NJ Pen 2021 Election Coverage: Meet the Haddon Township Board of Education Candidates


We invited the candidates for the Haddon Township Board of Education to tell voters a little about themselves ahead of the vote. Here’s how they responded.

By Matt Skoufalos | November 1, 2021

On November 2, voters in Haddon Township will choose from among four balloted candidates for three seats on the borough school board. Incumbents James Lex, David Ricci, and Allison Rodman face challenger Mark W. Henley, Jr.

We invited everyone to reply to the same set of prompts, telling voters about themselves, their priorities, and their views of the current state of the community. Answers were edited for clarity and length.

Jim Lex. Credit: Jim Lex.

James Lex (Incumbent)

James Lex, 48, is the Acting Executive Director of the Camden County Improvement Authority, and a married father of three Haddon Township High School students.

Lex, who’s served on the Haddon Township Board of Education for six years, enjoys coaching youth sports, cycling, playing tennis and other sports, and participating in town-wide clean-ups.




What is your philosophy of education?

I wish I had a great philosophy of education. My time on the board taught me to listen and ask questions about budgets, curriculum, and student services.

I leave the philosophy of education to the education professionals. My job is to make sure the superintendent is running the schools as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Why would you like to serve on the Haddon Township school board?

Having spent the last six years on the board, I understand the demands of the job. There are hard decisions that we face, and having that experience to guide the process is needed. The job requires making hard choices, and I love making a difference for the district and the town.

What are the biggest challenges Haddon Township schools face?

  • Dealing with the long-term impact students will have from COVID-19
  • Managing the budget and the demands to expand programs but keep taxation stable
  • Finding and maintaining teaching staff and other support staff
  • Bringing the district to higher academic levels
  • Balancing the elementary schools

What are the biggest strengths of Haddon Township schools?

The overall community is the district’s biggest strength. This community supports the academics, athletics, and the arts programs. Having moved here over 14 years ago for the school district, I want to ensure we continue to keep the district moving in the right direction. I want the community to continue to see the district as a great asset to the overall town.

What are three key issues on which you’d like to focus if elected?

Having more community-based meetings. The [grade-school]  alignment issue is not going away, and we need to work together as a town to solve the enrollment problem.

Improving the middle- and high-school campuses. The referendum was a win for the schools, but there is still work to be done.

Improving programs that better the district. We are working on addressing full-day kindergarten, but there are other services that will need to be addressed. For example, finding qualified science and math teachers to fill open positions has been a challenge.

We know the budget constraints, but we will have to see what other measures are needed to bring qualified teachers to the district and keep the ones we have.


Allison Rodman. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.

Allison Rodman (Incumbent)

Educational consultant Allison Rodman works with districts, schools, and businesses focused on professional learning.

Rodman has served on the Haddon Township Board of Education for six years (three as vice president), represented the board on the district Mission and Vision and Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) Committees, and holds a Master Board Member Certification from the New Jersey School Boards Association.

She also volunteers as a Girl Scout leader.

The Rodman family has lived in Haddon Township for 16 years in both the West Collingswood Extension and Haddonleigh neighborhoods, and has three children enrolled at Van Sciver Elementary School, Rohrer Middle School, and Haddon Township High School.

What is your philosophy of education?

I believe students are unique individuals, with their own interests, strengths, growth opportunities, and personalities. It is educators’ responsibility to foster positive relationships with students, and to act as facilitators rather than as deliverers of knowledge.

Students should drive their own inquiry and engage in meaningful and authentic assignments. Life does not fit in neatly defined boxes, and learning experiences should be “messy” if we are truly preparing students for the real world.

The endgame should not be a series of bubbles on a standardized test, but rather, cultivating citizens who are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

Why would you like to serve on the Haddon Township school board?

I believe my professional experience coupled with my personal investment in the Haddon Township community make me a strong candidate for school board reelection.

Some view a position on their local board of education as a gateway to make change; others see it as a political step to other elected offices. I view it as an opportunity to offer my perspective and experience to a community I deeply value and want to thrive.

I bring to the board experience as a teacher, instructional coach, school leader, and consultant. In my work, I provide professional learning and leadership coaching services to a wide variety of urban, suburban, and rural districts, charter schools, independent schools, over 20 archdioceses, and over 60 international sites for the Department of Defense Education Activity.

I have authored two books (second to be released in 2022) and written for Educational Leadership on professional learning, effective teams, and educator social emotional wellness. I hope to have the opportunity to continue to serve our community as a member of the Haddon Township Board of Education.

What are the biggest challenges Haddon Township schools face?

One of the biggest challenges the Haddon Township school district continues to face is balancing a budget that meets the growing needs of a high-quality PreK-12 educational experience.

Our community is deeply committed to maintaining our neighborhood-based elementary schools, not just for tradition’s sake, but for the strong relationships, sense of community, and whole-child benefits they provide.

I hope to continue to have the opportunity to engage with our community in a solutions-oriented way to maintain neighborhood elementary schools, while also retaining highly qualified and experienced educators and providing comprehensive middle- and high-school arts, athletics, and extracurricular programming.

This will require an increase in student enrollment as well as creative solutions, such as the recently adopted “dotted line” elementary enrollment model. While this will be a challenge, I believe it is one we are poised to collectively meet.

What are the biggest strengths of Haddon Township schools?

The biggest strength of our town is also the biggest strength of our schools: that we are a true community. While we do not always share similar views, we respect one another and operate first and foremost in the best interest of our children.

If re-elected to school board, I pledge to uphold these values and continue to work to make Haddon Township a place where both students and community thrive.

What are three key issues on which you’d like to focus if elected?

The first week of December, community focus groups will be reconvened to continue our district-wide mission and vision work, and to inform the board of education and administration’s strategic planning process.

I look forward to gathering additional community input to guide the board’s areas of focus and future decision-making. As a part of these conversations, I plan to surface the following three key opportunities for the Haddon Township school community:

  • Increase enrollment through continued improvements to district communication and marketing
  • Further strengthen students’ early childhood foundation through the preservation of neighborhood schools, addition of full day Kindergarten, and expansion of PreK programming
  • Enhance student, educator, and community wellness through multi-year facilities planning that includes an updated athletic complex at middle/high school

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