Meet the Candidates: Cherry Hill BOE 2016


We invited school board candidates from each of our coverage areas to submit short biographies of themselves to inform voters ahead of the November 8 elections.

By Matt Skoufalos | November 4, 2016

This Election Day (November 8) Cherry Hill, like many towns in the area, has a contested school board election, with four 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.

2016 Cherry Hill BOE candidate Fredrick Dande. Credit: Fredrick Dande.

Fredrick Dande (challenger)

Fredrick Dande is a father of three children who attend Cherry Hill schools.

Dande works as an IT manager in the financial service industry and is a college adjunct instructor. He formerly served on the board of Junior Achievement of New Jersey, an organization focused on financial literacy for children.

Dande has an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MS in technology management from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and is pursuing a PhD in technology nanagement from Indiana State University.

He is a regular reviewer for ACM publications, a presenter at IEEE conferences, a blogger for Network World, and a United Way and Philabundance volunteer.

What is your philosophy of education?

“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.”

Why would you like to serve on the school board?

“As an active volunteer at JF Cooper elementary, and 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’ mental and emotional growth. As the children’s and parents’ voice, I plan to be involved in decision-making that supports our students, Cherry Hill families, and the Cherry Hill school district employees 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.”

What are the biggest challenges for Cherry Hill schools?

“Looking across all our 19 schools, it’s easy to notice the state of the facilities that are in need of repair and/or maintenance to ensure all our children have fully functional and safe facilities. With the district only receiving $12.2 million per year, on average, from the state, the lack of full funding is a priority which will involve working with our local leadership and having a voice to negotiate a fare funding for Cherry Hill in Trenton. I have proven negotiation skills that are much needed for our school district.”

What are the biggest strengths of Cherry Hill schools?

“In talking to many parents and residents, one common attraction has been the quality of our public school system! As a board member, I plan to continue building on the several strengths of our school district while getting the community involved by openly communicating. With a Niche 2016 State ranking as the 53rd-best school district in New Jersey, there is room for improvement.”

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

“I would like to continue working on a fiscal policy that will continue to keep our district budget balanced and start a more aggressive initiative for fair funding of all the state mandates. Working to ensure our kids have clean and well-maintained playing fields, and more importantly, that our teachers and staff have the right technology to support their hard work, would be key to me.”

2016 Cherry Hill BOE Candidate Ian Morris. Credit: Ian Morris.

2016 Cherry Hill BOE Candidate Ian Morris. Credit: Ian Morris.

Ian Morris (challenger)

Ian Morris is a 10-year Cherry Hill resident with two daughters in the township public school system.

Morris, who has spent the past 16 years in the field of information technology, is an infrastructure administrator and IT director of technology.

What is your philosophy of education?

“All children can achieve success given a quality education.”

Why would you like to serve on the Cherry Hill school board?

“With two daughters in the school system, I have a vested interest to see Cherry Hill continue to succeed, and to make sure that all students have a roadmap to success. I believe that by combining both my business and life experiences, we will have a stronger school system that will continue to attract and keep families here. It is the Board of Education’s responsibility for making sure the district and schools are well run, giving children, parents and teachers the tools needed to succeed.”

What are the biggest challenges for the Cherry Hill school district?

“There are several challenges that the district faces. The infrastructure of our schools and transparent communication including budget/spending are two key challenges. Keeping up technologically is also a challenge.”

What are the biggest strengths of the Cherry Hill school district?

“Our teachers are dedicated and inspirational. The hard work they do to help our children succeed is one of our biggest strengths.”

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

“The three key issues I’ll focus on are infrastructure, budget/fair funding and technology in the schools.”

Cherry Hill BOE Candidate Ruth Schultz. Credit: Ruth Schultz.

Cherry Hill BOE Candidate Ruth Schultz. Credit: Ruth Schultz.

Ruth Schultz (challenger)

Ruth Schultz and her husband moved to Cherry Hill eight years ago from Denver, Colorado after the birth of her first child; today, their two children both attend Sharp Elementary School.

Schultz is an inside sales manager with McKesson Medical Surgical, and has had a 12-year career in inside sales and relationship management with extensive market knowledge in healthcare distribution and vendor finance.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and information system science from Salve Regina University.

Philosophy of Education:

“All children deserve an equal opportunity to learn and receive the best education possible. Educational staff should have the necessary tools needed to provide students with an enriching education. The ability to provide education should be a cooperative effort among the schools, the parents, and the community.”

Why would you like to serve on the school board?

“I made the decision to run for the Cherry Hill School Board based on my passion and drive to enrich the schools in the district. In sharing views on education with my husband who has been a teacher for 12 years, I was inspired to become involved with my local PTA. I began to serve as a member of its advocacy committee, and I realized that I wanted to be more involved in decisions and developments within the school system. Because both of my children are currently in elementary school, I hope my involvement will influence changes that positively impact the future of the district.”

What are the biggest challenges for Cherry Hill schools?

“Some of the biggest challenges that I feel the Cherry Hill School district faces are the lack of funding received from the state, the depleting infrastructure of our schools and facilities, and difficulties settling on teacher contracts.”

What are the biggest strengths of Cherry Hill schools?

“I feel that the biggest strength of our district is the quality of our educators, which is clearly demonstrated by our students’ achievements. Keeping our educators is vitally important to the success of the district. Cherry Hill schools have also built an extremely positive reputation, which we have maintained over the years through dedication to educating students.”

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

“If elected, I would focus on funding for our school district, developing a strategic partnership to help improve the depleting infrastructure, and partnering with our educators to build a more cohesive working relationship.”

Other Balloted Candidates

Also appearing on the ballot are incumbent board members Steven Robbins and Jane Scarpellino and challengers Joseph Gerace and Edward Wang. The Cherry Hill Zone PTA sponsored a candidate forum October 19, video from which is available here.


**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. Tuesday, November 1. We will not update these profiles beyond that time.

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