EIGHTH WARD COUNCILWOMAN
I was first elected to serve as Councilwoman in January, 2006. I am now serving my second three-year term. I consider it an honor and a privilege to represent my fellow residents in the 8th Ward and be their voice in city government.
I reside on McGillvray Place with my husband, Luke, our two sons, Danny and Tommy, a yellow lab named Samantha, and a gray cat named Toby. I grew up on the Elizabeth/Linden border in the Bayway section of Elizabeth. I am the third of four children of Patricia and the late Robert Szewczyk. I am a graduate of St. Hedwig Grammar School, Elizabeth, Elizabeth High School, and Union County College where I obtained an Associates of Art Degree and majored in Early Childhood Education.
My husband, Luke, is a lifelong resident of Linden and is the fifth of eight children of Bernard and Bernadette Yamakaitis. When Luke and I were married in 1991, we resided on Washington Avenue with his grandmother, the late Frances Yamakaitis, until we bought our home in 1992 on McGillvray Place. My children, Danny and Tommy, attend the Linden Public School system.
Upon graduation from high school, I worked as a secretary in the Superintendent’s Office for Elizabeth Board of Education. Looking to pursue my lifelong dream of working with children, I returned to school part-time at Union County College, where I graduated with high honors and obtained the award, "Outstanding Achievement in Early Childhood Education." Upon graduation, I worked for several years as a group teacher for the Cerebral Palsy League of Union County and am currently employed as a teacher assistant in a public school. I find working with children with special needs to be both very challenging and rewarding. Words cannot express the feeling of seeing children overcome obstacles to achieve what many of us take for granted.
Since moving to the 8th Ward in 1992, I have become very involved and volunteer many hours of my time to programs, organizations, and activities that promote our community. I have served in the 8th Ward Neighborhood Watch since 1992, and one program that I am particularly proud of is the 8th Ward Children’s Recreation Program. This group was started in 2003.
Additional civic experience, community involvement and affiliations include the following:
o President/2nd Vice Pres./Member - 8th Ward Democratic Club
o Director – 8th Ward Children’s Recreation Program (2003-Present)
o Captain - 8th Ward Neighborhood Watch
o Volunteer Director of Religious Education/Catechist St. Hedwig R.C. Church (2001-Present)
o Lector – St. Hedwig R.C. Church
o Member–Pulaski Day Parade Committee–St. Theresa Church (2007- Present)
o 2008 Marshal–Pulaski Day Parade Committee–St. Theresa Church
o Member - NAACP
o Parent Teacher Association Secretary Linden Elementary School No. Four – 2001-2002
o Member – Linden High School Football Booster Parents Club
o Member – Linden Marching Band Parents Association
o Member – Friends of Linden Public Library
o Member – Linden City Democratic Club
o Member – The Union County Women’s Political Caucus
o Member – Phi Alpha Theta (Historical Honor Society) – Kean University
o Member – Union County College Alumni Association
On Council, I proudly serve on the following committees for 2011:
o Fire Committee (Chairperson)
o Accident Review (Chairperson)
o Construction Code & Lighting
o FAA Committee Newark Airport Noise Pollution (Chairperson)
o Council Liaison Linden Public Library
o Handicap Parking/Guidelines Committee
If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at (908) 925-2309 or e-mail me at email@example.com. I also invite you to get up-to-date information on the 8th Ward and myself by visiting my webpage at www.councilwomanmichele.com or visiting me on Facebook at Councilwoman Michele Yamakaitis.