As the parent of two CBSD students and educator myself, I have a full understanding of the complexities of school communities. I feel strongly about serving on the school board because our schools are such an integral part of our community. Supporting strong, healthy, and competent development of our children is not only important to the future of our children, it’s important right now for our community. When parents know their children are being supported, they can take a breath. Even those of us who do not have children in the schools still benefit from living in a school district that has a reputation for excellence. Research shows that there is a strong relationship between community satisfaction and quality schools -- whether folks have children or not. The researchers concluded that, “public school quality uniquely contributes to community satisfaction”.
I am a professor of Education at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, NJ and have been for the past 16 years. My goal is to prepare my students to be excellent teachers of content and strong advocates for positive child development. I have also developed and implemented after school programs in Philadelphia in addition to conducting large scale evaluations of existing programs. While in Philadelphia, I was also the Dean of a College House at the University of Pennsylvania where my role was largely about supporting the transition from high school to college in a way that fosters student success. And, in the way back machine, you will find me getting my certification to teach Special Education.
I also have experience with mental health counseling. I have previously worked with Contact Rape Care in Burlington County, NJ as both the education outreach coordinator and doing short-term crisis counseling for survivors of sexual assault. I am currently a trainer for a program called Youth Mental Health First Aid and have trained many current and future educators on ways to support youth who may be struggling.
Lastly, I am a big advocate for the arts. I have edited a book on using the arts in teaching and this is a focus of my own teaching and research. In fact, I have led several after school programs at Doyle elementary focusing on performing arts.
CBSD Mission and Vision
Over the past year, CBSD has experienced unprecedented challenges. School closures due to Covid have been difficult for families, for students, and for school teachers and staff. These sorts of challenges come and go and Covid won’t be the last.
The role of the Board is to work toward making the Mission and Vision of the District a reality. Each decision they make should be with the mission and vision in mind. CBSD also shares a list of belief statements that include; 1) providing challenging academic programs delivered by capable and caring staff, 2) respecting the uniqueness of each child and developing a sense of belonging, tolerance and lifelong learning, 3) creating and maintaining safe, respectful and supportive learning environments, and 4) striving for continuous improvement through shared decision making and ongoing staff development.
The belief statements shared by CBSD are a strong statement for the values of our district. I share these beliefs with the district and commit to serving the Board with them at the forefront of my work.
In order to do this work with fidelity, I will listen to parents, students, teachers, and all other members of our community. No matter how much scholarly expertise I have in education, the lived experience of those in our community is the most important data I can collect. I want to know if our citizens think our district is living up to its stated beliefs. I want to know if and how our children, their families, and our schools are experiencing support, a sense of belonging, and a safe and respectful learning environment. CBSD has an important role in helping our kids be the best they can be and prepare them for a limitless future. I know I can help CBSD fulfill that responsibility.