School board candidates discuss issues

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The school board election is November 2.

By MADDY VITALE

There are 11 candidates for the Ocean City Education Council vying for the November 2 election. They are vying for three seats for three years.

Here is a list of questions asked of candidates by OCNJDaily.com. Applicants are featured in a series of articles focused on school district issues.

Catherine Panico, Dale Braun, Chris Halliday, Jacqueline McAlister, Suzanne Morgan and Robin Shaffer have been featured in previous articles. Ryan Leonard, Liz Nicoletti, and Henry Disston Vanderslice are featured in this story.

Ryan Leonard and his family (Photo courtesy of Ryan Leonard)

Ryan leonard

How long have you lived in Ocean City?

My wife Samantha and I both grew up in Upper / OC, and we were in the OCHS class of 2001. After college, we lived and worked in Manhattan, moved to Rumson, and when our oldest was in there. nursery school, we moved home to be closer to our families, friends and hometown.

What is your occupation? Affiliated organizations?

I’m the CIO for a global fintech company. My team manages information security, infrastructure and all technologies for a variety of markets around the clock.

Do you have children in the neighborhood or were they in the neighborhood?

I have two amazing sons. The oldest is in first grade in elementary school, and the little guy is currently at Discovery World for preschool.

Why are you a candidate for the school board?

For exactly this reason! My children will be in the OCHS class of 2033/2037, and although I am surprised by just thinking about them, they are our main concern and we hope that they will receive the same amazing educational experience as us.

What do you hope to do if you are elected and what do you think is working / not working on the board right now?

I want to represent all students, families and stakeholders; even those who may disagree with me. I am concerned that the families of our smallest learners are not always well represented on the board or on the agenda of meetings.

Friends are frustrated by the unnecessary difficulty for parents (especially younger ones) to be involved in this process. The simplest example is that the district already pays for the professional recording of every school board meeting, but a stakeholder must file an OPRA request to get a copy. We are in 2021. Other neighborhoods in the region proudly display their meetings. We should too.

What would you like to change / achieve, new programs, a different way of dealing with the COVID pandemic?

You may not have experienced Zoom-Kindergarten last year and not know that we are in desperate need of technology upgrades in the district. Our teachers last year were exceptionally resilient and just amazing, but the technology platforms we provide them are just not adequate.

I think adding a seasoned IT professional to the board will help modernize some of the platforms and systems used by the district, as well as keep us focused on the future.

Have you ever held a position or do you have something else in your experience that you think lends itself to being a board member? Do you work or have you worked in the field of education?

My mom is a retired art teacher and I have several other amazing educators in my extended family. I have witnessed the dedication and dedication they all have to their students, and it inspires me to want to help them be even more successful.

Although being a technical executive is not directly related to the education system, my experience in information security has focused on training, teaching and empowering colleagues and stakeholders. I have been a tutor / mentor for several organizations, and I give back whenever I can use my time and skills.

Liz Nicoletti, far right, with family. (Photo courtesy of the Nicoletti family)

Liz nicoletti

How long have you lived in Ocean City?

Full time since July 2019. I have also spent all of my summers in Ocean City as my parents own a home and my husband and I have owned a home in Ocean City since 2001.

What is your occupation?

My profession is a stay at home mom.

Do you have children in the neighborhood or were they in the neighborhood?

Yes, I have children in the neighborhood. Tricia is a junior in Ocean City High School. Christian and Connor are freshmen at Ocean City High School and Will is in seventh year at Ocean City Middle School.

Why are you a candidate for the school board?

I show up for school board because I believe God is calling me to stand up and oppose some of these tyrannical ideas and mandates that are creeping into school systems and indoctrinating our most innocent children. I believe our education system in this country is in crisis.

The values ​​of our Ocean City community should reflect Ocean City public high schools, secondary schools and elementary schools. I want to see greater involvement of parents in school decisions, especially the curriculum. I would like to see traditional values ​​return to our schools. I want our constitution to come to the fore. We need to select a new superintendent who reflects the values ​​of the school community.

What do you hope to do if you are elected and what do you think is working / not working on the board right now?

I believe what is not currently working in the council is good communication between the community, parents and the council and the superintendent regarding emails or phone calls which contributes to the morale of the atmosphere. in the boardroom.

What would you like to change / achieve, new programs, a different way of dealing with the COVID pandemic?

Regarding the COVID pandemic, I would like things to get back to normal, including an optional mask with a common sense approach. Allow parents to make appropriate decisions for their children whether or not to let them participate in activities.

Do you have something in your experience that lends itself to being a board member? Have you ever served? Do you work or have you worked in the field of education?

I have never held a political position before or served on the board, however, I have been on sports teams all my life and have led my teams as captain in many teams including D1 field hockey at St. Joseph’s University. I think being part of a team is crucial to participate in any board, not just that school board.

I studied Primary Education at St. Joseph University and taught at Presentation BVM School as a sixth grade teacher for two years and taught in the Oxford School District as a as long-term replacement. I have been a certified tennis pro teacher for many years.

My volunteer experience includes 10 years of Tennis in the Streets, a grassroots organization bringing tennis to the city center and was also selected for the People to People Ambassador Program as a Teacher Ambassador in Australia.

Disston Vanderslice with family. (Photo courtesy of Disston Vanderslice)

Henry Disston Vanderslice

How long have you lived in Ocean City?

I was born and raised in Ocean City for 35 years, excluding college and my career time in Philadelphia.

What is your occupation?

Immovable. My family has owned a local real estate company for 30 years. I hope to bring my corporate experiences, as well as my experience in media and technology, to help fill a need within the school board.

Do you have children in the neighborhood or were they in the neighborhood?

Soon ! I have a one year old, Henry, who will be enrolled in the Ocean City School District in a few years.

Why are you a candidate for the school board?

I care deeply about the future of the children in our community and love Ocean City with all my heart. Family has been deeply rooted in this amazing community for over 70 years, and now that my wife and I have a child of our own, I knew it was time for me to step in and do my part.

Having a son and hopefully more children one day, I absolutely believe it is my duty to give back to the community by offering a new perspective to the school board. I will approach the role with one program, and that is making decisions based on what is best for our children and their future.

What do you hope to do if you are elected and what do you think is working / not working on the board right now?

I will approach every decision with an open mind and a common goal of making the best choice for our children. As we move forward, it is important to carefully approach how we implement state mandates. We have an obligation to the community to continue to grow as a district by learning and adapting.

Obviously there is a very talented and accomplished group of candidates running for this school board election. You will very rarely see 11 candidates running for three vacant school board seats. It shows that people really care and want to help. We all need to work together to make the best decisions for our children.

What would you like to change / achieve, new programs, a different way of dealing with the COVID pandemic?

I’m sorry for the many parents in the community who struggled to juggle life while the students were at home, so I’m glad we’re returning to in-person learning. It is imperative that we put the mental health of our students, teachers and parents first when making important decisions.

Have you ever held a position or do you have something else in your experience that you think lends itself to being a board member? Do you work or have you worked in the field of education?

I bring a solid business background, specializing in digital marketing and technology. Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace. Our students should have the best tools available to help them grow as students and as people.

I have also coached youth sports since I was in grade 7, helping out at OC basketball camps. The Little League pitches are named after my grandfather, Harry Vanderslice, and I hope to help carry on his legacy by being heavily involved in Ocean City’s youth sports programs. I learned so much about the life of my childhood coaches, and I hope to leave the same effect on the children I have the opportunity to coach.

Meet the candidates in a public question-and-answer session on Tuesday, October 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chris Maloney Lecture Hall at the Ocean City Free Public Library (1735 Simpson Avenue). The forum will be moderated by radio personality Maryann McElroy. Applicants will have the opportunity to share their platform and answer verified questions from the community.

Community members can submit questions to [email protected]

Here is the full list of candidates:

James Bauer, holder

Dale F. Braun Jr.

Chris Halliday

Ryan leonard

Jacqueline McAlister, incumbent

Suzanne Morgan, holder

Catherine Panic

Robin shaffer

Conor fleming

Liz nicoletti

Henry Disston Vanderslice


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