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) Haddon Heights, 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.
Cara Blair (challenger)
For 11 years, Cara Blair and her husband have lived in her childhood hometown of Haddon Heights, and are raising three boys there.
An 11-year elementary school teacher, Blair has participated in the national People to People program, and serves on the Haddon Heights School Leadership Committee.
What is your philosophy of education?
“I believe optimal education is reached when the needs and curiosities of the whole child are allowed to be our driving forces. The balance of developmental appropriateness and academic rigor is vital in every aspect of a student’s educational journey. Our students are individual learners with individual needs, and their social, emotional and academic growth are all critical pieces to the puzzle of creating lifelong learners who are prepared to embark upon the world as well-rounded, confident, and successful contributors to society.”
Why would you like to serve on the school board?
“I am especially looking forward to giving back to a community that has given so much to me. With that in mind, it is an exciting time to live in Haddon Heights! There is an energy and optimism that is propelling our community forward, encouraging incredible growth and progress. I am eager to use my knowledge and experience as an educator to embrace and support current research and best practices that will assist our schools with that same forward motion.”
What are the biggest challenges for Haddon Heights schools?
“There are many minds at work in our school district, all with the best interest of our students in mind. However, with more open and effective communication, we can create a positive learning environment that provides all our students a place in which they will know no limits to their success. Determining how to implement new changes with limited budgets is not foreign to any district, but should never prohibit progress or thoroughness. As we continue to strive for academic excellence, we should never lose sight of what true student achievement and success look like. Success is much more than a test score.”
What are the biggest strengths of Haddon Heights schools?
“Our strengths as a district clearly lie in the vigor of our people: our teachers and staff as well as our parents and community members. We are an extremely fortunate community to have such passion and dedication in all of our schools. Haddon Heights’ teachers and staff are deeply invested in knowing our students and not just educating them but inspiring and believing in them also. Our parents and community members are consistently supportive and continually seeking to be involved, bringing with them their knowledge, experience, time and commitment.”
What are three key issues you would focus on if elected?
“As a board member, I would cultivate a positive and genuine line of communication with parents and community members, foster academic excellence for all students by balancing developmentally appropriate practices with state mandates, and wisely allocate funds to maximize resources for all our children.”
Other Balloted Candidates
Also appearing on the ballot are incumbent board member Jane Shissler and challengers Michael Cicalese and Lisa Long.
- Editorial: What to Consider When Voting in Your School Board Election
- Haddon Heights Sample Ballot
- Haddon Heights Polling Places
- Camden County Early Voting Center Information
**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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