Tell voters a little bit about your background and how it has prepared you to serve on the Board of Education.

Alpa Patel is a Jersey City Heights resident with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Master of Business Administration. She is the daughter of a former college professor in Gujarat, India and graduated from Christian Schools in New Jersey and North Carolina. Ms. Patel enjoys volunteering in the community. She volunteered at a homeless shelter, Hindu temple, and local events such as Earth Day cleanups and planting flowers to beautify Hudson County. Ms. Patel has been a Democratic County Committee Member since the June 2023 election and she very much enjoys serving the people of Jersey City and Hudson County. She helped initiate new pavements for roads in Jersey City Heights and County roads, installed new sidewalks in Hudson County, improved pedestrian and road safety, and more. She is a former Federal Government Employee of Food And Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency. 

What inspired you to run for election?

I read an advertisement in the Jersey Journal about the BOE Election and applied as an independent candidate in the beginning and then joined the Education Matters Team. I am very happy to be part of the Education Matters Team and my teammates and I look forward to serving the Jersey City Community to bridge the gaps between government agencies, non-profits, community, parents, students, schools, and Board of Education. My teammates and I have positive, different, and unique personalities and it is needed at the BOE to help bridge the gaps among the different groups of people within the Jersey City community. 

What would your priorities be during your term on the board?

Many parents and community members have expressed their three main priorities which are school safety, fixing or having new infrastructure, and improving the school curriculum in order to help students to become well-rounded, humble, and educated individuals. They want the students to become positive members of society. 

School taxes have gone up sharply over the last five years. What would you do to control school spending?

People who pay taxes always want their tax dollars to be spent wisely. It is very important that parents and the community get their return investment which is having high performing quality schools developing positive, well-rounded, and humble students in society. People want students to succeed because it creates a successful community.

The graduation rate is low. What do you think can be done to improve it?

It is very important for the parents, community, schools, and the government to work together in addressing each of the specific schools’ concerns and work towards developing plans to resolve those issues. All schools need to be evaluated individually in order to come with specific solutions. It requires a team effort on all groups of the community.

Ryan Kilkenny was born and raised in New York. He graduated with a BS from Tulane University and a JD from Rutgers Law School. Ryan worked as an attorney for almost two years before switching careers and...