More than ever, social and cultural trends are impacting the quality of our schools and education of our children. There is too much at stake: transparency, public trust, genuine inclusion that builds community, and education free of ideologies so we can prioritize critical thinking and maintain academic excellence.
My name is Bozidar Jovanovic and I am running for a seat on the Board of Education here in Rye. Here is a little about me.
Early Life Background
I was born in Serbia/former Yugoslavia in 1968 and spent the first 24 years of my life under the terrible oppression of totalitarian communism. My dad was a civil engineer; my mom was a credit officer in a bank. My dad spent about 16 years abroad, working in places such as Kenya, Peru and others for oftentimes 6-month periods. This was the only reason we could have a somewhat reasonable life and avoid some of the day-to-day hardships our neighbors had. I was a top student and went to the equivalent of Bronx Science in Belgrade. I also participated in several national and international Physics competitions. But the fact was that we were not free. The indoctrination at our schools was strong, and we could not question anything or disagree with the party line. I vowed at an early age that my children wouldn’t have that life. I was 15 at the time and it took me another 9 years to come here to attend graduate school at Boston University.
I recall an instance when I represented the old Yugoslavia in a Balkans Physics Olympiad. I was interviewed by a local newspaper and said: “Once I graduate I am off to the USA!” My mom almost lost her job because of that statement… but my yearning for freedom and possibility persisted.
Education and Work
I completed my undergraduate studies at Belgrade University. I was finally able to immigrate to America in 1992 to pursue my graduate studies at Boston University, where I earned a PhD in Physics. I have been a Chartered Financial Analyst since 2003 and I also received a Certificate in Quantitative Finance in 2009.
Until 2017 I split my work time between Finance and teaching a number of courses at Manhattanville College. I have always held education in the highest esteem, as it has always been everything to my family. I am also a proud educator: I taught and advised between 25-30 Masters in Finance, most of which were minority students. I have always inspired them to work hard and to achieve, and boy, did they achieve! I am incredibly proud of each and every one of them. Since 2017 I focused on my portfolio management work, culminating with founding my own investment advisory firm, Honey Badger Advisors, in February 2021.
I am a strong defender of merit-based excellence, and firmly believe in extending a helping hand to those who need in order to reach their full potential. I am running for BOE because I believe our schools should provide equal opportunity for all our students regardless of race, culture, sex or economic position, enabling each of them to reach his/her full potential. My goal—and my passion—is to ensure we maintain academic excellence and a just system of meritocracy.
After school I moved to Westchester; first to Harrison then Rye, drawn to the caliber of our schools. I met my present wife in 2016. She is Taiwanese by origin and grew up in Queens. I have three kids from my first marriage; my oldest--a boy RHS Class of 2013 is turning 26 is May, and my two girls are 15 and 12 years old. My wife Yer Ting had two children who are now 8 and 6 years old. We were married in 2019 at the Rye Golf Club Castle and were blessed with a new baby girl on July 1, 2020. Our large, merry band now counts on 6 children in addition to the two of us.
My large family and professional work keep me quite busy. I am not the golfing type. I need to feel like I am contributing and giving back to the society that gave me freedom and a life of possibilities. As a family we enjoy cooking together and spend a lot of time outdoors—hiking, sailing, skiing…The simple moments together are the best ones.
My platform was developed after careful immersion and conversations with different groups of parents.
May 18th is coming up soon. Find out what I stand for!
This effort is supported by a diverse group of Rye residents who share concerns about recent initiatives at our schools. Most of us are parents of school-aged children; some are long-term residents whose kids have already passed through the school system. Among us you will find parents of all backgrounds and political leanings. What we have in common is the determination to fight for our schools, which are the crown jewel of our town. We believe in full transparency, academic excellence, equal opportunity for all, and teaching free of ideology.