With a vacancy on the South Brunswick Board of Education, the Board turned to a familiar face to fill the seat. Former President Martin Abschutz was selected to serve the remaining seven months of Elizabeth Chang's unexpired term.
Abschutz, who served on the Board of Education from 2002 to 2011, previously served as BOE President and Vice President.
"I am a strong believer in public education," Abschutz said. "I worked on the Board with seven of the nine sitting members; they know me. I think that my previous experience will be a plus. I have continued to be involved in public school issues through my membership on the New Jersey School Boards Association Ad-hoc Finance Committee."
Chang, a college student who resigned from the board on April 16, said that with a change in the law that extended the term of this year’s Board of Education members through the end of 2012, it would not be possible for her to serve the full term due to time constraints. Had the election date not changed, Chang's term would have ended in April and she was not seeking re-election.
After Chang's resignation, the BOE put out a call for applications from anyone seeking to fill the vacancy. Six candidates applied for the spot, which was subsequently whittled down to three finalists. Abschutz, Raymond Kuehner, and Azra Baig participated in public interviews on Monday prior to the Board of Education meeting. The board then selected Abschutz during an executive session following the meeting.
Abschutz will serve for the remainder of 2012 until the Board reorganizes in January, but will not seek re-election for the seat in November. The seats of current Board President Stephen Parker and Barry Nathanson will also be up for election.
"One of the things I made crystal clear in my application and subsequent interview is that I have no interest in seeking a full term," he said.
The Board of Education will officially nominate Abschutz at the next meeting on May 21. With the unexpired term only lasting for the remainder of the year, Abschutz said with his prior experience there would be no learning curve or additional training needed.
"My priority is to be a member of the Board team in continuing the great work it has been doing since I left the Board, last year," he added.