NJ Pen Elections 2022: Meet the Cherry Hill School Board Candidates


This year, 10 Cherry Hill residents are running for four open seats on the borough Board of Education. We invited each of them to tell voters a bit about themselves in the lead-up to the election.

By Matt Skoufalos | October 29, 2022

On November 8, voters in Cherry Hill will choose from among 10 balloted candidates for four seats on the borough school board.

Sitting Cherry Hill Board of Education President Benjamin Ovadia is running against challenger Kimberly Gallagher to fill the unexpired term of Kim Friddell.

Gina Winters, who was appointed to replace Friddell in August, is seeking a three-year seat on the body, as are incumbent Joel Mayer and challengers Renee Cherfane, Cathy DiCampli, Nicholas GaudioAdam Greenbaum, Suni Reed, and Jennifer Sharman, who are vying for three additional, open seats.

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.

Cathy DeCampli. Credit: Cathy DeCampli.

Cathy DeCampli, 44 (Challenger)

Cathy DeCampli is a public librarian specializing in emerging technology and teen services.

The married mother of a school-aged child, DeCampli holds a master’s degree in in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Trinity Washington University.

In her spare time, she enjoys crafting and reading —especially history books and scary novels.


What is your philosophy of education?

I believe in a holistic approach to education, which includes preparing our children emotionally and intellectually for adulthood. There are important life skills — like critical thinking, social skills, managing emotions, teamwork, and overcoming adversity — that they can take beyond the classroom.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

The school district’s reputation is one of the reasons we moved here. I want to be a part of the effort to maintain the high standards that have allowed Cherry Hill students to thrive and succeed in an ever-changing world.

As a former school librarian, I was in a unique position to work with students, teachers, administrators, and parents. I believe that experience will be valuable to the school board.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

More than a billion students worldwide faced disruptions in their education due to the COVID pandemic. Although this is a great challenge for our district, it is one that comes with plenty of opportunities for collaboration and learning from the successes and failures of other districts.

Students’ educational needs should be met with a targeted approach, with the understanding that not every family was able to provide equal remote learning experiences.

What are the biggest strengths of the district?

Cherry Hill is fortunate to have engaged parents, informed students, and excellent teachers. This is a community that appreciates the diversity of its student body, and is working toward full inclusion.

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

  1. First, each school should have fully staffed libraries. Studies show that students achieve higher test scores when they attend schools with media centers staffed by a certified school library media specialist. These individuals are also experts in collaboration and integrating technology into the classroom. A fully funded library would include support staff, freeing the media specialist for lessons in technology, research, and media literacy.
  2. Second, students must have access to reading material free from political interference. According to PEN America, from July 2021 to June 2022, there were more than 2500 individual book bans in schools around the country. Of those, the majority featured LGBTQ themes and characters of color. Now there is a contingent in Cherry Hill trying to bring that activity here. As a board member, I would support our students’ right to read, and protect our teachers from slanderous name-calling.
  3. Finally, I would continue to advocate for the inclusion of social-emotional learning across the curriculum. Young people succeed in life when they are equipped to deal with the challenges of adulthood by managing their own emotions and working well with others.


Kimberly Gallagher. Credit: Kimberly Gallagher.

Kimberly Gallagher, 39 (Challenger)

Norwich University adjunct professor Kimberly Gallagher is a seven-year Cherry Hill resident and married mother to three school-aged children.

She holds an MBA in supply chain management from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Gallagher is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running, and is an athlete-ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society.

In her free time, she also volunteers with The Joy of Sox, a nonprofit that that provides socks to people experiencing homelessness.

What is your philosophy of education?

My philosophy of education is one that focuses on critical thinking. True critical thinking comes through open dialogue and feeling comfortable to ask questions

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

As a community member, taxpayer, and parent of two children in the district, I am sick of the district making poor decisions that have negative impacts on our students.

I am angry that the district only wants community engagement when it is asking for bond money, yet in normal times, would prefer the community to not pay attention.

Finally, from my point of view, the district is wasting our tax dollars.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

Increasing community engagement and reducing community division.

What are the biggest strengths of the district?

The education children our receive.

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

  1. Communication. The board needs to increase and improve how it communicates with the community. Having a bi-monthly email that highlights the Board meetings, minutes, agendas, and upcoming votes will help engage the community.
  2. District Consistency. Each teacher, principal and school communicates differently with the families. Creating a consistent plan on frequency, email design, etc. would help parents understand and hold accountability with its teachers and administration.
  3. Fiscal responsibility. Focus on using our tax money to benefit the students better. How is the district re-negotiating contracts? What can the district cut to keep quality but eliminate waste?


Adam Greenbaum. Credit: Adam Greenbaum.

Adam Greenbaum, 46 (Challenger)

Cyber-security engineer Adam Greenbaum is an 11-year Cherry Hill resident and married father of a school-aged child.

Greenbaum holds an MBA from Villanova University and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Rhode Island.

He’s worked in the aerospace and defense industries for 23 years, and enjoys gardening, mountain biking, and photography in his free time.



What is your philosophy of education?

I believe the purpose of public education should be twofold. It should provide children with the core knowledge to be educated citizens that are able to function in and contribute to society as successful adults. It should also provide a foundation for higher education, career aspirations, or vocational training. The goal of education is the mutual benefit of both individuals and society.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

I moved to Cherry Hill with my family eleven years ago, and the reputation of Cherry Hill schools was a big part of that decision. I am running for a seat on the Cherry Hill Board of Education to have a positive impact on my community and to be a part of that success story. I am passionate about education, and come from a family of educators.

As an involved parent, I have attended district board and committee meetings, town council meetings, and have closely followed the wide array of issues affecting our schools. I work as a cyber-security expert in the aerospace industry developing augmented reality solutions for spacecraft and satellites. I will bring analytical thinking, business acumen, and leadership skills to the school board.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

I believe school funding and the condition of our aging schools are the biggest challenges facing our district.

For years, Cherry Hill did not receive its fair share from the state. Through the hard work of the Fair Funding committee, Cherry Hill finally receives its full funding, and in the recent special election, a bond referendum was passed to provide funding to make up for the decades-long shortfall.

One of the biggest tasks faced by the board and administration will be to responsibly follow through with planned repairs and updates, while providing full transparency to the community.

What are the biggest strengths of the district?

Cherry Hill schools’ biggest strengths are its academics and amazing teachers and staff. Despite years of difficult budget decisions, the district did not compromise on what mattered most. Now that funding will be available to make necessary repairs and updates, the conditions of our schools can be brought up to par with their reputation for academic excellence.

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

Equity and inclusion are key principles that should continue to be incorporated into the district’s processes and goals. Identifying and removing barriers to learning ensures that everyone has the same opportunities to succeed. This can include income level, gender, ethnicity, mental and physical abilities, language, and a host of other factors. When we all start on equal footing, every child is able to live up to their full potential.

Accessibility is another critical issue for many in our community, and factors into equity and inclusion. Prioritizing ADA compliance throughout the district ensures students of all abilities have the opportunity to do their best. Accessibility is not just a goal, but an ongoing effort to ensure new projects are accessible, and older facilities are updated accordingly.


Joel Mayer. Credit: Jill Mayer.

Joel Mayer, 60 (Incumbent)

Compliance and ethics consultant Joel Mayer is a former prosecutor, regulatory counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer at the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.

A married father of three school-aged students, Mayer holds a law degree from Pepperdine University, bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Psychology from Syracuse University, and a certificate degree in leadership Development from Rutgers University.

Mayer was a community member of the Cherry Hill BOE safety and security committee prior to his appointment to the board in January 2022 to fill a vacancy.

He’s a 20-year Cherry Hill resident who’s spent 10 years as a travel coach for the Cherry Hill Soccer Club, enjoys playing drums and guitar, spending time with his family, and the outdoors.

What is your philosophy of education?

Because I am a sitting Board Member I am required to provide the following disclaimer in
accordance with relevant requirements of the State Code of Ethics for School Board members:
I am answering these questions in my personal capacity and not as a member of the Cherry
Hill Board of Education, and these responses are not authorized or written on behalf of the Cherry Hill Board of Education.

Primary and secondary education should prepare graduates to identify and take advantage of opportunities to advance towards their individual career goals and/or future educational goals. Each student should be provided with a solid academic foundation and the social and emotional tools to be passionate and engaged members of society.

Providing this foundation and these tools ensures that graduates are successful beyond high school regardless of the path they chose, be it college, a technical or other workforce career, or the military.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

I would like to continue to serve on the board to advance the many projects and goals I’ve been privileged to work on since being appointed a board member in January of 2022, and to continue to advocate on behalf of students, staff, the community for the benefit of the nearly 11,000 students in our district.

I’m proud to have been a member of the board subcommittee that developed the 2023-24 district goals, and look forward to working with my Board colleagues and all district stakeholders towards the fulfillment of those goals.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

Like so many school districts around the country, hiring and retaining top-tier educators is a real challenge. The pandemic, though not exclusively, has placed (and continues to place) teachers in an increasingly stressful environment, resulting in unprecedented departures.

As teachers leave the classroom without sufficiently experienced replacements, and often without any replacement at all, remaining teachers take on additional burdens and expectations.

Aware of these real concerns, I look forward to engaging the administration towards identifying and delivering best-in-class, teacher-focused professional development and resiliency programs and policies to allow them the support and freedom to teach with passion and inspire their students every day.

Students at each of the district’s 19 schools also deserve a school climate in which every student feels safe, feels understood, knows that no school at any level is treated or thought of differently or “better” than another. Work towards improving climate and culture will be an important element for the district to address.

What are the biggest strengths of your school district?

The academic staff of the Cherry Hill School District is a tremendous strength and source of pride. Our teachers have always gone beyond the extra mile to ensure that their students are more than simply well prepared to advance to their next grade, school, or chosen path after graduation.

Our staff adapted during the shift to virtual learning and delivered their lessons with unparalleled professionalism despite the many challenges, and they’ve more than embraced the pivot back to in-school instruction.

Our teachers are also even more acutely aware of the additional social and emotional supports so many students now need as we return to a normal learning environment, and they welcome the opportunity to be role models and mentors.

We are also blessed in Cherry Hill to have an engaged and widely diverse community and a community that truly cares about their student’s educational environment. Evidence of that community engagement was revealed by the passage of the recent bond referendum with overwhelming support.

As a board member, I’m thankful that parents in our community remain engaged and voice opinions on a wide range of topics, allowing us to better develop policies and practices that take advantage of the deep experience and wide diversity Cherry Hill has to offer.

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

1. Student achievement is my top priority. Identifying gaps in achievement across all demographics with all available data and implementing best practices to address those gaps will be critical to improving the academic achievement of every student.

Cherry Hill is not alone. Recently published ACT statistics show a tremendous decrease in academic performance across the country. An alarming 42 percent of students failed to meet a single minimum requirement among the five subjects presented on the ACT, and only 22 percent met every requirement.

Simply stated, we have to do better, and I’m confident that, if elected to a full term, I, together with district administration and my board colleagues, will successfully address this priority.

2. As board liaison to the district C-PEaCE (Cultural Proficiency/Equity/and Character Education) Committee, a role I volunteered for, I am and have always been passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

I’m actively engaged with my committee colleagues towards implementing policies and practices that celebrate diversity, promote equity, and include every student regardless of race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or LGBTQ+ identification.

This is often challenging work, involving cultural factors that a school board has limited, if any, influence over; however, this challenge energizes me to work that much harder towards improving DEI across the district.

3. I’m proud to have been a part of a wide team of board, administration, and community partners who secured passage of the recent school bond referendum. Communicating the need for the bond funds was critical in the success of the vote, and although I’m pleased to have played a part in that effort, the work is just beginning.

As a member of the board Business & Facilities Committee, I look forward to ensuring that the bond funds are administered in a fiscally responsible manner, and that project timing and expenditures are sound and reasonable, giving ADA compliance projects priority wherever possible.


Ben Ovadia. Credit: Ben Ovadia.

Benjamin Ovadia, 42 (Incumbent)

Benjamin Ovadia is the Director of Development and Community Relations at the Salvation Army Camden Kroc Center, a married father of three school-aged children, and the sitting president of the Cherry Hill Board of Education.

Ovadia holds a master’s degree in marketing and supply chain management from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing from the University of Pennsylvania.

He has spent more than 20 years in fund development, media and public relations, and project management, and more than 12 years in nonprofit leadership.

In his free time, he travels nationwide, and has visited all 50 states in America with his family.

What is your philosophy of education?

In accordance with requirements of the Code of Ethics for School Board members, I am answering this and all other questions in my personal capacity and not as a member of the Cherry Hill Board of Education, and this statement is not authorized by or written on behalf of the Cherry Hill Board of Education.

One of the most important things we do as a society is to educate our young people. Formal, public schooling is both a quest for knowledge and skill as well as a tremendous opportunity to develop ideas, forge relationships, and build character.

The most important relationship for success in school is between teacher and student; this is the hallmark of educational excellence in Cherry Hill. Students learn best when they are cared for as individuals and grow as people. Our formative years are times for trial and error, quests for knowledge, and experiences in peer relationships.

We also need to be attuned to special and unique needs within our student body, and ensure all our students can succeed.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

I have served on the Board of Education since August 2019, when I was appointed to fill a vacated seat. I was then elected to the Board in November 2019.

On the Board of Education, I have been an appointed board liaison to the Camden County Educational Services Commission, chair of the board strategic planning committee, and am currently the board President, having been unanimously elected in January 2022.

Prior to serving on the Board of Education, I served in various roles on the Sharp PTA, including as PTA President. I was an active member of the Zone PTA Cherry Hill Fair Funding Committee, and was involved in several other districtwide advocacy efforts.

As a district parent and community stakeholder, I have spent a significant portion of my time volunteering in the school ecosystem in Cherry Hill for over a decade. I remain committed to serving the children, families, and community of Cherry Hill.

I believe that stakeholder voices are vitally important in District discourse. I am excited to continue volunteer service to Cherry Hill Public Schools, an amazing school district filled with wonderful people, resources, and opportunities.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

One of our biggest challenges ahead for us as a school district is shepherding the bond-approved projects to completion to fulfill our promise to the community and usher in a facility footprint reset that makes our buildings renewed, vibrant, and modernized.

In addition, it is essential to engage the Cherry Hill community in productive, important conversations for the betterment of student success, positive school climates, and opportunities for all students.

More community involvement, input, and two-way communication should be harnessed and leveraged as we search out even higher levels of student excellence.

We must focus on academic achievement and closing opportunity gaps. A quality Cherry Hill reputation must be preserved and built upon. Most families moved to Cherry Hill for the great schools. As part of this, we must pay attention to how our students are performing on basic measures compared to other schools within our state, and how we can make targeted improvements.

On a related note, we must be an employer of choice to continue to attract and retain high-quality staff. We have an ability and duty to provide an excellent education and educational experiences for all of our students.

What are the biggest strengths of your school district?

In Cherry Hill, our brand name and our strong past are key strengths. I believe, however, that the best days in the district are ahead, and that the passion of our educators, administrators, staff, parents, and community stakeholders can be harnessed for even greater excellence as we continue to educate, inspire, develop, and steward our next generation.

Cherry Hill Public Schools have an amazing array of opportunities both academic and extra-curricular, meeting a wide variety of interests within our student population. We are growing amazing students in Cherry Hill, and sending them off to be confident and empathetic leaders in the world.

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

  1. Academic Achievement: we must maintain our great reputation by ensuring we address the needs of all students in Cherry Hill, including those with unique and specific needs. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many issues in education worldwide, and academic performance needs more focus for this reason as well. We also must build the matrix we will use to discuss achievement levels, track progress over time, and problem-solve any issues as they are uncovered.
  2. Community Engagement: building upon the work done in district to engage community stakeholders on important, timely, and complex issues within our educational community.What I have found during my time on the Board is that most issues of great impact have complicated options and potential solutions; only through directly engaging the community can we understand the landscape of these issues and make the best decisions.
  3. Infrastructure: creating the framework for bond referendum work to be completed and reported to the Board and to the public over the course of five to six years of projected work. We must ensure that we are shepherding the largest Cherry Hill capital school investment in history with efficiency and transparency.


Gina Winters. Credit: Gina Winters.

Gina Winters, 43 (Incumbent)

Homemaker Gina Winters is a 20-year Cherry Hill resident and married mother of three school-aged children.

She holds a master’s degree in public policy (MPP) from Rutgers University, where her primary research interest was education policy, with a focus on school finance and early childhood education.

Winters enjoys volunteering with church and community groups, and has more than a decade of experience as a youth minister and Girl Scout leader.

She is a passionate book lover, and can often be found roaming the stacks at the Cherry Hill Public Library or singing her heart out as a cantor at church on Sundays.

What is your philosophy of education?

I believe in a public education system that supports student achievement, promotes a true passion for learning, provides the skills needed to connect beyond our classrooms, and supports student and staff wellness.

As a board member, my goal would be to help shape a public education system in our community to ensure that all Cherry Hill students have the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Why would you like to serve on the Board of Education?

In the short time I have been a member of the school board, I have truly enjoyed being out in our community and engaging with Cherry Hill families about their aspirations for our school district.

I would love the opportunity to continue to work with members of the board, administration, and community on the many critical issues facing our schools.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

As a sitting board member, I am subject to the requirements of the Code of Ethics for School Board members, so I will be answering this and all of the following questions in my personal capacity only and not as a member of the Cherry Hill Board of Education, and my answers have not been authorized or written on behalf of the Cherry Hill Board of Education.

One specific area that I would like to focus on is student achievement gaps among different groups of students.

Gaps in academic performance among students are evident in the earliest grade levels, and gifted program participation and proficiency levels in English and math differ greatly across groups of students starting as early as third grade.

A greater focus on early childhood education and increased support for students and teachers in the earlier grades is needed to make sure that all students are set up for success.

What are its biggest strengths?

Our biggest strengths as a district are our phenomenal teachers and staff, and the wonderful diversity that exists in Cherry Hill. The people who make up our large and incredibly diverse school community are truly our greatest asset.

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

Three key issues I’d like to focus on are:

  1. ensuring that the approved bond referendum projects are implemented in a timely manner so that teachers have safe, adequate instructional space to teach our students.
  2. addressing school climate issues so that all students feel welcomed and supported in our schools.
  3. a renewed focus on early childhood and elementary education so that all students are set up for success.


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