The Atlantic Highlands Herald invited each of the candidates for office to school boards and governing bodies in Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Middletown and Sea Bright to respond to a series of questions about themselves to better inform our readers about their campaigns. The deadline for submission is Friday, October 22. We will post their responses individually and make them available in our Politics Section.


November 2, 2021 – General Election

Profile Date: October 17, 2021

Candidate Name: Gina Melnyk

Age (as of Election Day): 46

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Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean in residency at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park
Jackson Pines and Cranston Dean at Langosta

Position Sought (term): 3 year BOE seat

Party Affiliation or Banner: None

Family: My husband Don and I have been married for 23 years. Our son Dylan is 14 and attends Henry Hudson Regional School. Our dog Jack is 7 (human years).

Education: I graduated cum laude with a BA in English from Saint Peter’s University. I also earned an MA in English from William Paterson University. I have a certificate in Non-profit Leadership from Bergen County Community College.
Occupation: Community Engagement Manager

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: Highlands Borough Board of Education (2019 – present)

Campaign Website or Facebook page:

Why are you seeking office? When I ran for office in 2018, it was because my running mates and I knew Highlands needed board members who would listen and collaborate with all stakeholders.

We needed board members who would ask tough questions and work with the district administration to find solutions, and then hold them accountable.

We needed a board that would respect the community even through disagreements and tough decisions – one that has no political or personal motives other than to do what’s best for our children.

I am proud of my service to the people of Highlands, having accomplished several of the goals my ticket laid out in 2018. I am asking for your vote again so I may continue that effort.

The two most important issues facing our board are inefficiency and communication, and this is what I intend to do about it: I have been actively promoting efforts to merge the districts of Highlands Elementary School with Atlantic Highlands Elementary School and Henry Hudson Regional. Until that happens, I will continue to advocate for sharing the position of B.A. among all three schools in the Tri-District and budgeting below the 2% spending cap. Just because we can spend tax payer dollars doesn’t mean we should.

The easiest way to improve communication among the Boards of Education and within the community is to record and broadcast Board of Education meetings for the public. I have been working to make this a reality, and I am confident we can make it happen in 2022.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform. Our students face unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic. I will support the superintendent’s efforts to address individual and class-level needs. I will continue to represent the Highlands Board of Education at the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, where I have helped shape policy since 2019.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? I am proud of achieving the New Jersey School Boards New Board Member Certification, and my pursuit of the next level of certification through attendance at county level and state-wide professional development sessions. As a representative of the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, I have attended in-person and virtual sessions with state government leaders, and I have a vast knowledge of the current legislation that will lead us toward regionalization. As an active member of the Board for the last three years, I have the experience and know-how to serve our community.

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I am a mom and an award winning English teacher with 20 years of classroom experience. I am on the Board because I truly appreciate, on a personal and professional level, the connection between a foundation built in elementary school and a student’s future academic and extra-curricular success.

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Avatar of Allan Dean

Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...