Meet the Candidates: Pennsauken 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 7, 2016

This Election Day (November 8) Pennsauken, 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.

Cheryl Link (challenger)

Cheryl Link is the mother of three K-12 Pennsauken graduates. She has worked as the Central School PTA President, PYAA girls softball secretary and president, and is a former president and member of the Pennsauken Board of Education with a Master BOE certification.

What is your philosophy of education?

“I am well versed in the needs of the community and the responsibilities of the BOE to make sure the schools run well, and, provide the best education possible for our children. This must be done while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Pennsauken.

“I also strongly believe in transparency, following policies, by-laws and the accountability of the board, superintendent, business manager, and all stakeholders in the school district.”

Why would you like the serve on the school board?

“I will ask the questions, evaluate the recommendations, require the backup information, and analyze the decision-making impact on the children, staff and community. Agenda items are there to be discussed and not rubber stamped! As major stakeholders, parents/custodians are a vital part of a child’s education; all efforts must be made to engage and motivate them in school programs and activities at all levels. Communications is the key to success.”

What are the biggest challenges for Pennsauken schools?

“The Pennsauken School District has been allowed to deteriorate academically. This has to change. There must be consistency in the curriculum in the elementary schools so that when they move to the Intermediate School all will have the same academic foundation. This will unlock their potential and readiness for high school.

“Our college-bound children must have the academic skills needed to avoid remedial classes that too many have to take now, in addition to life skills. Not everyone will want to attend college. For those children the need is occupational/vocational training. This sector of the curriculum has been allowed to become almost non-existent, but I am pleased to hear that it is being revitalized.”

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

“Curriculum is an extremely important responsibility of the BOE. Any revisions must be fully evaluated and discussed before implementation to ensure that the criteria meets the changing needs of the children.

“Children need to learn. Children need to have all the resources available for effective learning. Children will make their educational experience successful, if done right.

“It is my endeavor that the Pennsauken district promotes a safe and healthy learning environment for all children and staff, and work towards restoring the school spirit and confidence that WILL make us Pennsauken Proud.
Now I am fighting once again! Our Children…Our Hope…Our Future!”

Jennifer Slattery (challenger)

Jennifer Slattery is a third-generation Pennsauken resident, a 1993 graduate of Pennsauken High School, and proud mother of four children, one of whom has already graduated the Pennsauken school district. She works as the Director of Nursing for an assisted living community and holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing.

What is your philosophy of education?

“My philosophy is to ask questions and to gather the facts I need in order to make an informed decision on how our tax dollars are being spent to best further our children’s educational opportunities as well as make sure safe and fair employment practices are being upheld.”

Why would you like the serve on the school board?

“My education and career has taught me how to work with others, to listen to what is being said, and how to base my decisions on what is best for all involved, without compromising the delivery of quality services. My overall professional experience includes over 10 years experience in management and administration, leading successful teams that care for others loved ones. Having the lives of someone’s loved one as well as the livelihood of my associates in my hands is a huge undertaking that I take very seriously.

“I have taken on the challenge of seeking public office because I want what is best not just for my children, but everyone’s children who attend school in our district. I want what is best for my fellow community members and make the most of our assets.

“I am a strong supporter for the improvement of Pennsauken Schools. We need to bring pride and enthusiasm back into Pennsauken Schools and make the changes necessary for our children to be able to succeed in life and for the employees to feel motivated and appreciated.”

What are the biggest challenges for Pennsauken schools?

“Currently the challenges we face is the need to raise the bar, but do so carefully and cautiously so that the children do not fall behind and that the teachers are given the time and tools they need to educate appropriately.”

“We also need to revamp the makeup and the line of thinking of the BOE so that they focus on the children and the staff, ask questions and do research before making decisions.”

What are the biggest strengths of Pennsauken schools?

“One of the biggest strengths of our district is the overwhelming sense of pride we have. Our community wants to be involved, they want to be in the know and they want to be heard.

“We also have an outstanding team of educators that want to TEACH. They are magnificent with the children and need to be able to also be heard, given the chance to spread their wings, to be recognized more for their outstanding services.”

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

“If elected, my key issues would be communication and transparency for all involved. I would also like to see the rekindling of a working relationship with our local drug and alcohol awareness program, PASA. But first, and foremost, I would like to see more focus on our children, providing them with opportunities to become well-educated and well-rounded young adults when they leave us. I want what is best for them as well as the staff, so that we can all work together to bring Pennsauken Schools back to its rightful spot of being one of the best.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with the other members of the Board of Education, and Superintendent of Schools to return the Pennsauken School District to a standard of excellence.

Mark Trost (challenger)

Mark Trost, 20, is a 2014 Pennsauken High School graduate, and a lifelong attendee of the Pennsauken school system since pre-school. Trost works part-time as a sales associate for American Eagle Outfitters and is a full-time Secondary Education major at Camden County College. He hopes to eventually become a teacher in the Pennsauken School District.

What is your philosophy of education?

“All students have the right to a productive and appropriate education. I believe that all students deserve an education that challenges their academic abilities, while giving them the appropriate social skills to function within society. Students should have an education that allows them to strive for their highest goals in life, and to one day make those goals a reality.”

Why would you like the serve on the school board?

“Being a recent graduate of the Pennsauken School District, I have the knowledge and understanding of what it is like to be in the schools. I hope to bring this to the board to collaborate with the other members in decision-making as well as coming up with ideas to better our schools. I want to be a member that goes into the schools and talks to administrators, teachers, students, and parents to hear their ideas and concerns. I want to take their information and bring it to the board.

“This will aid in the success of our district. When the board is a success, it allows for our teachers to succeed. When our teachers succeed, our students succeed. When our students succeed, the district succeeds, and when this happens, the community as a whole succeeds.”

What are the biggest challenges for Pennsauken schools?

“I believe that Pennsauken schools are great and diverse places for the education of our students. In order for schools to reach their highest potential however, there needs to be full involvement and support from the community. As far as involvement is concerned, yes the community is involved in the schools, but there needs to be more of that at the board meetings.

“Current board meetings have a low attendance from the public and we need to work to change that. We need to encourage community members to come out and voice concerns, opinions and praise, as well as to just know what is going on within the schools. We also need more support from the community. Unfortunately, especially on social media, there is a lot of negativity spewed about the schools.

“There are so many positive things that come out of the schools, but sadly it is overshadowed by the constant negativity. The Pennsauken School District is a great place to send your children, and we need to promote this. We need to show the positive aspects of our schools while we work diligently to fix any problems that arise. By doing so, we surround the district with a healthy, progressive, and positive environment, making our students proud to go there and allowing further success to occur.”

What are the biggest strengths of Pennsauken schools?

“The greatest strength of the Pennsauken schools is, by far, the people in them, from teachers to students, administrators and support staff. These people make the schools so great. Coming from Pennsauken schools, I got to experience some of the most caring, supportive, and hard working people I have ever met. We also have a district that is completely diverse. This allows for students and staff to learn new and exciting information from one another everyday. It also teaches qualities of acceptance, open-mindedness, and gives a sense of humility.”

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

“Our district and community are not the wealthiest and many of our students have barriers that are stacked against them. This does not stop our teachers and administrators from coming to work everyday to make sure our students get the best education that they can. They want nothing more than to see all of our students succeed and break through every single one of those barriers that hold them back.

“As a board member, I will do the same. I will have the backs of our administrators, teachers, support staff, students, parents, and community. Our district is great and I cannot wait to see it further progress in the years to come.

“On November 8, I hope all people 18 and older are registered and show up to vote. In this election, vote for your children and for the children of the community. Make your voice heard so that your future, your child’s future, and the future for all children is a bright and prosperous one.”

Other Balloted Candidates

Also appearing on the ballot are incumbent board president Nick Perry, incumbent board member JoAnn Young, and challenger Michael Stargell.


**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.

Get more local news that matters. Check out NJ Pen on Facebook and Twitter, or click here to become a supporter.


Comments are closed.