Versed in special needs matters, teacher contracts and construction matters, RHS grad Gina Damasco wants to give back to the NJ community she said has given her so much.School board candidate Gina Damasco says her Ridgewood education has enabled her to succeed professionally. Now the education lawyer wants to repay the favor and bring her unique experience and skill set to advance the excellent school system
"I think part of what inspires me to want to give back to the community is I've been able to benefit from growing up here," said Damasco, a 1993 RHS grad working at the U.S. Department of Education. "I had an unparalleled education. I had a lot of doors open for me because of being a Ridgewood graduate and I'm eternally grateful for that. It made me who I am today."
Name a hot-button issue in education, and Damasco has probably worked on it. At the US DOE, the N. Maple Ave. resident works for its Office of Civil Rights, investigating cases brought by the public. She also deals in mediation and gives technical seminars to the public on education laws.
Prior to her job at the DOE, Damasco represented various school boards across the state. She's well-versed in teacher contract laws, collective bargaining and carefully scrutinizing construction-related contracts.
During an interview, the "Big Sister" volunteer taking on Vince Loncto for a three-year term, said she's here without an agenda, only an interest in offering her expertise to the district.
Ridgewood has many challenges in fulfilling anti-bullying mandates, grappling with high cost upticks in special needs, flood issues at its main athletic facilities, all under a strict tax levy cap andacrimonious contract disputes with teachers.