Meet the Candidates in the 2018 Cherry Hill Board of Education Election

The 11 candidates running for the Cherry Hill Board of Education explain why they are running for a seat on the board.

Editor’s Note: The following submissions were sent to The Cherry Hill Sun by this year’s Cherry Hill Board of Education candidates. The candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot. David Rossi, Laurie Neary and Sally Tong chose to submit a joint response to The Sun.

Name: Ben Shore

Occupation: Congressional aid for 115th United States Congress

Team designation: Rethink Education

Clubs/organizations: Katz JCC, ACLU, Beth-el Syangogue, Jewish Federation

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

As a graduate of Cherry Hill East and a resident of Cherry Hill for my whole life, I am a passionate advocate for children, education, and civil rights. Seeing the problems within the school firsthand, and knowing hundreds of students who still attend our schools, gives me an excellent advantage in knowing the true situation and problems within our district.

I have been active in advocacy at both the local, state and national level, and have a great passion for volunteering. I have fought to enact Charlie’s law and have advocated for ADA rights. I am also a passionate leader in the Cherry Hill community. I have led walkouts to protest for improved school security. I have petitioned to help solve the contract dispute and bring the teachers back to extracurriculars at East. I currently work in the United States Congress, where I attend educational briefings on a weekly basis and hears from world renowned experts in the field. With these views, I am capable of providing new innovative ideas that work and save money. My knowledge of federal programs can further the Cherry Hill educational program.

First and foremost, I understand what it means to be a Cherry Hill student. I am committed to providing the best education for our students, in the safest way possible. I have shown time and time again that the students come first, and these are the ideals I will practice when serving you as your Board of Education representative.

Name: Rosy Arroyo

Age: 35

Occupation: Senior Human Services Planner/Camden County Youth Service Commission Administrator

Clubs/Organizations: Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., Camden County Federation of Democratic Women

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

I am excited to be running for a seat on the Cherry Hill Board of Education. As a parent of two young children I look forward to the opportunity and success that a quality education can bring them. A quality education should encompass equitable, inclusive, diverse, and safe academic environments that allow our children and youth to prosper.

I am passionate about bringing people together to plug into solutions that will strengthen our school system and improve opportunities for all children. I believe that one of the best ways to achieve this is by incorporating youth and family voices through an effective engagement platform that will allow the Cherry Hill school district to build successful and sustainable partnerships within the community. This will support transparency and clearer communication between the administration and the community.

Part of developing stronger internal school practices that support equitable, inclusive, diverse and safe academic environments is the ability to enhance and support school staff at all levels. My experience in convening stakeholders, children, youth and families in supporting the implementation of positive youth development strategies into community programming, schools, and systems will only add to what already exists and enable our children to have the best opportunities that they deserve. This will prepare them for their future as well as allow their parents to be the voices that they need to succeed in life.

Name: Sally Tong

Occupation: Health and Wellness Consultant

Team designation: Accountability, Collaboration, Transparency (ACT)

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Chinese Language Initiative Group, Member; Cherry Hill Fair Funding Committee, Member; Rosa Middle School and Cherry Hill East High School PTAs, Membe; Chinese American Women Sisterhood Society of Philadelphia, Vice President; Armed Forces Veterans, Director/Fundraising/Public Relations; Asian American Women’s Coalition, Member

Name: Laurie Neary

Age: 41

Occupation: Strategic Sourcing Manager

Team Designation: Accountability, Collaboration, Transparency (ACT)

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Cherry Hill Fair Funding Committee, Member; Cherry Hill Special Education PTA, Vice President; Kingston PTA, Member

Name: David Rossi

Age: 52

Occupation: Sales Executive

Team Designation: Accountability, Collaboration, Transparency (ACT)

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Cherry Hill Special Education PTA, Member; Sharp PTA, Advocacy Chair; Volunteers of America — Delaware Valley, Advisory Board Member

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

Like many of our neighbors and friends, we chose to make Cherry Hill home for the excellent schools and wonderfully vibrant, diverse community. We are proud to be from Cherry Hill and look forward to making our school district even better through a set of values we would each bring to the Board of

Education (BOE). We aim to:

· Create a culture of accountability within the BOE and administration to make both bodies answerable to the students, staff and residents in making decisions that will have positive impact.

· Provide a healthy and safe environment for our students and staff, while being fiscally responsible.

· Improve our buildings and facilities while developing a long-range plan to build modern, efficient, new school buildings equipped to meet educational and security needs of the present and future.

· Collaborate with all stakeholders (including administration, staff, students, parents and community members) to ensure everyone has a seat at the table to create a long-range vision for the future of our town’s education and reputation (important to all taxpayers).

· Ensure all students reach their potential through respect and understanding of the many cultures and learning styles in our community, focusing on and developing individual strengths, while collaborating to create a positive school climate.

· Foster transparency through consistent, open communication and work to develop innovative ways to engage the community in dialogue and incorporate input into decision-making using current platforms to reach as many community members as possible.

Name: Sanjay Sharma

Age: 44

Occupation: Information Technology Director

Team Designation: Kids Education First

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Indian Temple Association, School PTA, etc.

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

I am a proud resident of Cherry Hill Township for over 7 years, where I and my wife, Indu, are raising our two beautiful children Aarav and Samaira. Both our kids attend Cherry Hill public school.

I have a bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics and physics with a minor in chemistry from University of Gorakhpur in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

I am a director level IT professional responsible for managing data applications and platforms for a global Philadelphia based company. Before the aforesaid role, I worked in several Fortune 500 companies as project lead and software developer. I have been working in the healthcare, insurance, finance, retail, manufacturing and IT consulting sector for more than 21 years. My wife, Indu, has always been active in PTA activities at our children’s schools over the years. Last year she was the room parent for our younger daughter’s class.

I immigrated from India in the year 1999 to the USA and became naturalized U.S. citizen in the year 2009. I lived in many states before deciding to make Cherry Hill our home and raise our family here.

I am running for Cherry Hill Board of Education because I think education is a kid’s fundamental right. With so much competition and hard work needed by the kids to succeed in their personal and professional life, I want to contribute to the future of all of the children with innovative and cutting edge education curriculum and pedagogy. For the kids to realize their full and inherent potential, they need holistic approach in imparting education. No kid should be left behind.

Name: Brunia Pilet

Age: 43

Occupation: Architect

Team Designation: Kids Education First

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Kingsway Church, South Jersey Young Democrats

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

My name is Brunia Pilet and I have been a Cherry Hill resident for over 15 years and a proud parent of 5 children; four of which graduated from Cherry Hill West High school and one still at Joyce Kilmer Elementary.

I have a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Goc University, and I have been an active member of the Cherry Hill community since moving to Cherry Hill to have the kids join the good public school system in Cherry Hill but that was over 10 years ago and the schools need improvements in our student’s performance hence why I am running.

I am also a volunteer with my church, Kingsway Church, and has been a member of the PTA for Clara Burton Elementary, Carusi Middle School and Cherry Hill West high school during the years my four kids attended the schools. However, I am still an active parent with a vested interest in the Cherry Hill schools for over 8 years to come with my son still going to Joyce Kilmer Elementary.

I believe all our children’s education should be our first priority. When we put kids education first, we not only will improve our school district’s performance to what it was when I moved to Cherry Hill over 15 years ago but our property values will also be positively impacted. I am committed to fostering collaboration between our teachers, students and the community as a whole to avoid the resent uprising on issues from security, middle school trips or proposed consolidation of school that made our feel left out in decision making.

Name: Fredrick Dande

Age: 39

Occupation: IT Manager

Team Designation: Kids Education First

Clubs/Organizations you belong to: Bethel Church, South Jersey Democrats, Cherry Hill Deer Park Rehab 13, Cub Scouts troop 170, Former Cooper Elementary PTA member, Former Board Member Junior Achievement of NJ.

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

As an IT manager in the financial service industry, a college adjunct instructor and a father of three children in the Cherry Hill school district, I have the strong educational background and experience parents would demand from the BOE members. I have an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.S. in technology management from New Jersey Institute of Technology and I am pursuing a PhD in technology management from Indiana State University.

I strongly believe that students are able to meet their fullest potential in a caring, secure and stimulating environment that supports their growth and maturity emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially. The key to achieving each student’s full potential is our talented teachers’ ability to enable students’ natural curiosity in directing their learning, and the promotion of respect for everyone. My background endows me with the strong educational and experience needed to achieve the success Cherry Hill parents and students deserve for our schools.

I have volunteered with the JF Cooper Elementary PTA, Deer Park Fire Company — Rehab 13, Boys Scouts Pack 170 and as a parent of three children in the Cherry Hill School district, I am asking for every vote from Cherry Hill residents to be every parent’s voice in making our schools better for our kids’ growth. By putting our kid’s education first I plan to be involved in decision-making that supports our students, in a transparent and ethical manner. One priority that I will work together in solving is the state of the infrastructure (including IT) and buildings within our 19 schools.

Name: J. Barry Dickinson, PhD

Age: 55

Occupation: Dean, School of Business Administration, Holy Family University

Team designation: Dickinson-Tomlinson-Judge: Experience-Vision-Responsible

Clubs/organizations: American Marketing Association, Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, Bensalem Business Association

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

I am running for re-election to the BOE because it is very personally rewarding. I believe a quality education is the key to success in life. I work as an educator. My wife is a middle-school teacher. We have two children who are products of the Cherry Hill school district and are very successful.

As a BOE member, I get the opportunity to contribute directly to the educational experience of the 11,000 students in the district. Being involved with meeting new employees, viewing theatrical and musical performances, recognizing individual student achievements, and attending graduation are some of my most favorite activities. It is at these moments when you get to see the results of our hard work.

I have had the honor to be a member of the BOE for the last six years, serving as President for the last two. I have learned quite a bit in this time. I believe this experience is key to being a strong BOE member. The operation of a large district like ours is very complex.

We have made some difficult decisions this year. We permitted armed campus police into the schools for the first time. We will be introducing full-day kindergarten next fall. We will be asking voters to approve a bond referendum on Dec. 11 to finance critical building improvements. Each of these decisions required balancing many factors. The Dickinson-Tomlinson-Judge slate is a dedicated, experienced team who has the best interests of all the children of Cherry Hill at heart.

Name: Ken Tomlinson, Jr.

Age: 32

Occupation: Chief Financial Officer and Venture Services Director

Team Designation: Dickinson- Tomlinson — Judge Experience — Vision — Responsible

Clubs/Organizations: Joyce Kilmer PTA, Carusi PTA, Cub Scout Pack 146, Kids Konnect Sunday School at Hope United Methodist Church

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

I have chosen to run for re-election to the BOE because I believe in equipping our students to thrive in the 21st century. I have three children currently attending Cherry Hill schools and one who will be eligible for pre-school next year. My children have already spent nearly a decade in Cherry Hill schools, with 14 to go.

As a member of the BOE, I’ve had the opportunity to directly impact the educational opportunities within our community. I cherish the opportunities that I’ve had to share in the amazing talents of our students through their academic works, athletics and the arts. I’m continually humbled by the care and compassion demonstrated by all of our staff.

It has been a great honor to serve for the past three years on the BOE. It has been an uncommon experience that I’ve spent learning and understanding how our 19 schools, 11,500 students and over 1,000 faculty and staff work together. It is this experience and understanding that I believe empowers me to be a strong and effective board member.

My time on the board has been full of challenges but also joys. We will be implementing full-day kindergarten in fall of 2019. We will be asking voters to approve a critical bond referendum to critically improve our facilities for future generations. We’ve also ratified a contract with our teachers earlier than ever. The Dickinson-Tomlinson-Judge slate is a dedicated, experienced team who has the best interests of all the children of Cherry Hill at heart.

Name: Kathryn Bay Judge

Age: 57

Occupation: At-home mom/volunteer

Team Designation: Dickinson — Tomlinson — Judge Experience — Vision — Responsible

Clubs/Organizations: Camden County Education Services Commission Board of Directors since 2011, NJSBA Legislative Committee since 2014, Garden State Coalition of Schools Executive Board since 2012, Sunday morning education program for children at Our Light Catholic Church

Why are you running for Cherry Hill Board of Education?

It has been a privilege to serve the Cherry Hill community on the Board of Education for the past 10 years. Like most of us, my husband and I moved to Cherry Hill in 1999 because of the excellent reputation of the school system. In addition to an excellent education, our children gained many wonderful life experiences in our schools. I have served on all five BOE committees. I served as vice president of the BOE from 2011–2013 and was elected BOE President for two years in 2013. It has been an honor representing Cherry Hill throughout the state at NJSBA meetings, as well as testifying before the Senate and Assembly Education Committees, and advocating formally and informally with both local and state representatives for more equitable funding for our schools. Maintaining collaborative relationships with our local and state leaders is imperative for the future of our schools. I am proud that we will introduce full-day kindergarten in the 2019–20 school year. I am very excited to oversee the bond referendum on Dec. 11, the first referendum that Cherry Hill has initiated in almost 20 years to finance critical building improvements. I earned the NJSBA Master Board Member honor in 2016. I hope I have earned the opportunity to serve for three more years. The Dickinson-Tomlinson-Judge slate is a dedicated, experienced team who has the best interests of all the children of Cherry Hill at heart.