In November, Linwood voters will decide on whether to change our school board from appointed to elected.
In trying to decide how to vote, I spent some time researching which type of board is more effective. The short answer is there is no definitive literature or research on whether elected or appointed school boards are more effective in improving student achievement.
What is known is that, whether appointed by our mayor and City Council or elected, a great school board should be comprised of individuals skilled in education, accounting, law, finance, public relations and parenting.
Linwood’s school board is comprised of a father and elementary school teacher with 31-years of experience and current president of the Atlantic County School Boards Association; an esteemed attorney and mother who is vice president and general counsel to the AtlantiCare Health System; a mother of four and former teacher with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and teacher’s certificate from the University of North Carolina; a mother, grandmother, former teacher and the 2016 Linwood Citizen of the Year who has lived in Linwood since 1967; Brigantine’s Teacher of the Year and a Governor’s Teacher Award winner who holds a master of arts degree as a reading specialist; a senior partner of a local accounting firm; and, a retired New Jersey Superior Court judge, a resident of Linwood for 46 years, with a bachelor of science from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and a law degree from Duke University.
I know our current board members’ qualifications; their families and children. I do not know if they are Republicans, Democrats or Independents and quite frankly, I don’t care. I would venture to guess the mayor doesn’t know or care either. He simply sought qualified individuals graciously willing to donate their time and expertise for our children.
All of the board members that I spoke to stated they were pleased to serve the city, but conceded they would likely not run for election. It makes me wonder, if we vote to change to an elected board, who would run and are they more qualified than the current board?