Yingchao Zhang

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Yingchao Zhang
Yingchao Zhang.jpg
West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education, West Windsor
Member-elect
Term ends
2017
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Next generalNovember 2017
Term limitsN/A
Education
Bachelor'sUniversity of Science and Technology of China
Ph.D.SUNY Stony Brook
Personal
ProfessionSales engineering director
Websites
Campaign website
Yingchao Zhang campaign logo
Yingchao Zhang is a West Windsor member-elect on the West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education in New Jersey. He won in the general election on November 4, 2014.

Zhang previously lost an election for the board on November 5, 2013.

Biography

Zhang earned a B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China. He later earned a Ph.D. in high energy nuclear physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 1995. Zhang has served as director of sales engineering at NetScout Systems since 2008. He and his wife, Fong Shu, have three children currently attending district schools. Zhang previously served as a board member of the West Windsor Arts Council.[1][2]

Elections

2014

See also: West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District elections (2014)

Opposition

Five seats were up for election in 2014, but only one race was contested. West Windsor incumbents Richard A. Kaye and Dana Krug faced each other and Yingchao Zhang in their bids for re-election.[3]

Plainsboro incumbent Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz won re-election. Newcomer Peien Issac Chang won for the second three-year term.[3]

Rachel Juliana, also a Plainsboro incumbent, won a one-year unexpired term unopposed. Juliana was appointed to the board in January following the death of board member Yibao Xu in November 2013.[3][4]

Results

West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, West Windsor Township General Election, 3-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDana Krug Incumbent 37.4% 3,256
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngYingchao Zhang 32.9% 2,857
     Nonpartisan Richard A. Kaye Incumbent 29.7% 2,582
Total Votes 8,695
Source: NJ.com, "Mercer County election results 2014," accessed November 4, 2014 These results are unofficial. They will be updated once certified election results are available.

Funding

Zhang reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission as of October 17, 2014.[5]

Endorsements

Zhang had not received any official endorsements as of October 17, 2014.

2013

See also: West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District elections (2013)

Opposition

Incumbent Alapakkam Manikandan lost re-election for the Plainsboro seat to challenger Yu Taylor Zhong. The race for two seats from West Windsor included incumbent Louisa Ho and challengers Zhang, Rakesh Kak and Scott Powell. Powell and Ho won those seats. Incumbent Hemant Marathe ran for Mayor of West Windsor after serving for nine years on the board.[6]

Results

West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School School Board, West Windsor District, 3-year term, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngScott Powell 30.2% 2,977
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngLouisa Ho Incumbent 29% 2,866
     Nonpartisan Rakesh Kak 24.8% 2,448
     Nonpartisan Yingchao Zhang 15.8% 1,560
     Nonpartisan Personal choice 0.2% 19
Total Votes 9,870
Source: Mercer County Clerk, "Election Results," November 13, 2013

Funding

Zhang reported no contributions or expenditures to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.[7]

Campaign themes

2014

Zhang provided the following statement on his campaign website:

I am a strong believer that education is the foundation of our society upon which the future of our nation and this world is built. If elected, I will work with the entire school board, the district administration, and the public, whom I represent, to improve on top of the great schools that we have in our school district and make them greater. To accomplish this goal, I believe we need a well-balanced budget that focuses on academic advancement and student preparedness. We should better leverage the resources in the local businesses, many of which top pharmaceuticals, and take full advantage of being next to Princeton University, one of the greatest Universities across the country and in the world.

1.) What experience, expertise, or perspective would you bring to the board? Which trait would be most useful?

My management experience and good personal skills are gained both from working in the technology sales team, and from years of services in the local communities, including serving as the board chair of Plainsboro Chinese School for two terms, involvement in West Windsor Arts Council (Advisory board) and Cub / Boy Scout. While my professional expertise is in technology, I work with people of different backgrounds and opinions to seek common ground to build consensus and reach agreement. My perspective of our school district is to continue our success in academic excellence and student advancement. My expertise in advanced technologies and my international experiences are my strong traits, as our goal is to equip our students in both areas, so that they are well prepared to face the future challenges and global competitions.

2.) What's your opinion of the district's financial management? If cuts are required to the budget, what one subject/activity/initiative would you cut first? What would you cut last? What would you increase funding for? Given that the public no longer will always vote for or against a budget, how can you ensure that public input is weighed by the board?

I believe the district's financial is well managed presently, but incremental improvement is always possible. Cutting the budget is never a simple task. A well-rounded education is an important goal, and it is difficult to weigh one subject or activity against another. It is my belief that budget-cutting recommendations should be made by those who are closest to the action - the campus level leaders, together with the Senior Administrators at the school district. The Board has the final say as the representatives of the public. Any increases in funding should be targeted to better serve our mission. That could be in technology, career and technical courses, or anything else that will inspire life-long learning.

Public input is a valuable part of any budget change. Committees of the public should be formed whenever necessary to give advices on meaningful budget changes. Since the Board Members are elected by the public to act as representatives, the final decision making power should remain within the board. As an elected board member, I will interact with and listen to all concerned members of the community, listen to their point of views carefully, understand their agenda clearly, and put them into my consideration and decision.

3.) The school district this year has budgeted about $1 million for increased security measures. What's your view of the district's school safety program?

The safety and security of our students and staff are a top priority. While no plan is bullet-proof and no amount of spending will guarantee a bad person with ill intent will not find a way to circumvent our procedures, we should continue to work with the professional law enforcement agencies to fine-tune our safety measures. In a broader sense, we should continue the efforts to protect our students and stuffs from all forms of hazards, such as fire, electricity, severe weathers and natural disasters.

4.) What changes or additions, if any, would you make to the district's foreign language offerings?

I personally support the expansion of multi-lingual offerings, as they prepare our students to embrace the international community, and help them become global citizens. The decision to introduce new languages should be made based on public input and future trend.

5.) The district is embarking on a new technology initiative for students. Should the district be more or less aggressive in pursuing this initiative and what would you cut from the budget to continue to fund this initiative, if necessary?

As a technologist myself, I strongly believe that we are only at the beginning of the digital and information era. Utilizing technology for learning is the way forward. We cannot keep teaching the same old way and expect a better result. In order for our students to be prepared for the world they will enter, we must support advancements in technology available for them. Teaching will evolve to more of a leading/coaching position rather than being the sole source of imparting knowledge. A systematic and gradual approach to implementing technology is better than an explosive (and thus expensive) change. Some of the traditional expenses, such as text books and certain staff positions can be decreased or even eliminated over time by technology.

6.) The state has mandated a salary cap for superintendents, and also mandates changes to the teacher evaluation and tenure process. What can the district do to ensure that students are not harmed by these changes?

The vast majority of the public would agree that administrative costs should be kept as low as possible, so that all available resources are directed towards the classroom. However, schools are not unlike the corporate world in that the employees should be compensated fairly for their expertise and contribution. We have to strike a balance between respecting the changes and reducing the risk of losing talents that would have a long-term negative impact on our students. We need to work with the teachers and district administrators to express our support and ensure that their efforts are rewarded adequately.

7.) Are there any other school district issues you feel should be addressed?

  • I believe it is important to invite public input during major decision making processes.
  • To increase the talent pool in our teaching stuffs, I hope we can recruit and retain higher quality teachers with stronger motivation in education.
  • I suggest the district to better leverage the local businesses and communities, including Princeton University, to obtain more corporate resources and gain stronger community supports.
  • I support continued maintenance and improvement of existing facilities (less expensive to maintain than to fix a bigger problem or to build new buildings).[8]

—Yingchao Zhang's campaign website, (2014), [9]

2013

In an interview with the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, Zhang explained his views on major issues facing the district:

District growth

As a former scientist, and currently a technologist in sales, I would recommend a more systemic and quantified approach. We should work closely with the townships and make comprehensive analysis of the historical census records to make an accurate projection of the student enrollment growth several years down the road. With that data, we can then project classroom sizes for the different grades and facility utilization. Whenever possible, we should try to optimize the classroom and facility usage, so that the additional students can be absorbed to the school district without having to increase the number of classrooms and the size of other facilities. At the same time, we should look into the possibility of incremental increase of classrooms in school to prepare for the situation where the growth projection is on the verge of exceeding maximal number of students per classroom.[8]

—Yingchao Zhang interview with League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, (2013), [10]

Financial challenges

I believe the district’s finances are well-managed presently, but incremental improvement is always possible. Cutting the budget is never a simple task. A well-rounded education is an important goal, and it is difficult to weigh one subject or activity against another. It is my belief that budget-cutting recommendations should be made by those who are closest to the action — the campus-level leaders together with the senior administrators at the school district. The board has the final say as the representatives of the public. Any increases in funding should be targeted to better serve our mission. That could be in technology, career and technical courses, or anything else that will inspire life-long learning. Public input is a valuable part of any budget change. Committees of the public should be formed whenever necessary to give advice on meaningful budget changes.[8]

—Yingchao Zhang interview with League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, (2013), [10]

School safety

The safety and security of our students and staff are a top priority. While no plan is bullet-proof, and no amount of spending will guarantee a bad person with ill intent will not find a way to circumvent our procedures, we should continue to work with the professional law enforcement agencies to fine-tune our safety measures. In a broader sense, we should continue the efforts to protect our students and staff from all forms of hazards, such as fires, severe weather conditions, and natural disasters.[8]

—Yingchao Zhang interview with League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, (2013), [10]

What was at stake?

While five seats were up for election in 2014, all but two were decided before the election due to unopposed races. Two incumbents, Richard A. Kaye and Dana Krug, faced returning candidate Yingchao Zhang for the two West Windsor Township representative seats. Meanwhile, two incumbent Plainsboro Township representatives won new terms unopposed. Incumbent Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz and newcomer Peien Issac Chang filled the two three-year terms. Similarly, Rachel Juliana, who was appointed in January 2014, won the single one-year term as Plainsboro Township representative unopposed.

Issues in the district

NJM ranking

The magazine New Jersey Monthly ranked 339 New Jersey high schools in 2012 and 2014. The analysis for the report was conducted by the research company Leflein Associates. The report weighted school environment at 1, student performance at 1.5 and student outcomes at 2.1.[11] Both of West Windsor-Plainsboro's high schools saw an improvement in their rankings from 2012 to 2014. High School North rose from 32nd to 23rd, and High School South rose from 62nd to 35th.[12]

About the district

See also: West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, New Jersey

Part of the district lies in Plainsboro Township in Middlesex County.

Part of the district lies in West Windsor Township in Mercer County.

West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District is located in Plainsboro Township in Middlesex County and West Windsor Township in Mercer County, New Jersey. The county seat of Middlesex County is New Brunswick. Mercer County's seat of government is Trenton. In 2013, Mercer County was home to approximately 370,414 residents and Middlesex County was home to 828,919 residents, according to estimates by the United States Census Bureau.[13][14] In 2011-2012 school year, West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District was the 18th-largest school district by enrollment in New Jersey and served 9,804 students.

Demographics

Both Middlesex County and Mercer County overperformed in comparison to the rest of New Jersey in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 38.2 percent of Mercer County residents and 39.8 percent of Middlesex County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 35.4 percent for New Jersey as a whole. Mercer County's median household income was $73,759 and Middlesex County's was $79,442 with both exceeding the state average of $71,637. Mercer County's unemployment rate was 10.8 percent and Middlesex County's was 8.0 percent while it was 9.9 percent statewide.[13][14]

Racial Demographics, 2013[13]
Race Mercer County (%) Middlesex County (%) New Jersey (%)
White 66.0 62.8 73.4
Black or African American 21.1 11.0 14.7
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 0.6 0.6
Asian 10.0 23.5 9.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.2 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.1 2.0 2.0
Hispanic or Latino 16.2 19.5 18.9

Presidential Voting Pattern, Mercer County[15]
Mercer County Middlesex County
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 104,377 47,355 190,555 107,310
2008 107,926 50,223 193,812 123,695
2004 91,580 56,604 166,628 126,492
2000 83,256 46,670 154,998 93,545

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[16]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References

  1. West Windsor & Plainsboro News, "From Field of Four, Louisa Ho Chosen," May 10, 2013
  2. LinkedIn, "Yingchao Zhang," accessed October 23, 2013
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named candidates
  4. NJ.com, "West Windsor-Plainsboro school board fills deceased member's seat," January 9, 2014
  5. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "View a Candidate or Election Related Committee Report," accessed October 17, 2014
  6. NJ.com, "West Windsor-Plainsboro school board president to challenge mayor in November election," June 24, 2013
  7. New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, "Standard Search," accessed December 27, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  9. Vote for Dr. YZ!, "Why I'm running?," accessed October 17, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 League of Women of the Princeton Area, "West Windsor Candidates for WW-P School Board 2013," accessed October 17, 2014
  11. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools 2014: Methodology," September 2, 2014
  12. New Jersey Monthly, "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014," September 2, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 United States Census Bureau, "Mercer County, New Jersey," accessed September 8, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 United States Census Bureau, "Middlesex County, New Jersey," accessed October 13, 2014
  15. New Jersey Department of State, "NJ Election Information and Results Archive," accessed September 8, 2014
  16. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014