Running as an uncontested candidate in the November Board of Education election, longtime candidate Gyuchang Sim was guaranteed a seat on the River Edge Board of Education. But after the earlier this summer, the coveted position was available earlier than anticipated and after much deliberation by board members, Sim was appointed to the Board earlier this week.
Sim has been a Board of Education candidate since he began his campaign in 2008 at the polls and since 2009 when he applied to fill an open position.
"I am a first generation immigrant," Sim said. "I attended Montclair State to become a teacher but due to family business I had to drop just before beginning student teaching."
Instead, Sim went into business for himself in 2000 when he created Highwood Auto Service in Englewood. A certified master automotive technician he has been in the automotive repair field for 25 years. He has been a member of the River Edge Fire Department since 2003, is a certified hazardous material technician, first responder and member of a disaster response committee.
Born and raised in Korea, Sim lived in his home country for 25 years before spending an additional three as a vocational teacher for automotive technicians. He also spent a few years volunteering in Nepal.
"Leaving Korea enlightened me in many ways," Sim said. "I have seen and experienced many things along with what I hear from my own community and their concerns and expectations. The uniqueness of this community is becoming more diverse and the minority is heavily populated by Korean-Americans. I believe I can be helpful and valuable for that communities voice at the school board."
Sim will be officially sworn in on August 29 and will serve until the January 2013 reorganization meeting. At that point he would begin his full three-year term on the board.
Along with Sim, the Board of Education interviewed Tony Barbary and Robert Gilmartin Jr.
Barbary is a 36-year resident of the borough, a US Army veteran and spent 36 years in the education field beginning as a teacher and working his way through a variety of administrative duties including principal, assistant superintendent, interim superintendent and a central office consultant. He spent the majority of his career with the Clifton School District.
Gilmartin, the son of Bergen County Superintendent Dr. Bob Gilmartin, has lived in River Edge for three years and is a member of the Sedgwick Law Firm where he represents clients in products liability, asbestos litigation, construction litigation, personal injury and premises liability matters.