Election day brought a familiar face, a face from the past and a new face altogether to the Tabernacle Board of Education.
Incumbent John Bulina, former board member Geneva Moore and newcomer Vicki Shoemaker defeated current board members Stephen Pickholtz and Laura Clapps in a tightly-contested election held Nov. 5.
Of the 4,380 votes counted, Bulina received 23.22 percent; Shoemaker received 22.4 percent and Moore 22.21 percent. The three seats were for three-year terms on the board.
Bulina, a professor at Burlington County College, has been a member of the board for 25 years and now serves as the president of the New Jersey Schools Boards Association. Though his work at the state level is of great importance, Bulina said his primary focus will always be the children and families of Tabernacle.
“It’s really an exciting time for education not only in Tabernacle but everywhere. I’ve said this is the most exciting time in education since Sputnik,” Bulina said. “The I-STEM programs, the sustainability programs within our schools are something we are proud of. “
The concerns parents and residents raised to Bulina as well as other candidates were similar.
“All parents want the same thing for their children. They want their kids to receive a quality education. They want their kids to succeed and realize their potential, and they want the schools to prepare them for a 21st-century economy,” Bulina said. “The parents are happy with the educational process in Tabernacle.”
Shoemaker taught in the district for 30 years before retiring. Her two daughters are also graduates of the Tabernacle schools.
“In recent years, I have witnessed, both firsthand and through attending BOE meetings, that some of what had made Tabernacle such a desirable district — compassion, willingness to listen and valuing as well supporting staff — has been lost. I will work to ensure that these will once again become important to both the BOE and the administration,” Shoemaker said.
Moore served on the board from 1981 through 1996. She spent seven of those years as board president. She was confident that her experience as both a board member as well as school business administrator could serve the board of education as well. “Education today faces many challenges, so I am looking forward to working with members of the Board of Education and the community in an effort to provide the best possible education for the students of Tabernacle, while keeping the tax rate consistent,” Moore said.
Despite not serving on the board in 17 years, Moore said she has remained in tune with initiatives the district has been introducing and the challenges they face.
“Now that I’m retired, I’m confident that I can give 100 percent to the community. I’ve been a part of the board meetings since I was on the board and I’m excited to return. Not be a problem maker but to give the people and students of Tabernacle a voice on the board,” Moore said.
Moore was also quick to thank outgoing members Clapps and Pickholtz for their service on the board. “I wish them the best going forward. They are great people who served the community well, and I thank them for their service,” Moore said.