Hi, I'm Jackie. I am a mother of four boys. My three oldest boys graduated from Nutswamp, Thompson & South. My youngest son is currently a sophomore at South, who attended Nutswamp, Village, Thompson & Bayshore.
Together with my husband Dominic, we moved to Middletown 23 years ago from New York City, very specifically because we wanted our children to have space to run and play, an excellent school system, and a tight knit community.
My education started at Notre Dame Academy in Staten Island, New York. I graduated from New York University with a B.A. and completed my Master of Arts degree there as well, while working full time at Simon & Schuster. After graduation, I was awarded an apprenticeship with Alberto Vitale, the CEO of Random House. There I learned every facet of publishing from editing to production to sales to foreign rights. I then became the youngest Associate Director of Special Markets. I continued my career at Random House until my first child was born. I have been fortunate enough to, alternately, work and stay home as needed while full-time running a company and then freelancing in publishing, film and television. I did this all while raising my children and being involved in everything from being their room parent, to cheer coach for their River Plaza football teams, to team mom, to running fundraisers for the Touchdown Club at South, and much more.
Having been both a working mom and a stay at home mom, I can attest that both have their own rewards and challenges. Neither one is the easier path, but having a strong school system has been the foundation for our family’s life!
Three years ago, our family embarked on a true labor of love together. I left my job as Vice President of a television production company, and we moved from Oak Hill to a farm in Middletown where we founded Peace, Love and Horses, a non-profit dedicated to helping children in our community experience the healing power of horses and farm life. It was our desire to share the same magic that we had found helped with our youngest son.
With the help of educators, behavior therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and equine professionals, we created a curriculum to teach barn chores and horsemanship that is easily broken down for a wide diversity of learners. I work hands-on with children from many local school districts and support incredible volunteers from Middletown high schools and college students. I have worked beside some of the most incredible teachers, therapists and nurses here at the farm and learned so much from them and our kids. One of the programs I am most proud of is our “all ages all abilities” after school program where kids from 4-18 years learn to work as a team and become part of the farm family here while their paths might never have crossed otherwise.
My journey to running for BOE has been a very public one in Middletown as I began to advocate for schools to reopen during the COVID-19 lockdown and for all children to be back in school full time and in person.
I believe any person serving on the Board of Education needs to uphold the oath taken to put the welfare of the children above all else. Teachers have a very powerful union to represent them and our students and their families have members of the board to represent them.
At this critical point in the future of education where every decision affects children’s mental, physical and emotional health, as well as every family’s financial situation and parent’s jobs, it is crucial to have people on the BOE that have a wide range of business experience outside the classroom who have handled large scale institutional operating budgets, as well as project budgets, as well as people that know how to negotiate contracts with vendors. It is also critical to have board members who will listen to the community and their concerns, and who agree that there needs to be more transparency regarding where their tax dollars are being utilized.
I will make every decision through the filter of the needs and welfare of the children, above all else.
I’m honored to have been trusted to represent so many parent’s voices to our Board of Education, Administrators and members of the NJEA and our government, and I am willing to continue to serve the town, and school community I love so much as a member of the Middletown Board of Education