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Ray Pinney, lead director of member training and engagement at the New Jersey School Boards Association, recently interviewed a student representative on a board of education for his podcast, “Education Matters.”

In January 2022, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that requires school districts with a high school to have a student representative on the board of education.

Reese Sahadow, the student representative serving on the Verona Board of Education in Essex County, was the special guest on the June 3 episode, during which she shared what it is like serving as a student representative and how other student representatives can make the most out of their experience.

District administrators and board members agree that Sahadow has made a positive difference.

During the podcast, Pinney asked Sahadow about her experience serving as a student representative on the board.

Sahadow shared that before seeking the student representative seat, she was involved in politics, having campaigned for candidates as early as the seventh grade. Moreover, she attended board of education meetings and spoke at various public meetings, so was familiar with how meetings run.

“I absolutely loved my time on the board,” she said. “The people I had there were really instrumental into making it such a productive personal learning experience.”

Her time on the board allowed her to understand policymaking firsthand and gave her the opportunity to participate in board retreats and training to hone her skills as a board member, she said.

The fact that board members invited her to participate in such activities gave her a firm foundation on what it means to be a board member and equipped her with the skills to succeed, she said.

During the podcast, Pinney asked Sahadow a variety of questions, such as her biggest challenges in serving as a student representative.

Watch the podcast.