The second new board of education member to take his seat in as many months has officially settled into his new role.
John Ebanietti, a longtime township resident, attended his first three board meetings as a member this January. Last year, Ebanietti ran unopposed for one of three open seats on the board, replacing retiring board member Candace Larson. John Dolan and Christine Davis were reelected to their seats in November’s election.
“I was actually at my older daughter’s senior prom picture party last June when I decided to run [for a seat on the Mahwah board of education],” Ebanietti said. “I looked around, and just realized what a great education my daughter had gotten, she was off to a great school, and I sort of just had this epiphany that it was time for me to give back to the district.”
Ebanietti, who grew up in Pearl River, N.Y., and has lived in Mahwah for 23 years, said his family has emotional ties to the district and the community. His wife, Lori, who is now an eighth grade teacher in Wyckoff, taught at Betsy Ross. And his two daughters, Arielle and Blaise – now a freshman at Northeastern and a junior at Mahwah High School – originally attended a private school in New York.
“It was a great school, but socially and culturally, it was sterile. So, when Arielle was in second grade we took them out, and they switched over to Mahwah schools. It was such a good decision, and I think they are great products of a fantastic school system. I’m really proud of that,” he said.
The family has also been very involved with the Mahwah Raiders and rec youth sports leagues in town.
Ebanietti, who works in wealth management at the World Bank of Canada, said he is excited to take on new challenges facing the board of education in 2013.
“Finding a superintendent is definitely significant,” he said. The board this month has been interviewing candidates to permanently take over for interim Dr. Karen Lake, who is completing her second and final year with the district. Lake took over for Dr. Charles Montesano, who retired in 2011.
“I also think new technology initiatives, continuing to increase testing excellence, and working on some new facilities projects at the schools will all be important this year,” Ebanietti said.
Most of all, the newest board member said he is excited to work with the seven veteran members of the board, and the other new member, resident Rick DeSilva, who was appointed to his seat in November after board member Ken Angelo resigned.
“I think we are all on the same page in terms of what our main focus is for the kids in Mahwah,” Ebanietti said of working with the other board members. “When you do something like this as a volunteer, you can be pretty sure you are working with the best people. You know they are there because they care.”