HomeCherry Hill NewsBoard renames buildings for two education figures

Board renames buildings for two education figures

Lewis and Malberg honored for roles in school district

Residents and officials of the Cherry Hill school district celebrate the renaming of two buildings on June 3: The Estelle Malberg Early Childhood Center (previously known as the Barclay Early Childhood Center, and the Arthur Lewis Administration Building, (previously the Malberg Administration Building. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

Cherry Hill school officials joined the community on June 3 for the official renaming of the district’s administration and early child-care center buildings.

Last year, the board decided to honor the late Arthur Lewis, the first African American to serve on the district’s board of education, by renaming the Estelle Malberg Administration Building after him. 

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Malberg, a special-education advocate, had the Barclay Early Childhood Center after her. 

Lewis served on the school board from 1977 to 1983 and worked for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, which his daughter, Jennifer Lewis-Hall, said combined his youthful interest in becoming a pharmacist or lawyer.

Before his death in 2019, Lewis founded the Cherry Hill African American Civic Association (CHAACA). At the renaming ceremony for the administration building, Lewis-Hall recalled her father’s journey to becoming a board member.

“ … He asked if I could write a letter and explain why I thought he would be an admirable candidate as a school board member,” she recalled. “This man had thousands of people working for him (and) a presidential appointment by Jimmy Carter, and he felt it was important for his daughter to write a letter to express – only if she believed it – that he would be a formidable candidate.”

Father and daughter then stood on the corners of shopping centers to meet and talk with people.

“He said, ‘This is what you do. If you believe in something and people don’t know you, you have to go out and tell them who you are,’” Lewis-Hall added.

As previously reported in The Sun, Malberg served in education for 20 years as a teacher, principal, curriculum coordinator, assistant superintendent and coordinator of special services. Born in 1907, she began teaching in Cherry Hill (then Delaware Township) in 1934 and was the first certified school psychologist in South Jersey.

Karen Rockhill, principal of the early childhood center, acknowledged Malberg’s  contributions during the renaming ceremony.

“Estelle Malberg was ahead of her time,” she noted. “As early as the 1940s, her professional message was that early childhood was not a time of intellectual or social latency but an opportunity to tap into each child’s potential. 

“She saw the potential of all students and was a pioneer in the field of early- childhood special education.”

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Meloche noted that while a banner is hung at both renamed buildings for now, official signage will appear in the future. 


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