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Gidalty “Gigi” Esparza, the Board’s senior-most member, is proud of the South Toms River community she represents and that can be seen through her community involvement and time spent volunteering.

Currently, Gigi volunteers for the O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Head Start Program where she is a board member. She also served as the program’s policy council chair from 2015-17. Alongside her father Rev. Manuel De Jesús Cruz, she is a member of Governor Phil Murphy’s Faith Leaders Policy Round Table.

Mrs. Esparza is an active member of Bethel Spanish Pentecostal Church where she currently serves as the superintendent of the Sunday School Department. There, she oversees and evaluates the needs of the education ministry. She has been able to successfully connect with the Spanish-speaking community since she is fluent in Spanish and has four years of French instruction under her belt.

While on the Board, she has served as vice president and is currently the chairperson of the Policy Committee. The committee is currently modernizing and updating the policies that govern the district’s more than 2,500 employees and administrative staff.

However, most importantly, Gigi says she is proudest of her three children who all attend South Toms River Elementary School. Gigi and her husband, Alonso, have given back to the school by establishing a learning community garden for all families to enjoy. 

Gigi Esparza
Gigi Esparza
  • Elected to board 2012
  • Chair, Personnel & Policy Committees
  • Serves on Insurance Committee
  • Served as School Board Vice President 2015

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Russell Corby
Russell Corby

Board President

  • Elected to board 2016
  • Appointed Board President 2018
  • Past Chair, Budget & Finance Committee
  • Member of Building & Grounds and Insurance Committees

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Russell K. Corby is a longtime resident of the Borough of Pine Beach, where he lives with his wife Judith. He is the retired Director of Economic Development/Urban Enterprise Zone Office of Lakewood Township, where he guided such public projects as the construction of First Energy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws, and the restoration of the Strand Theater historic site. With more than 30 years of private and public community service, Russell is most noted for his service as the first director of Ocean County’s Joint Legislative Offices; chief of staff to the NJ Senate Majority Leader; and as a former five-term elected mayor of his hometown, where he guided redevelopment efforts which included the establishment of Vista Park on the Toms River at the site of a former private Naval Prep-school Academy.

He presently serves on the Board of Directors of Ocean County’s 21 Plus, a group home non-profit caring for persons with developmental disabilities. As co-founder of the Ocean County Mayors Scholarship program, Russell continues as honorary chairman of the Annual Mayors Golf Classic, which funds a senior class Mayors Scholar in every Ocean County high school, vocational school, and Ocean County College.

A distinguished alumnus of Ocean County College, Russell has also served his local community as a certified youth sports coach; planning board member; and Past Grand Knight of K of C Council 8603, St. Barnabas Parish. 

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Joe Nardini has been a staple in the Toms River business community since he moved here from Bayonne in 1973. That was the year he and his business partner started Gilligan & Nardini Electric, Inc. Over the past 45 years, Joe has worked on all types of construction projects, which have given him a broad knowledge of the construction industry.

He has parlayed this knowledge into his tenure on the Board of Education by serving as the chairperson of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, following suit with his true passion for all things business and construction.

In 1974, he married his wife, Kathy, and has since been blessed with three children and eight grandchildren, all of whom attend or will attend Toms River schools.

His other business ventures have included a banana boat ride business, an upscale restaurant, and being part owner of Bacchus Winery and a Gold’s Gym. He credits each of these businesses as wonderful learning experiences that have provided opportunities to expand his network of family and friends.  

Joe Nardini
Joe Nardini

Board Vice President

  • Elected to board 2015
  • Appointed Board Vice President 2018
  • Chair, Buildings & Grounds Committee

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Janet Bell
Janet Bell
  • Elected to board 2017
  • Chair, Curriculum Committee
  • Serves on Technology and Personnel Committees

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As Media Specialist for Central Regional High School in Bayville, Janet Bell might be Toms River’s most tech-savvy board member. She’s a Certified Google Educator, manages the Central Regional School District website, and is proficient in a number of programs. But her media expertise is just one facet of a well-rounded and lauded career in education. Janet, who also manages budgets and student plays, was a Golden Apple Recipient in 2010-2011, and is the reigning Educator of the Year for 2017-2018.

A 40-year career in education and a knack for ingenuity has enabled Janet to use her personal interests as motivation for student engagement. Among her many successful initiatives are a Chat & Chew Book Club, a Travel Club, the establishment of a coffee shop in the media center, and a Kindness Club. The Consumer Bowl Team she advises are three-time county champions.

Janet’s involvement and volunteerism seemingly know no bounds, impressive in both diversity and volume. From being the business manager for annual school musicals to yearbook advisor to helping her school’s NERDS club design drones and robots, Janet is a renaissance woman whose mission is to help guide others. The Toms River School Board is happy to have her. 

It should come as no surprise that Michael Horgan is the Board’s current chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. After graduating from High School East in 2008, he attended Seton Hall University where he double-majored in economics and political science. He graduated summa cum laude in 2012 and was also awarded a certificate in business. While at Seton Hall, he was asked to be the Economics Department tutor in the university’s Academic Resource Center. Currently, Michael works as a budget analyst for the New Jersey Department of Transportation where he is one of 8 people who oversee the department’s $1.5 billion budget. He has worked at the NJDOT for the past five years and is the senior-most analyst in the office.

Before working at the NJDOT, Michael was an international programs and government relations associate at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA). While at the IEEE-SA, he analyzed financial sales data and researched information on geographic areas, educational activities, and other topics.

A lifelong resident of Toms River, Michael is one of eight family members that have attended the district. He credits his parents with stressing the importance of education and influencing him to set high educational and career goals. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in public sector budgeting and financial management, from Rutgers University’s School of Public Affairs and Administration.

His honors and awards include: Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar (2009-2012), New Penn Motor Express Academic Scholarship (2009-2011), Teamsters Local 641 Academic Scholarship (2009-2011), Sonny G. Musso Teamsters Scholarship (2009-2010), an NJEA academic scholarship, induction into Pi Sigma Alpha (the National Political Science Honor Society), and being on the Dean’s list at Seton Hall every semester. Michael graduated 9th in his class at HSE where he was a member of the National Honor Society, TEAM, and ran varsity track.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys running, cheering on his favorite sports teams, and playing with his kitten Pickles. He is engaged to his high school sweetheart and looks forward to their wedding in 2019. 

Horgan
Michael Horgan
  • Elected to board 2018
  • Chair, Budget & Finance Committee
  • Serves on Policy Committee

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Dan Leonard
Dan Leonard
  • Elected to board 2016
  • Insurance Committee Chairman
  • Co-Chair Safety & Security Committee
  • Member of Litigation Committee
  • Board representative for Ocean County School Boards Association
  • Board liaison for district Sick Bank

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Daniel Patrick Leonard is a 29-year resident of Beachwood, NJ and a proud member of the Toms River High School South Class of 1994. Post HSS, Dan furthered his education with an AS in criminal justice from OCC; a BA in political science from Richard Stockton University; and an MPA in public service administration & leadership from Thomas Edison University, which he attained in 2016.

Dan is married to Michelle A. Leonard and they have two children, each extensions of the family’s High School South tradition. Alexia is a graduate, Class of 2017, and Haley is a current South student in the Class of 2020.

Professionally, Dan currently works as the Coordinator for Business Services with the Ocean County Department of Human Services Workforce Development Board. Dan’s personal and professional life are enhanced by a proud history of service to his country. He retired from the United States Army in April of 2018 as a decorated combat veteran of the Afghanistan War with more than 23 years of dedicated service.

In combination with his elected membership on the Toms River Board of Education, Dan boasts a variety of volunteer service experience. He is past chairman of the NJ Veterans of Foreign Wars Iraq & Afghanistan Committee; past director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars State Legislative Committee; a state representative to VFW National Legislative Service in Washington DC; and former Secretary of the Beachwood Recreation Commission and Land Use Board (2010-2016). Dan’s service to his community has not gone unnoticed, as he is a recipient of the NJ Distinguished Service Medal (2005); the NJ Public Service Recognition Award (2007); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2012); and the Beachwood Police Department’s Meritorious Service Award (2013). 

Board member Christopher Raimann was born and raised in Toms River. As one of seven children, he certainly learned how to share and maximize resources.

Now, Christopher and his wife, Andrea McBrearty-Raimann, have two children of their own; Colin and Maddy are both Toms River Regional students, attending Intermediate South and Washington Street School, respectively.

Christopher graduated from Rutgers University, where he minored in English and attained a BS in criminal justice. He graduated Ocean County Police Academy #72, and has served as a 24-year employee of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, rising to the role of supervisor.

Personally, Christopher is a practicing and involved parishioner at St. Joseph’s Parish in Toms River, and is actively involved in sports, both as a participant and coach. An avid runner, Christopher has completed five New Jersey-based marathons, and has served as a Toms River Little League coach for eight years. 

Christopher Raimann
Christopher Raimann
  • Elected to board 2015
  • Chair, Technology Committee
  • Serves on Buildings & Grounds Committee
  • Served on Safety & Security Committee
  • Board liaison for Super Safe Schools Committee

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Ginny Rhine
Ginny Rhine
  • Elected to board 2018 (current term)
  • Previously elected to board 2013-2016
  • Served as School Board Vice President 2014-2015
  • Serves on Budget & Finance, Curriculum, and Technology Committees
  • Previously chaired both Curriculum and Technology 

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Ginny Rhine grew up in Toms River, met her future husband at High School South (where she ranked 3rd in her graduating class), and married him a month after college graduation. That high school sweetheart story then extended to the marketplace, where Ginny and her husband established a small business developing and selling mobile applications. During tax season, she also works in accounting.

However, Ginny says her main job is mom to their three kids, all Toms River Regional students—at Intermediate South and Washington Street. Ginny has a strong connection to our schools; she is a certified secondary math teacher and formerly taught math and computer science courses, including Advanced Placement, at High School North. Ginny attended Drew University on a full merit scholarship. She graduated in three years, summa cum laude, with a double major, holding BAs in both math and computer science. She is a Phi Beta Kappa Key, a member of Pi Mu Epsilon (math honor society), and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including Bloustein Scholar, AMTNJ Scholar, Rotary Scholar, Kiwanis Scholar, among others.

Her personal time is spent reading or volunteering with organizations like Cub Scout Pack 1. But her most valuable personal time is spent with her family, ideally while walking on the beach.  

Michele Williams has been a lifelong educator, recently retiring from the position of principal at St. Joseph Grade School in Toms River. She began her career in education in 1972 after graduating from Jersey City State College with a BA in elementary education. She was an elementary school teacher in Jersey City for just four years at St. Mary Elementary School before rising to the position of assistant principal at that same school.

In 1989, Michele relocated to Toms River and began substituting in our school district. She also became affiliated with St. Justin the Martyr Church on Fischer Boulevard where she became the director of religious education for six years. There, she treated the program like a school setting where she developed a curriculum of religious studies for a parish community of 1,500 children.

She transitioned back to school administrator in 1999 when she was named principal of St. Aloysius Elementary School in Jackson. Under her guidance, the then pre-K to 5th grade school transitioned to incorporate grades 6-8. In 2003, she was named principal at St. Joe’s and remained there until retirement in 2017. While at St. Joe’s, she greatly expanded the school’s technology and performing arts programs while advancing the educational programs of the school as well.

Michele received a MA in administration and supervision from Seton Hall University in 2001 and in 2004 she completed a second MA in theology and ministry from LaSalle University. Through the years, she has been asked to serve on many committees and present at many conferences and workshops. A few of those include the Principals Advisory Council and the Teacher Evaluation Revision Committee. Other activities have included serving as a member of an AdvancEd School Evaluation Team, being the advisor to the Diocesan PTA president, and representing NJ and PA on the NCEA Board of the Department of Elementary School Executive Committee. 

M Williams
Michele Williams
  • Elected to board 2018
  • Serves on Building & Grounds, Curriculum, and Insurance Committees

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