NJ Pen Elections 2023: Meet the Haddon Township School Board Candidates


This year, four Haddon Township residents are running for three 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 25, 2023

On November 7, voters in Haddon Township will choose from among four balloted candidates for three seats on the borough school board: incumbents Kellie Hinkle, John Kendall, and Isis Williams will seek to defend their seats against challenger Josh Kennedy.

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 district. Answers were edited for clarity and length.

Kellie Hinkle. Credit: Kellie Hinkle.

Kellie Hinkle, 42 (Incumbent)

Kellie Hinkle is president of Code Nation, a nonprofit focused on helping young people prepare for careers in technology.

The incumbent Haddon Township Board of Education president, and a member of the Haddon Township Democratic Club, Hinkle shares her Haddon Township home with her identical twin sister and two rescue dogs.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading thriller novels and unwinding with a pint at Tom Fischer’s Tavern.

What is your philosophy of education?

I believe that, with the right support, all students can achieve great things.

Every student deserves access to high-quality public schools that provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive both now and in the future.

What personal and professional experiences would you bring to the table as a school board member?

I’ve worked with and led national education nonprofits for 20 years. During that time, I’ve partnered with hundreds of schools and school districts across the country, primarily around understanding how to effectively and efficiently use the funding available to them to improve educational outcomes and student experiences.

As a current board member, I’ve done everything in my power to continuously grow, learn, and improve in my role because I love being on the Board of Education, and representing my community through this work. I’ve earned every individual certification offered by the New Jersey School Boards Association, including the top individual certification of Master Board Leader, demonstrating my commitment to being an effective board member and board leader.

I’ve held a number of positions and roles on the board, as I’ve sought to add value and deepen my understanding of the needs of our district at every possible turn. This has included being part of the committees leading teacher and principal contract negotiations, helping to establish the district sick bank, and serving on the district equity committee and board personnel and policy and curriculum and instruction committees.

Why are you running for office?

As the current President of the Haddon Township Board of Education, I’m running for re-election for several reasons. I’m proud of the work we’ve done as a Board and what I’ve contributed to that.

Some of these Board accomplishments include:

  • increasing enrollment and state aid
  • funding
  • providing free full-day kindergartenadding more nurses, counselors, and character-building programs to support students’ holistic development
  • consistently high graduation rates
  • keeping our neighborhood schools


There’s more work ahead. We’re preparing to launch a bond referendum to improve safety, security, and student experience across the district. This is big and exciting work, and having helped to lead the process to make decisions about how and where to focus the referendum, I want to see it through the entire process, from community engagement through to implementation and completion.

I’ve given so much to support our students, staff, and district, and hope that you’ll give me your vote so that I can keep on doing all that I can as your board member.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

The upcoming bond referendum is both our biggest challenge and our biggest opportunity. We’ll finalize the scope of the referendum as a BOE in January, and then our first hurdle will be the vote in March, for which we’ll be doing community engagement sessions to build understanding of the referendum and its value.

Hopefully, voters will vote yes on the referendum and then we’ll move forward to implementation, which will be a significant amount of work and will take time, dedication, and strong leadership to ensure we successfully execute all elements of and projects within the referendum.

What are three key issues on which you will focus if elected?

  • Strong education outcomes & student learning, which includes strong and supported staff and a budget that can effectively meet our educational needs
  • Holistic student development and experiences, including wellness, belonging, and character building
  • Safety: all students and staff should feel and truly be safe in our school buildings


John Kendall. Credit: John Kendall.

John Kendall, 65 (Incumbent)

An operations associate with L3Harris Technologies, lifelong Haddon Township resident John Kendall has served on the district Board of Education for more than 30 years.

Together with his wife, Debbie, John Kendall has volunteered with various PTAs and school committees during the years their three children were enrolled in the Haddon Township school district.

A founding member of the Haddon Township rowing club, Kendall further remains involved with the district as emcee of the Pre-Prom Promenade and Arts Extravaganza.

Kendall is also a union actor with various theater, film, and television credits, and remains engaged with his church as well as the Rutgers University-Camden Alumni Association.

What is your philosophy of education?

To provide students with the best possible resources to guide teaching and learning. To foster a safe and inclusive learning environment. To keep students on the path to thrive in the future.

What personal and professional experiences would you bring to the table as a school board member?

  • BA degree from Rutgers University
  • 30 years of experience on the Haddon Township School Board, including serving on its Personnel and Policy Committee
  • Master Board Member and Certified Board Leader designation by New Jersey School Boards Association
  • Past President and Vice President of Camden County School Boards Association
  • Haddon Township Delegate to Camden County School Boards Association, NJ School Boards Delegate Assembly, and Camden County Educational Services Commission
  • Past President, Vice President, and current Associate Vice President for Public Affairs of Rutgers University Camden Alumni Association
  • Camden County Board of Social Services Member


Why are you running for office?

My main goals are to keep Haddon Township Schools top-rated. I want to continue to confer with parents, administrators, teachers and students to listen to the districts needs and make assessments.

As I have proven over the years, I’ll never miss a meeting unless there is a very extenuating circumstance. I want to continue to be a dedicated servant of the people of our wonderful town in order to make sure that our students receive the best possible education to help them through all of the years of their lives.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

Our largest challenge is always financial. This year, we have received a large increase in state aid; however, we are still rebounding from many years of state aid cuts.

What are three key issues on which you will focus if elected?

  • Working to continuously improve educational outcomes
  • Educating the public to pass the upcoming bond referendum
  • Continuous lobbying for more state aid


Josh Kennedy. Credit: Josh Kennedy.

Joshua Kennedy, 42 (Challenger)

Josh Kennedy works as a senior construction inspector with the engineering firm of Remington and Vernick, and also serves as President and Fire Commissioner for Haddon Township Fire District 3.

Kennedy, father to a school-aged daughter, is interested in anything mechanical, and enjoys taking apart machinery and equipment and putting it back together.

His spare time is spent playing sports like pickleball, basketball, or softball, and he enjoys helping others wherever and whenever he can.

What is your philosophy of education?

The teaching environment should be completely unbiased, and teachers should be teaching a necessary combination of the basics — including science, history, math, and arts — in addition to other, more subjective studies, like literary subjects such as opinion writing.

I strongly believe that, as parents, we have the right to teach our children a belief system, and discuss political or personal opinions on issues that may be considered debatable. No child should be excluded from any learning for any reason in our school district.

I believe that education is a lifelong process, and that children need to be taught to understand this early on so that they know how to continuously learn to better themselves, no matter what they choose to do in life.

What personal and professional experiences would you bring to the table as a school board member?

I believe I would bring a lot to the table if elected. I work as a senior inspector for an engineering firm, where my everyday responsibilities include:

  • projects associated with all client types, including: planning and zoning boards, municipal governments, school boards, agencies, and private entities
  • direct project planning, including staff assignments, regular tracking of project progress, contractor activity, and coordination with other departments and offices
  • communicating and promoting communication about project progress to clients and their representatives
  • providing regular feedback on construction to design staff, clients, and client representatives
  • working within local government project budgets to ensure a quality product is delivered


I am also the current President and Fire Commissioner for Haddon Township Fire District 3. My role there includes helping creating budgets that fund emergency medical services and fire protection for the district.

Why are you running for office?

I am a believer in more vocational education — plumbing, woodworking, HVAC, auto shop, this type of education is necessary to many different careers that I don’t believe are going away any time soon. Many of the jobs this training can lead to are desperately needed, and are very lucrative. Were it not for my opportunity to attend these types of classes during my time in the Haddon Township school district, I would not be where I am in my career today.

I also see a need for more life skills training — financial literacy, cybersecurity, and more — which everyone needs in order to be successful. We need more class options for children who do not feel college is the right fit for them.

I believe we can do better with school security, and I like the fact this priority is included in the upcoming referendum. The addition of more secure vestibules will make our schools much safer.

I also support improving the district athletic fields, as proposed. As an athlete, I believe we should have lights and a much better field surface at the current football field location. This work will allow Haddon Township to host an increased number of larger athletic competitions, as well as community events that we cannot currently host.

We all know there is a lot of division in our world today and I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. If there can be more focus on this, I believe we can make our school system and students’ educational and life experiences much better for the long run.

What are three key issues on which you will focus if elected?

I will focus my efforts on bringing back more vocational education, and put more focus on those children who do not feel college is the right path for them.

I will continuously strive to increase the security of our schools and work with other Board Members to ensure parents can feel comfortable that their children are safe in our schools.

I will always advocate for a strong, well-educated student body, as I believe this is what makes Haddon Township a sought-after community among younger families exploring their options of where to live.


Isis Williams. Credit: Isis Williams.

Isis Williams, 44 (Incumbent)

A native New Yorker who moved to New Jersey while attending Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Isis Williams is an 11-year Haddon Township resident and Executive Director at the accountancy firm of Horsey, Buckner & Heffler LLP.

Mother to an active high-school student-athlete, Williams and her family cite the local public school district as a deciding factor in their choice to relocate to Haddon Township in 2012.

Since then, they have immersed themselves in the community.

She often can be found attending sports, arts, and cultural events in town, either as a volunteer or participant.

In her spare time, Williams enjoys traveling with her family, exploring new cities and absorbing local culture through dining.

What is your philosophy of education?

I am dedicated to ensuring that every student, regardless of their abilities or needs, has equal access to a high-quality education.

What personal and professional experiences would you bring to the table as a school board member?

I believe that my 17-plus years of experience in public-sector financial advisory and auditing, which includes work for charter schools and state and local governments, enables me to offer a unique perspective on the school district budget and how to allocate most effectively its financial resources.

I have more than 20 years of experience in civic service, and have served as treasurer on the Boards of Trustees for various non-profit agencies. I am a current Board member of the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, of which I serve on the Finance and Compliance Committee, and am also co-founder and Board Chair of the Haddon Township Equity Initiative community group.

I chair the Board of Education Finance and Facilities Committee, and have volunteered in various roles within the district, including as a Van Sciver Elementary School room mom and a Rohrer Middle School PTA member of various roles. I am also co-founder and co-lead of the Parent Equity Group, and serve on the District Equity Committee member and Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG).

Why are you running for office?

I believe that we all have a duty to give back to the community in which we live. I believe that our children are entitled to the best education we are capable of providing, and that that may look different for each individual.

I believe that my professional and philanthropic experience make me an asset to the Board, and as an active parent of a school-aged child in the district, I have a pulse on the needs and concerns of our families. I’m a huge believer in the “heart work,” and continuing to uphold the mission that we are truly a district where all students thrive.

What are the biggest challenges your school district faces?

The biggest challenges we currently face are the successful passing of the upcoming bond referendum, and ensuring that we continue to maintain a safe space for learning.

What are three key issues on which you will focus if elected?

If elected, the three key issues I will focus on are: continuing to enhance our children’s educational outcomes, fostering a safe and inclusive learning environment, and upholding fiscal responsibility.

Please support NJ Pen with a subscription. Get e-mails, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Comments are closed.