Meet the Candidates: Cherry Hill BOE 2017


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

By Matt Skoufalos | November 1, 2017

This Election Day (November 7) Cherry Hill, like many towns in the area, has a 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.

Fredrick Dande. Credit: Fredrick Dande.

Fredrick Dande (Challenger)

Fredrick Dande is an IT manager in the financial service industry, a college adjunct instructor, and a father of three children in the Cherry Hill school district.

He 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 management from Indiana State University.

Locally, Dande volunteers with the JF Cooper Elementary PTA, Deer Park Fire Company – Rehab 13, and Boys Scouts Pack 170.

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 Cherry Hill 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 the Cherry Hill school district?

“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 demand fare funding for Cherry Hill schools from the State. I have proven negotiation skills that are much needed for our school district.”

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

“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. Together let’s put our children first hence my focus on our children and our schools!”

Carol Matlack. Credit: Carol Matlack.

Carol Matlack (Incumbent)

Carol Matlack is a seven-year members of the Cherry Hill Board of Education, and was twice elected its president.

Matlack, a 29-year township resident and mother of four, is also vice-president of the Camden County School Boards Association.

She has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Marywood University, and has been a teacher, curriculum developer, and administration at the early childhood level.

Matlack also volunteers with her church, The Catholic Community of Christ Our Light, coordinating its Elementary Faith Formation Home Study Program.

What is your philosophy of education?

“I believe all children deserve the opportunity to learn and grow to their full potential in a nurturing, caring, safe environment. Parents, community members and the schools need to work together to provide this for Cherry Hill’s children.”

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

“It is a privilege and an important responsibility to serve on the school board. Our children are our greatest resource. I believe I have the vision and experience needed to build upon the excellent educational foundation of our schools so future Cherry Hill students can enjoy success for years to come.”

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

“Cherry Hill Schools face many challenges ahead. Our biggest and most immediate challenge is our aging buildings. For the health and safety of our students and staff, we need to focus our resources on addressing and improving our infrastructure.”

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

“We have a lot to be proud of in our schools. The dedicated and caring teachers and staff we have working with our children every day are among the best in the state. Our curriculum is innovative and challenging. We set high expectations for our students and we give them the support they need to meet those academic challenges.”

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

“If elected, my focus will be on our aging school buildings, our children, and our lack of state funding. Our buildings are old and have reached a critical health and safety point where they need not only to be fixed but also updated. With the passage of a bond referendum, and no increase in taxes, the district could make significant improvements to our schools.

“We need to invest in our youngest students by providing full-day kindergarten in each of our neighborhood schools and by expanding our preschool offering to serve more children. We need to keep the pressure on Trenton to give us our fair share of state funding that has been denied to us for so many years so that we can continue to provide a preeminent education to Cherry Hill’s children.”

Other Balloted Candidates

Also appearing on the ballot are incumbent board members Eric Goodwin and Lisa Saidel and challenger Sally Tong.


**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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