.

Five Candidates Remain for Gloucester Township School Board Vacancy

Mark Gallo, Sean Hengst, Scott Owens, Wendy Witzel and Judith Young will have their second interviews on March 17.

The Gloucester Township Board of Education has narrowed to five its list of options for replacing disqualified former Board Member Edward Pearce.

Mark Gallo, Sean Hengst, Scott Owens, Wendy Witzel and Judith Young will come before the school board on Monday, March 17 for the second round of interviews in the library at the Charles W. Lewis School. Interviews are set to begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by the regular board meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The five candidates were chosen from among 13 candidates who were interviewed Monday night at the Charles W. Lewis School.

Each candidate was asked if they were qualified, why they wanted the job and what they viewed as the role of a Board of Education member.

Witzel has two special needs children in the district. She’s worked with children who have special needs at Camden County College for 20 years and also worked at the Community College of Philadelphia.

“As a parent, we need more voices in the district to make the right differences,” Witzel said during her public interview. “I’m frustrated. The district needs to do a better job.”

Owens doesn’t have special needs children, but he does have a 3-year-old who will be in the district eventually.

“I want to make sure he gets the best possible education,” Owens said. “(The role of a school board member) is to have empathy and a willingness to speak with residents, to make the best decisions for the children.”

Gallo graduated from Highland Regional High School, is on the Field of Dreams committee, participates in the Gloucester Township Relay for Life, president of the Rotary Club and coaches soccer, little league and other sports.

“I am passionate about the town I live in,” Gallo said. “I have three kids, two in the district, and a good relationship with the other parents. I think I’d be a good addition in general.

Both Younger and Hengst spoke of new educational standards facing children and teachers in the 21st century.

“With all the federal and state responsibilities and the new teacher evaluation system, I want to be a part of the new policy and the fiscal responsibility,” Younger said.”(The role of a school board member) is fiscal oversight and to make sure the children are ready for 21st century work.”

Hengst is a lifelong township resident who has children in the district. He ran for the board in May, and pursued a position again following Andrew Lalli’s resignation in November.

He spoke about the Common Core Standards and the excitement he felt when a school board member came to read to his class for Read Across America.

Hengst was one of the candidates who was passed over when Pearce was chosen by the board in December.

Pearce was sworn in less than a week later, drawing the fire of critics from the public who questioned the speed of his appointment, the swearing in and his credentials.

Pearce served for two meetings before being disqualified upon the state Department of Education’s completion of his background check. It remains unknown why Pearce was eventually disqualified.

One candidate, Richard Bobbe, broached the subject during his public interview Monday night.

“When I look at the current board, it’s important to have people who make efficient use of the board’s time and money, and someone who will act with integrity,” Bobbe said. “ … Simple things aren’t getting done right, so how do you expect the public to trust you when it comes to getting complicated things right? (The role of a board member) is to be non-political and to ask ourselves is this in the best interest of the school and our children.

“The board should provide teachers and administrators with what they need and to get out of the way.”

Schu March 12, 2014 at 08:34 PM
In the end, GT will elected a crony Mayor Mayer connected pay to play bundler with connections to Camden County Democrats only there to rubber stamp the Norcross's agenda.
GTWatchdawg March 15, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Will Felicia Reed be told to stay home again for another meeting and another vote? Is that how it works?
Dominic S. Gagliardi March 15, 2014 at 10:23 PM
GTWatchdawg, with all due respect, Felicia's not being present when Ed Pearce was appointed had no impact on the final result. Trust me. I can not be convinced that what occurred then was not predetermined. The vote was scheduled for a night when it was known prior that Ms. Reid was unavailable yet done so anyway as it was the last opportunity to make it happen before I was sworn and since another "friendly" vote was supposedly not available the rest of the month. While I may not agree with all she has done in the past, I assure you that Ms. Reid has the best interests of the children and District as her primary goal.
Dominic S. Gagliardi March 15, 2014 at 10:23 PM
GTWatchdawg, with all due respect, Felicia's not being present when Ed Pearce was appointed had no impact on the final result. Trust me. I can not be convinced that what occurred then was not predetermined. The vote was scheduled for a night when it was known prior that Ms. Reid was unavailable yet done so anyway as it was the last opportunity to make it happen before I was sworn and since another "friendly" vote was supposedly not available the rest of the month. While I may not agree with all she has done in the past, I assure you that Ms. Reid has the best interests of the children and District as her primary goal.
Bea Coyle March 16, 2014 at 07:58 AM
I believe that there are members on the Board of Education who want to vote for what is in the Best interest of the Children and the Schools.But we also know that there are at least half of them that will vote as they are directed to by an outside source/party/leader. It is these people who must be replaced.We do not need to add yet another person who was given/selected by the Party/Township to the Board of Education If you are on the Gloucester Township Planning Board or any Township Board you will not be impartial and you will have to divide your time. The School District has full time problems ,ask any Parent ,and they need a person with no other Board commitments.Come out and help make sure that the Members of the Board of Education use Ethics to make the Best selection .Monday March 17, 5:30 C.W.Lewis School.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »