Four candidates are running for three seats on the Robbinsville Board of Education. Leslie Dee, Craig Heilman, Amman Seehra and Faith Silvestrov all hope to secure three-year terms on the school. Silvestrov is the lone incumbent running for re-election. Florence Gange and Vincent Costanza are leaving the board.

The Robbinsville Advance asked the candidates a bit about themselves and their positions. Their responses follow:

Leslie Dee

Age: 45

Occupation: Professional background is Human Resources Specialist. Most recently, a stay-at-home mom (widow).

Education: B.A. Seton Hall University, M.A. Steven’s Institute of Technology

Previous Elected Office: none

Community Involvement: Robbinsville K-8 PTA (VP of Ways and Means for 3 years, Chair of Assemblies for Students Committee for 5 years, Chair of Write-A-Check Campaign for 3 years), Robbinsville HS PTSA (PTSA President 2014-15, Co-Chair of Post Prom 2015, Chair of School Spirit 2011-2014), Robbinsville Education Foundation (Trustee from 2008-present, Co-Chair of Annual Casino Night, Founding member of Community Relations Committee and served until 2012), volunteer in youth program at Princeton Alliance Church from 2001-2015, coach of Girls on the Run 2012-2014

Connections to the school district: Jordan, my daughter, attended the Robbinsville School District from Kindergarten-12th grade and graduated in June 2015.

Why are you running for Robbinsville Board of Education?

My goal is to pay it forward by ensuring that current and future students have the same level of opportunities and experiences as my daughter.

What makes you qualified for a seat on the BOE? Why should voters choose you?

During my 13 years of service to the PTA, PTSA, Robbinsville Education Foundation and other service organizations, I have proven my dedication to our students. I would welcome the opportunity to continue my contributions to the remarkable spirit of our community and Robbinsville’s commitment to our children by serving on the Board of Education.

NerdWallet has named Robbinsville one of the best “school districts for your buck” in the state. Taxes were flat for the first time in recent memory. The district seems to be running well. But there’s always room for improvement. What is one issue you think the BOE should focus one more? Why?

We need to continue to explore alternate sources of revenue for the district. The challenge is keeping class sizes low while increasing the learning opportunities for students.

What is the most memorable experience of your education? How will it affect you on the BOE?

What I recall most is the quality of teachers that I encountered at South Brunswick High School, who were always willing to give of their own time, even missing lunch or staying after school to offer support. My daughter received the same dedication from her teachers in the Robbinsville School District. I would like to follow that example and offer my time for the benefit of Robbinsville students.

Craig Heilman

Age: 46

Occupation: Finance Manager

Education: MBA from Rider University, Bachelor’s from University of Pittsburgh

Previous Elected Office: None

Community Involvement: Planning Board, Environmental Committee, Recreation Committee, Treasurer and Coach in Robbinsville Soccer Association

Connections to the school district: My daughter and step-daughter are both in the 9th grade at RHS.

Why are you running for Robbinsville Board of Education?

I have dedicated countless hours to community organizations, events and township boards over the years. A seat on the school board is another opportunity for me to make Robbinsville even a better place to live. I want to play an active role in making our community a safer, better place to raise our children and build a future filled with unlimited promise.

What makes you qualified for a seat on the BOE? Why should voters choose you?

Simple answer is because I am running only because of my family, friends and to make our town a better place to live for us all. I have spoken with many of you, and I know what you want out of a school board: good schools, lower taxes and to be heard. It is possible to have all of these things. All it takes is the right people. Nobody will work harder for the people of Robbinsville than me.

NerdWallet has named Robbinsville one of the best “school districts for your buck” in the state. Taxes were flat for the first time in recent memory. The district seems to be running well. But there’s always room for improvement. What is one issue you think the BOE should focus one more? Why?

Keeping taxes flat in 2015 was a good thing for taxpayers. My goal would be to work hard to make sure this trend continues in future years. I have 23 years of finance experience. Building and breaking down budgets is what I do best. Once on the board, it will be my number one goal to work on the budget to make sure that the school board continues to hear our concerns about taxes.

What is the most memorable experience of your education? How will it affect you on the BOE?

I grew up in a small town that didn’t have a lot of money, so we weren’t afforded the same opportunities as other districts. When I went to college, it was clear that other kids were more prepared than me. Through hard work, I was able to get my degree and continue on to get an MBA. Looking back, I would never want my kids to struggle through that. With two kids in the district, I will work hard at making sure that all of our kids are prepared for the world when their education in Robbinsville is done.

Amman Seehra, Esq.

Age: 35

Occupation: Nonprofit Executive, Attorney, Assistant Professor, Senior Program Specialist

Education: Dual B.S. in Biology and Psychology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; J.D. from Rutgers School of Law

Previous Elected Office: None

Community Involvement: Founder and Chair of ONE Project; Speaker Bureau, Volunteer Attorney, and Law Enforcement Partnership Trainer for the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund; Co-Chair of the Mercer Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns; Administrator of the Jesse Guleria Scholarship Fund; Member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Young Professional Group; Member of the Trenton Prevention Policy Board’s Education Committee; Co-Vice President of the New Jersey Leadership Program; Trustee of the Central Jersey Sikh Association in Robbinsville

Connections to the school district: I have two children who will be going through the school system, including my son who will be entering Kindergarten next year.

Why are you running for Robbinsville Board of Education?

I am running to continue to make a difference in Robbinsville. I will utilize my education knowledge, experience in leadership roles, and my unique perspective working with community organizations to make sure that our children achieve excellence and build moral character. Additionally, I have demonstrated my commitment to making Robbinsville better by developing numerous community events that brings the best out of each one of us by focusing on what makes us great.

What makes you qualified for a seat on the BOE? Why should voters choose you?

I have dedicated my life to developing our youth. Working for Legal Services, I passionately provided free legal representation to hundreds of low-income families that could not afford an attorney. I am an expert in education law and have taught the subject through continuing legal education courses. Moreover, I have taught at Camden High School through the Marshall Brennan Fellowship Program and taught courses at Mercer County Community College for 10 years.

NerdWallet has named Robbinsville one of the best “school districts for your buck” in the state. Taxes were flat for the first time in recent memory. The district seems to be running well. But there’s always room for improvement. What is one issue you think the BOE should focus one more? Why?

Fostering greater collaboration with the public, superintendent and township is the key to continued success. Robbinsville has done a tremendous job, but to develop further we need to ensure that the BOE continues to communicate clearly and collaboratively with our partners. We must work together to fully understand upcoming obstacles and find the best ideas and solutions to overcome and build beyond those concerns.

What is the most memorable experience of your education? How will it affect you on the BOE?

Teaching at Camden High School was the most memorable experience of my education. Working every day with my students and learning about what makes each one of them special made me realize that my passion is in helping young students transition to responsible adults. I also realized that academics is only one part of the educational experience. Developing character and personal responsibility are just as important and critical for all our students.

Faith A. Silvestrov (incumbent)

Age: 62

Occupation: Registered Nurse

Education: Licensed Registered Nurse

Previous Elected Office: Robbinsville Board of Education

Community Involvement: Numerous committees and task forces

Connections to the school district: Three daughters (Jennifer, Christine, and Jacqueline) graduated from Robbinsville schools

Why are you running for Robbinsville Board of Education?

I am running for reelection to continue to promote a strong academic culture, with highly qualified teachers, in a safe environment, while being financially responsible to the taxpayers of Robbinsville Township. Robbinsville Township Board of Education has a long tradition of dedication to the students’ growth and welfare, and I have had the privilege of serving on the board for 24 years.

What makes you qualified for a seat on the BOE? Why should voters choose you?

The excellent school system in Robbinsville Township was developed by careful stewardship. I have the privilege of serving on the Board of Education and its committees for the past 24 years and playing a leading role in the development of its policies and growth. I sincerely believe that education of an individual is the key to success, and I feel today’s Robbinsville students are tomorrow’s leaders.

NerdWallet has named Robbinsville one of the best “school districts for your buck” in the state. Taxes were flat for the first time in recent memory. The district seems to be running well. But there’s always room for improvement. What is one issue you think the BOE should focus one more? Why?

I am proud that NerdWallet named Robbinsville schools as a “best school district for your buck.” We had a 98.2% proficiency rate of students who took the HSPA, which speaks volumes. The school district tax decreased, however, the board needs to look for more opportunities for additional revenue other than from taxpayers. Initiatives include revenue from Robbinsville Extended Day, activity fees, Energy Saving Improvement Plan, facility use, shared services and Kindergarten tuition for out of district students.

What is the most memorable experience of your education? How will it affect you on the BOE?

I am a registered nurse and making a difference in the lives of others has been a rewarding experience for me. Critical thinking and problem solving are essential for a positive outcome, and this skill is important to be an effective member of the Robbinsville Board of Education. We have the best school system in the state, and I would like to continue its success. I am passionate about everything that I do and firmly believe that education is the key to success.