My name is Juan Silva; I was born in Riobamba, Ecuador and I am 27 years old. Our family came to the United States when I was 3 ½ years old and has been living in Newark, NJ since 1991. I attended Oliver St. School and graduated from Science High School in 2006. I had the opportunity to study Civil Engineering at NJIT and Business Management while attending. I am currently working with Solar Technology and Urban Farming here in the Garden State with some of my work present throughout our city of Newark. In 2014 I also had the opportunity to be the Campaign Manager for the East Ward Candidate seat here in Newark. I have 3 younger siblings that have also had the opportunity to be educated by our City; currently the youngest 2 attend our local’s schools.
Based on your qualifications and experience, what makes you a suitable candidate to serve on the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board?
Having lived in Newark and attended Newark Public Schools from Pre-k through 12th grade, I have lived firsthand through the negligence of our past Board members and currently my siblings through these deteriorating buildings and collapsing infrastructure. Since graduation I have worked with Senior Citizens, Solar Technology and Green Urban Farming programs. During which I have had the opportunity to plan the All-American Soapbox Derby in Newark and ‘Slide the City’ here in Newark. Two events which engage all Newark Students and their families for participation and information to work on better their personal lives.
What are your reasons for running?
There is a huge disconnect between parents and all the elected officials in office now. With parents working more hours per week than ever before, they are leaving a void in time with their children. Hence allowing for others to raise their kids for them. The streets are not the only ones raising our children; we have as much to blame our politicians for the failed results as we do ‘the streets.’ Our local politicians from the Local level to the State level have failed us; the cost of living continues to rise while salaries are at a standstill. We a minute amount of elected officials address this issue that leads to everything else that is going wrong in our community.
Are you running with an organizational slate? If so, please provide information about your platform.
No I am not running with a slate at this moment.
What are your priorities for the district in the coming year?
Work immediately on raising our High School students graduation rate and College bound rate. We also need to work on improving the available after school activities throughout the City. Work on partnering with outside school districts to gain new perspectives of education with teachers, parents, and students.
What attributes and qualifications do you consider essential for effective school board members?
A key attribute for members should be the ability to fund raise and grow new ideas. They should be able to raise revenue for our schools through direct involvement and planning with Principals and Teachers. This is ideal for our School Systems survival and the continued growth of our communities. Between all 9 current board members, there should be a Million or Billion Dollar a year idea being produced to help cover the annual deficit our state and failed local leadership has put us in.
The Newark School Board should be comprised of individuals that have an understanding that change comes every year, new problems and new solutions will emerge but they must have a personal vision of the future that includes new technologies, new ideas to raise salaries of parents, along with the continued education of all community residents.