Cherry Hill board of ed swears in three members at meeting

School district continues to search for a ninth member

The Cherry Hill Public Schools Board of Education swore in three board members at its reorganization meeting on Jan. 4, all of whom were victorious in the November election.

Following the swearing in of Jennifer Fleisher, Benjamin Rood and incumbent Sally Tong, former board Vice President Kimberly Friddell nominated Ben Ovadia for  president, a vote approved unanimously by members.

Following the swearing in of Jennifer Fleisher, Benjamin Rood and incumbent Sally Tong, former board Vice President Kimberly Friddell nominated Ben Ovadia for president, a vote approved unanimously by members.

Another order of business was appointing members as district representatives. Rosy Arroyo accepted the nomination to be the district’s representative to the Camden County School Boards Association Executive Committee, previously held by Carol Matlack. Tong volunteered to be the district representative to the New Jersey School Boards Association, previously held by Miriam Stern, and Ineda Elmore-Stratton volunteered to serve as the district representative to the Camden County Educational Services Commission. 

Ovadia confirmed with Superintendent Joseph Meloche that the Committee of the Whole Meetings listed were not binding and that the board would be able to make further decisions on whether or not to proceed with previous practice.

During the meeting’s public comment portion, 10th grade class president at Cherry Hill East Crystal Yeh shared her concerns over how COVID is being handled the same at all three student levels (elementary, middle and high school) when high schools are so condensed. She asked the board to consider moving classes to remote, at least for the next few weeks until the holiday surge dies down. 

“We don’t want to be in person,” Yeh said. “We want to be virtual, we want to be home and we want to be safe. We want to prioritize our health more than we care about our education at this current moment. We can still learn in the safety of our homes.”

Yeh noted a petition circulating online that had 250 signatures. As of Jan. 5, it has 456 signatures, but contains health concerns over the surge in COVID cases as well as a staff shortage in a linked petition as reasons to move to remote learning. The sentiment was also echoed by Cherry Hill High School East parent Jenny Yuan later in the meeting.

In other news:

The board is searching for a ninth member to replace Carol Matlack, who stepped down in December. Those interested in filling the position should send a letter of interest and resume to assistant superintendent and Board Secretary Lynn Shugars at 45 Ranoldo Terrace, Cherry Hill, 08034 or email lshugars@chclc.org by Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. 

The board will receive the applicant information that day, discuss applicants and select interviewees in an executive session on Jan. 18.  Appointment and introduction of the new board will be on Feb. 8.

The next board of education meeting will be on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Malberg Administration building.