Hackettstown Board of Education candidates

I understand mail-in ballots are coming soon and wanted to share some information about your candidates for the Board of Education.

My name is Jami Cavanagh. I have served on the BOE for 1 term (closing in on 3-years) and, unfortunately, I missed the deadline to turn in my petition. I thought it was on a Tuesday, but it was on a Monday. I had a lot of time to turn it in, but kept telling myself, I have enough time.. Until it was too late. I was literally about to leave for the courthouse to turn it in when I realized I missed it by 14 hours. I messed up and have been beating myself up over it. (I'm happy to take any criticism there, but know there's nothing you can say that I haven't already yelled at myself for)!

Since I've been on the board, I hope you will see a track-record of being a good fiduciary for the community. We started a community relations committee to open up a free-flow conversation with the school administration and different stakeholders.. Thank you to the community, we were able to pass a ballot question that allowed us to make very important structural upgrades at the schools.

We've done a lot and that is not a credit to me, but to your board as a whole.

I've learned a lot throughout my term and would appreciate you considering WRITING ME in for the open seat on the ballot on November 2. I have enjoyed serving the community in this way and hope that I will have the opportunity to continue serving.

Good news is that you also have some other great candidates running, including:

- Shawn Burke (on the ballot)
- Amy Cochran (on the ballot)
- Christine Strelec (also running as a write in)

You've got options!

I would be happy to share my viewpoint and voting record with you if there are any questions. I truly appreciate your consideration.

Jami Cavanagh Jami Cavanagh
4 weeks ago

How many terms were you on the Board?

In 3 years, prepare (way) in advance!

Good luck.

MansfieldVillager MansfieldVillager
3 weeks ago

What does done a lot mean?

What are some specific examples?


What is your stance on masking our youth?

What is your position on Critical Race Theory being taught in our schools?

1- mask mandates come from the state, not the BOE. When we had the choice, the board made it optional.

2- I have served for almost 3 years.

3 - critical race theory is a fun media hype item. It’s not taught in our schools and is not part of the NJDOE standards. It’s mentioned in one HS class.

4- examples of “done a lot” outside of the ones that I mentioned above. The board and admin in the last 3 years: learning cottages at both elementary schools, preschool program open to community, AC at middle school, security upgrades, tech upgrades, the school is now 1-1 so every kid has a computer. Etc etc

Jami cavanagh Jami cavanagh
3 weeks ago

You gave the board's view on masking.
Curious about your personal stance on masking as it does relate to all childrens' health as well as the staff of the schools. Of course all of the family members of the district as well.
School being a society, personal choice affects all in that society. Unless someone has some sort of special nose and mouth that prohibits the spread of germs. It's clear from the southern states that masking can reduce transmission. While comparing the schools that were option vs. mandate.
I understand that the state mandated it yet the board would have chosen optional.
Since the rate of transmission is ever changing and we are currently at a high rate. Was the board's feeling on optional determined at a time where we were at a lower rate of transmission earlier in the summer? Would the board change it's stance based on current rates being high?
Would the concern for immunocompromised members of the school society then be considered?

Thank you for your answer regarding CRT and for those that asked the question.
Glad to hear a clear minded answer. Media hype is right.
Thank you.

Jami, your list of accomplishments is not 100% truthful. You state “air conditioning at the middle school”, yet that is not the case. There are multiple classrooms that will not be getting air conditioning. Not that it won’t be delivered, but that will not be getting it at all. Period. So, a more correct statement might be “air conditioning in parts of the middle school”.

Additionally, you’ve mentioned security upgrades. These are physical security upgrades we see, but isn’t it true that security staffing within the schools has been reduced?

SilentBob SilentBob
3 weeks ago

Re masks: my vote would be to mandate masks yes. Not all masks are created equal though and not all kids wear them properly. We have been in school a few weeks and my kids are already sick. Not covid, but it’s not like masks, especially the kinds that kids wear, are completely effective. In fact, most of the masks for kids say on the packaging “not intended to stop the spread of a virus”

The best masks are N95 masks.




Re ac at the middle school. Ac in all classrooms that are not on the ground floor..

Re security- for context, I spearheaded the community’s outrage for there not being any security at the middle and elementary schools 4 years ago. After advocating for that, rallying community support via petitions and speaking at meetings, the security guards were brought back in all the schools.

I am not aware of cutting down on security staff presence, nor have I seen that to be the case in any of the 3 schools that my children attend.

Jami cavanagh Jami cavanagh
3 weeks ago

Also re masks, because this is such a hot topic, I want to clarify that I don’t have a medical background and like almost everyone else, I haven’t lived through a pandemic before.

I was just at a conference with Scott Gottlieb and he told a funny story about how we ended up at the 6ft rule.

CDC wanted 10 feet. White House wanted 3 . They compromised at 6…

There are steps that we can all take right now and masks are one of them.

Even the medical experts won’t claim to have all the answers but I would hope that everyone can stand to be bothered as we try to contain and slow the spread. This isn’t forever and if you look at this through your own lens, you’re being selfish. We all need to do what we can for the greater whole.

Jami cavanagh Jami cavanagh
3 weeks ago

Thank you, Jami
Appreciate your response.

Jami, it’s a shame that the district is again choosing to ignore those classrooms. They were also ignored when the district put fans in every other classroom last year. Isn’t that where the majority of the electives are - art, world language, band, chorus - as well as some of the CST/speech type services? Since every kid is going to have electives, these ground floor classrooms have the greatest amount of mixing from different homerooms than any other rooms in the building except for lunch and gym. If anything, these should have been the first classrooms to get some air ventilation equipment, but yet they have nothing. That’s not an accomplishment to be proud of. I encourage you and other candidates to consider and look into that.

As for security, in my visits to the school, I remember always seeing two at the MS and now I’ve never seen more than one and that was the gist of what I obtained with a conversation.

SilentBob SilentBob
3 weeks ago

And I do appreciate you taking time to answer our questions and speak here. I know I’m a gruff individual, but it comes from a place of wanting what’s best!

SilentBob SilentBob
3 weeks ago

As a current member of the board who sparked 'outrage' about security in the past as per your own words, that is quite an embarrassment for you not to know security was cut at the elementarys and MS thiis year to only one at a time. Wouldn't you have voted on that?
As a parent, I know this because I asked why there was no security guard in the front office and was told there is only one each day and she was in the cafeteria for lunch or recess.

And I've watched the BOE meetings and the other write in is a clear anti mask nutcase. Shame because she has done well with the PTA.

I didn’t say I sparked outrage, I said I spearheaded the community’s outrage to get the security guards back.. there were NONE at the elementary/middle schools.

What school are you talking about? I see 2 at willow and hatch every morning.. ?

Jami cavanagh Jami cavanagh
3 weeks ago

Ew David. Don’t have to be so McNasty who is so brave to post under your real name..

“It seems like you are still trying to stay on the BOE” obviously as I said in my post..

And if you actually watched or went to board meetings you would know I’m not a lackey for mango… but let me guess, you’re probably not even a Hackettstown resident and your biggest criticism of Mango is his wardrobe?? He’s actually done some great things for the schools and successfully navigated us through a pandemic.

And seriously about Mrs. Griffin!?!? Age discriminate much??? How proper of you. She’s a wonderful principal and positive influence on the kids in her school. She goes out of her way for almost every single student to make them feel welcomed and supported. She stands out in the rain at arrival to welcome as many students as she can every day. She volunteers hours with HFEE and many other things.

This isn’t a violation of NJ ELEC, but if you feel it is, you should report it to them. I’ll make it easy, here’s their link: https://www.elec.state.nj.us/

Jami cavanagh Jami cavanagh
3 weeks ago


Marie Griffin is a fossil who was demoted from the middle school to elementary school to get her out. She has a big pension and should just go already, so a younger and more energetic principal can take over.

You came on the board to get rid of Mango and he is still there and you approved a new contract under year watch. So much for being a critic of you. Gus Bordi should have stayed on the board.

I have lived in Hackettstown for forty years and will NOT vote for you. This was sent to Mango and to NJ ELEC as I filed an ethics complaint against you. Cannot wait for you to get off the board as you cannot speak respectfully to constituents such as myself and are a typical politician - talking a good game about changes until you get elected and do not do a damn thing you promised.

Plus scary you were making decisions for my grandkids who live in town when you do not even know election law to know about Civics to get on a ballot again.

Go away and cannot wait for someone to get on the board to hold administrators in this town accountable.

3 weeks ago

And there's the typical HL keyboard warrior hiding behind their fake name and fake email. Jami don't even bother with people like this. They act tough, make threats and do nothing.

I Had Jami not started this thread I’d be in agreement with Jim L but, she did.

3 weeks ago

Jami started this thread to get her name out there as a write-in. Most people don't bother to learn the candidates before going to the polls and if they only see 2 names then that is all they bother voting for. There is nothing wrong with her starting this thread to let people know to write her in and she owned up to her mistake on the deadline.

Still doesn't mean she has to get personally attacked by cowards that hide behind their fake names and fake email addresses.

Why don't you run for the board? You seem to have all the answers.
Maybe you're a fossil too given the info you've provided.

Mrs. Griffin is VERY energetic and has been great with the kids.

JL. Cowards also write critical emails when they lack guts, right?

Jim KIng
3 weeks ago

I don’t know about that. If I were running for a public position and posted about it on a public forum, I would fully expect this exact outcome. Not saying I condone what was written (not my style, personally) but I certainly wouldn’t try to be the white knight coming to rescue her. The internet is a tough place. Full of cowards and A-holes. Knowing that, I’m not surprised by this outcome. No one should be.

3 weeks ago

Sorry JIm King are you trying to take a shot at me? Lol I’m not that concerned what some boomer in independence thinks of me.

And not trying to be a white knight consigliere. If people want to attack Jami’s voting record or performance go for it I’m sure she can handle it. But personal cheap shots from from people hiding behind fake names and fake emails is weak.

Serving on the Board of Education myself your comments to Jami are so uncalled for and ridiculous. Do you realize how much of our time we give to the residents of this town ? Everyone on this Board gives 100 percent and makes the best decisions they can with the circumstances and the information we are given. We are all volunteers. Let me ask you a question. How would you have handled all of the covid issues while trying to education our children? Jami is a GREAT Board Member and everyone in this town should be thankful and write her in again for another 3 year term!

shots at you? independence boomer? are you reading this thread?

Jim KIng
3 weeks ago

Lets play nice Kids

Remember that its all about our students

NOT the adults

Hotdogchili Hotdogchili
3 weeks ago

Cmon stop throwing stones at the electoral elite. Last time I checked the ballot there isn’t anyone running against any of the clowns in local office. Lambo has no contest as does the entire board. Clearly no one else wants the job.

Yikes, I just got my mail in ballot. Your right Steve no one is running against these clowns. Geez no contest here.

So, all of this righteous criticism, and no one else steps up?

Best not to check the box at all if you don’t like the candidate even if no one else is running

"So, all of this righteous criticism, and no one else steps up?"

yup stymie, that's the HL way. act tough on the internet behind their fake names but don't actually go to meetings, speak up, or even run for office.

one day pam and/or her husband will run for office and save the town from all us clowns, LMAO.

Hard to chime in here. Probably best to avoid the blather. In this case, I was Board of Ed member for a dozen years, two different Boards, member of the State Board, as well as numerous committees. The only point I make is that it is a hard job, not like being a youth sport coach where the parents love you if you win. A hard job. If you do it correctly you spend most of your first term with your mouth shut, listening and learning. There is much to learn. You also have to pick up on the politics of your local Board, who to listen to that has some knowledge, amd who, you realize, the other members listen to because they have that same knowledge.

That said, the system is flawed. The Boards themselves have only one mission: to make, approve, and implement policy (which emanates from the State). They mostly follow the directions of the administration as they are not allowed to become involved in the actual workings of the school. That coupled with the fact that hardly anyone is interested in the amount of work involved, results in uncontested elections. Complaints about the system are well justified, attacking individual Board members is not.


New2this New2this
2 weeks ago

New2– no one has the vaguest idea of the time commitment required to serve on a board/committee or advisory panel and do it properly.
Meetings-phone conversations- texts-faxes.
Read them all and DIGEST the information.
So much more than showing up at an occasional meeting and answering the same questions over and over and over from people that choose to show up at a meeting maybe once every 3 years.

Jim L and Jamie...... I'm not in politics in any way and never will be. I agree and disagree with decisions that the TC and the BOE make at different times but I always respect the people who sit in those seats as I can only imagine how difficult it is to make some decisions.......As far as Pampurr goes, she has always been a negative person on this forum for many years and you have to just disregard whatever she says because obviously, she is just a person who dislikes everything that goes on. I believe one of the words that can be used for her is malcontent!

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