After a string of public interviews, the Mahwah Board of Education whittled six candidates for an open spot on the board down to one. Local business owner, longtime township resident and Mahwah High School graduate Rick DeSilva, Jr. was appointed to a vacant seat on the school board Wednesday night.
DeSilva helps operate the Liberty car dealerships, a family-owned business. He manages Liberty Subaru in Emerson while his brother manages Liberty Hyundai in Mahwah.
As a nearly lifelong resident, DeSilva is no stranger to the district. His father, Rick Sr., served on the township’s Board of Education from 1995-2002. DeSilva is also a 1993 graduate of MHS.
But, DeSilva said during his interview with the board Wednesday night that his three daughters – a second grader and twin Kindergarteners – are part of what prompted him to apply for the position.
“I have a long-term vested interest in this district,” he told the board. “As a product of the Mahwah school system, I know how much better prepared for college and the work world I was,” he said. “I want to help perpetuate that level of excellence.”
DeSilva also said his professional experience managing employees, making personnel decisions and balancing budgets made him a good candidate for the job.
Five other residents – Daniel Kennedy, David May, Mary Weyant, Prema Moorthy, and Sondra Minuskin – also applied for the position, which by Ken Angelo vacated earlier this year. After 10 years on the board, Angelo resigned citing professional time commitment conflicts.
Board president Tricia Shada said all of the candidates gave good interviews.
“We had a hard time [deciding]” Shada said. “We appreciate all of the candidates coming.”
DeSilva will serve the remainder of Angelo’s term, which is up in December 2013.