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Danish Mirza — 2022 Candidate for the Montgomery Township School Board

Posted September 7, 2022


Two incumbents and eight new candidates will be competing for the three seats on the Montgomery Township Board of Education in the upcoming November 8 election.


New candidates Mohammed Fahd Ansari of Belle Mead; Michelle Dowling of Skillman; Danish Mirza of Belle Mead; Joanna Filak of Skillman; Ania Wolecka-Jernigan of Belle Mead; Douglas Herring of Skillman; Craig Rothenberg of Belle Mead; and John A. Sangiovanni, III of Skillman, along with incumbents Phyllis Bursh of Belle Mead and Richard Specht of Belle Mead, each filed to run for three-year terms with the Somerset County Clerk’s Office.

Danish Mirza, Belle Mead

( Campaign slogan is "Champions for Students." She is running on a slate with Mohammed Fahd Ansair of Belle Mead and Michelle Dowling of Skillman.)


Career:

Technologist, Infrastructure Engineer.


Spouse:

Hina Mirza.


Children:

Mirza Ayaan Baig, 17, and Anam Baig, 14.


What do you consider to be the three most important challenges facing the Montgomery school district at this time? Briefly how would you address these issues?

Answer:

We believe that practicing clear, honest, and direct communication is at the heart of an effective school system. If elected, we would prioritize putting structures in place to ensure a trusting community that communicates well. Examples may include weekly newsletters explicitly explaining the lesson plans and inviting parents to information sessions to learn more about the curriculum and how it is being taught.


Families and the schools need to work in partnership in order to fully understand the purpose of the inclusive health curriculum and how it is being taught in each classroom. Students need to be strongly supported with expert and trained support staff such as counselors, advisors, and psychologists to ensure each student is thriving academically, socially, and emotionally.


What professional and personal experiences have prepared you for serving on the board?

Answer:

I have served as a vice principal for a Sunday school in which I was responsible for school curriculum and administration.


Why are you running for the Board?

Answer:

I am running to serve our community with honesty and integrity.


The success of Montgomery Schools impacts everyone in Montgomery and Rocky Hill, whether they have student enrolled in the district, have a home whose values are impacted, or both. What role should a community play in forming policy and monitoring the school district? Is the school structure adequate? If not, what do you propose to improve transparency and community involvement?

Answer:

Communication, transparency, and feedback will be my top priorities. A few ways to improve communication and transparency is to leverage technology to help interact with the community: Live online town halls, accept questions in advance from the community online, provide Google forms to provide feedback, report back on common themes and questions. This will help the community engage better.


Where do you stand on the new Health Curriculum Standards?

Answer:

Schools and families need to work in partnership to ensure the most supportive and developmentally appropriate experiences for our children. We believe schools play an important role in educating our children about how to stay safe and healthy. The key factor is also educating parents early and often about what is being taught and how they can partner with the schools to ensure a clear and consistent message. As a team, we support diversity and inclusion efforts that make every student feel comfortable at school. Having said that, it is critical for the administration and board to ensure that there are clear parameters and evaluation methods to ensure the curriculum is being taught in an age-appropriate manner.


Montgomery is an inclusive community and we are fortunate to be able to listen and learn from one another to enrich our own beliefs and embrace different perspectives. We will be committed to engaging with various stakeholders to strive towards building a framework where people feel their voices have been heard and we will find ways to build trust with each other in this domain. ■


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