Meet the Candidates: Pennsauken BOE 2017


We invited school board candidates from each of our coverage areas to submit short biographies to inform voters ahead of the November 7 elections.

By Matt Skoufalos | November 2, 2017

This Election Day (November 7) Pennsauken has an contested school board election, with five candidates running for three open positions. NJ Pen invited everyone on the ballot to share a little about themselves with voters.** Here’s how they responded.

Nhuan Van. Credit: Nhuan Van.

Nhuan Van (Challenger)

Longtime Pennsauken resident and Pennsauken High School alumnus Nhuan Van is a marketing and sales analyst Tada Tech, and a member of the Pennsauken Environmental Commission.

What is your philosophy of education?

“I subscribe to five main principles of education.

“My first principle is that all children, regardless of their gender, age, disabilities, and culture(s)/ethnicities should have the opportunity to go to school and receive an adequate education.

“I want to make sure that our Pennsauken education programs are technologically modern at all grade levels.

“I also want to see our children enjoy learning in a safe environment.

“My second principle is that I want to make sure that resources and educational tools are easy to access and are affordable; to make sure that no child is left behind.

“The third principle: I strongly believe that every student, parent, teacher, alumni should be given an opportunity to voice their opinion(s) in an accepting environment without fear of reprisal.

“The fourth principle: that all members of the school board, the superintendent, the school administration, business manager, teachers, all stakeholders must follow all the policies of laws of the school system and the board of education, and all should be held accountable. I want to make sure that no group or individual in those categories becomes more dominant than any other group, and no one should overstep their boundaries.

“Lastly, the fifth principle: that we not just sit in the board meetings listening only to the school administration and superintendent allowing them to make all the decisions for the board of education members based on their own agendas.”

Why would you like to serve on the Pennsauken Board of Education?

“I want to serve because I feel indebted to the Pennsauken school system as a result of the excellent education I received which allowed me to become a good citizen. So now I want to give back to my community.”

What are the biggest challenges for the Pennsauken school district?

“To create a more responsive board of education. To do a more effective job managing the school administration, and especially oversee more closely than in the past the school superintendent. To improve & increase underpinning support of the school education tool systems and physical capital. To provide the latest, cutting-edge technology.”

What are the biggest strengths of the Pennsauken school district?

“One of the biggest strengths of Pennsauken school district is the diversity of students from varied cultural/ethnicities where they bond together and form lasting friendships with each of their classmates as they study together in the same classroom.

“They show their pride and school spirit through school activities such as sports, getting involved in community services, and participating in school clubs and organizations. Our district has excellent instructors who are passionate, dedicated, and committed to our students’ education.

“The teachers in our school system often receive low salaries while being neglected and not recognized enough by the school administration and superintendent commensurate with their excellent services. There is a good side to allowing teachers to voice their opinions, which will boost our school morale and ability to work together to further promote our student’s education.

“The Pennsauken community is a big supporter of Pennsauken sports teams, which is the pride and joy of our school system.”

What are three key issues you would focus on if elected?

“The Pennsauken school district is lacking a combination of three categories of instruction: life, social, and leadership skills into one program of critical thinking, which I believe has not been established in our school district yet.

“We need to teach our students the important values inherent in the aforementioned skills. The inculcation of this skill set will prepare the students for the challenges of the future.

“Another subset of skills we should instruct our students in are: resume preparation, interviewing skills, self-marketing skills, and public speaking. As a student at Rutgers, I attended several workshops under the generic heading of The Triangle Skills Program. We should copy & introduce this program in our curriculum.

“It is my mission to see Pennsauken establish a disability advisory board. The district is lacking a special education needs program for disabled students, and I would like to work alongside the parents of disabled students to better serve their special needs.”

Other Balloted Candidates

Also appearing on the November 7 ballot are challengers Michael Bortnowski, Jay Doscis, and Maria James, and incumbent Orlando Viera.


**Editor’s Note: Candidates who did not respond to our request for information may opt to e-mail answers to our prompts along with a photograph as late as 9 a.m. Monday, November 6. We will not update these profiles beyond that time.

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