MEET ELSIE, MATTHEW & TARA
Since becoming a Councilperson in 2000, Elsie has served as Council Chair for numerous departments. She currently serves as Council Chair for the Department of Public Safety, including the Fire Department, First Aid Squad, Police Department, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Community Response Team (CERT). Previously she was Council Liaison to Recreation and Arts, Finance, Department of Public Utilities, Economic Development and Planning, Health and Welfare.
Professionally, Elsie is the President and CEO of Aunt Elsie’s Homestays, an International Student Housing organization. She is also the Legislative Liaison to the State of New Jersey Civil Service Commission and a founding partner of JamPhil Consultants, LLC.
Matthew Hersh is a 12-year resident of Highland Park's South Side, along with his partner, Christine. Their three children, Rubin (11), Ilana (9), and Philip (5) all currently attend or will attend Highland Park Public Schools, and Matthew routinely refers to himself as a member of the "Parent Class of 2033," the year his youngest graduates high school. He is an executive board member of the Bartle Elementary School PTO and a board member of the Highland Park Education Foundation.
Professionally, Matthew works daily with the governor, the legislature, and community leaders to address housing affordability and community development issues in New Jersey. He is the director of policy and advocacy at the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, a statewide, Trenton-based organization that advocates for affordable housing, housing stability, tenant and homeowner rights, and healthy communities.
Tara Canavera is a social worker who has lived with her husband Eric in Highland Park since 2007. They have two children, daughter Samantha (21) and son Jared (12). Tara is a case manager at Community Care Behavioral Health in Piscataway and she has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Kean University.
Tara has been an active volunteer in the Borough for the last 12 years. She has been a member of the Commission on Universal Access for over a decade. Tara also has served as a member of the Human Relations and Recreation commissions and was a founding member of the Borough's Public Information Committee.