. Potosnak,” Presley said.

Presley earlier said that she supported Kharazi because of his “passion for children” and because he is a “very strong community member.” But, she said, she ale “has a passion for Potosnak,” but she “felt more strongly for what Mr. Kharazi brings to the table.”

Potosnak will hold the seat for the rest of this year. He’ll have to run for the board in November if he wishes to continue to serve.

 

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