Hackensack Board of Education Trustees

    Lance Powell  

    Lancelot Powell

    Term: 1st (2018-2021), Trustee 2018- , President 2019- 

    Email: lpowell@hackensackschools.org

    Scott James-Vickery

    Scott James-Vickery
    Vice President

    Scott James-Vickery and his family moved to New Jersey in 2013. They specifically chose to live in Hackensack for the rich diversity and strong sense of community that Hackensack offers.

    Scott is employed by the United Methodist Women of the United Methodist Church.  He is an Executive for the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner which focuses on service and advocacy and administers mission personnel throughout the United States.  Prior to this Scott was an educator for over 15 years working as a fifth-grade general education teacher, reading specialist, special education inclusion teacher, and a teacher of students with profound intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

    Scott has three beautiful children that attend  Hackensack Public Schools.  Scott's wife, Mollie, is the Director of Mobilization at United Methodist Women, advocating on behalf of women, children and youth around the world.

    Scott has a Bachelor of Science in Business and a Masters Degree in Education with Concentration in Special Education and Educational Law from William Carey University.

    Term: 1st (2019-2022), Trustee 2019- , Vice President 2019- 

    Email: sjames-vickery@hackensackschools.org

    Leila Amirhamzeh

    Leila Amirhamzeh, J.D.

    Leila Amirhamzeh is a proud Hackensack resident and homeowner, having lived, worked and served as a volunteer in the community for more than 20 years. She currently serves as the Director of Development for New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA), a statewide progressive nonprofit organization that fights for social, racial and economic justice for all. NJCA is unique in that it combines issue advocacy and organizing with the provision of free direct services for NJ families across the state.  During her 20+ years at NJCA, Leila has worked extensively on the issues of fair and affordable housing, financial education, consumer financial protection, workers’ rights, and other issues. In her current position as the Director of Development, she is responsible for fundraising, event planning, and grant writing.                                                                          

    Outside of work, Leila is actively involved in the Hackensack community, volunteering as an ESL teacher for parents as part of the Comet Academy. As the daughter of immigrant parents who came to the United States from Austria and Iran more than 50 years ago, she is proud to be a part of and celebrate Hackensack’s rich diversity.   

    Leila holds a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers Newark School of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Drew University, earning a B.A. in both German and Political Science.

    Term: 1st (2017-2020), Trustee 2017-

    Email: lamirhamzeh@hackensackschools.org

    Johanna Calle

    Johanna Calle

    Johanna Calle is a Hackensack alumnus; she attended Jackson Avenue School after emigrating from Ecuador, went to the Hackensack Middle School, and graduated from Hackensack High in 2004. She returned to volunteer at Hackensack schools, first as a mentor supporting immigrant families, and currently, as a Board of Education Trustee.

    Her professional experience includes working as a third and fourth grade bilingual education teacher in Newark and at the ACLU - National. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a double major in Sociology and Political Science, and holds a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University. She is also a Board Member at the Anti-Poverty Network, the Latino Action Network, and was a co-chair on Governor Murphy’s Transition Team.

    Johanna is currently the Director at the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), a statewide immigrants’ rights organization. Her experience in policy advocacy spans most of her life, urging elected officials at the local, state, and federal level to make policy changes that improve people’s lives. Her advocacy work has been recognized by various organizations, including NJ Citizen Action, the YWCA in Bergen County, ACLU of NJ, and League of Women Voters.

    Her experience as an alumni, teacher, and advocate help guide her work on the Board of Education, as she works to ensure the next generation of Comets are able to maximize their full potential after graduating from our schools.

    Term: 1st (2017-2020), Trustee 2016-

    Email: jcalle@hackensackschools.org

    Frances Cogelja

    Frances Cogelja

    Frances has lived in Hackensack for all of her married life, almost 25 years.
    She has a son, Nikolas, who graduated from HHS in 2015 and a daughter, Olivia, who is a 7th grader at HMS.
    Her husband, Ivica works as a Union steamfitter in New York City.
    Frances was the PTA president during her son’s time at Hillers school and was active in the Fairmount PTA during her daughter’s years there.
    She is currently in her second year as a Board of Education member.
    Frances grew up in Queens and attended public schools. She is a graduate of Rutgers University.
    She is the child of immigrants from the beautiful country of Croatia and loves vacationing there with her family.
    She is an active parishioner at St. Peter the Apostle church in River Edge and serves as a Lector and a Faith Formation teacher.
    Frances works several part-time jobs. She is a fragrance panelist for Symrise, she helps senior citizens with chores, and also works to help people organize and declutter their homes.
    She is currently enrolled in the Master Gardener program through the Rutgers cooperative extension.
    Frances welcomes input and comments from residents of Hackensack on school matters or any other topics of concern.

    Term: 1st (2018-2021), Trustee 2018-

    Email: fcogelja@hackensackschools.org

    Robin Coles

    Robin E. Coles

    Term: 2nd (2017-2020), Trustee 2013-

    Email: rcoles@hackensackschools.org

    Ira Goodman

    Ira Goodman

    Ira Goodman is a native New Yorker born and raised in Manhattan! He was educated in the New York City public schools and earned his BS in Computer Science degree at CCNY, and his MBA in Computer Methodology at Bernard Baruch College (City University of New York). Ira believes that school should be challenging, interesting, and FUN. A rich, well-rounded education prepares children/young adults for what’s in store for the future.

    Ira was an executive in the software industry for many years focusing on the customer experience and customer satisfaction. He ran a large team of software support engineers in New Jersey, Amsterdam, and Hyderabad. These engineers solved all the customer’s issues with the product, and other network and operating system issues.

    He has been a Hackensack resident since 2002, and currently holds the treasurer’s position on the Executive House Board of Directors, where he has lived since 2003. He is currently a Realtor with Keller Williams Village Square Realty focusing in Hackensack and surrounding towns.

    Ira’s grown children are both married and have families of their own. His son lives in northern California and has a 7-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. Ira’s daughter lives in Bergen County, New Jersey and has a 2-year-old daughter. Ira sings in his temple choir and enjoys going to the gym daily taking spin classes and other Les Mills training classes. 

    Term: 1st (2019-2022), Trustee 2019-

    Email: igoodman@hackensackschools.org

    Lara Rodriguez

    Lara L. Rodriguez

    Lara Rodriguez is married to Francisco, an attorney and former Board of Education Trustee. They have one child in the Hackensack school system. Lara is a proud member of the Middle School PTA. She is a homeowner and a 24 year Hackensack resident. She is a graduate of Rutgers College, where she majored in Political Science and met her husband. She has worked for FX Networks, Prentice Hall Publishing, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission and Ramapo College. She currently serves as the Clerk to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. She is in her third term as a Board of Education trustee, having previously served one year as President and three years as Vice President. She has served on all regularly scheduled committees, assorted negotiation teams and on the joint city and board of education committee. 

    Term: 3rd (2019-2022), Trustee 2013- , President 2018-2019, Vice President 2015-2018

    Email: lararodriguez@hackensackschools.org

    Carlos Velez

    Carlos Velez

    Term: 1st (2018-2021), Trustee 2018-

    Email: cvelez@hackensackschools.org

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    Julio Bendezu

    Maywood Representative

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    Dora Zeno

    Interim School Business Administrator/Board Secretary

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    Robert Sanchez

    Superintendent of Schools

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    John Carroll

    District Residency Officer