LINWOOD — Three candidates are running unopposed for the Mainland Regional High School Board of Education in the Nov. 8 election -- one representative from each of the sending school districts.
The Northfield candidate is Maggi Siegel, who is finishing up her first term. Leanne Gray is running for the Linwood seat, and Allison Goltra is looking to represent Somers Point on the board.
Goltra, 29, is a 2005 graduate of Mainland Regional. She said she is running because she wants the opportunity as a somewhat recent grad to have a voice in the community
“Mainland played a huge role in my life, and I would love to help MRHS have the same affect on others,” she said.
Goltra, a teaching assistant who has an undergraduate degree in English language and literature, said the special skill set she brings to the board is having a varied educational background.
"Although my degree is in English with a minor in business, I began college as an education major. I have 11 years of experience in schools and many years of education courses. This allows me to be aware of what is new in education.”
One challenge Goltra sees Mainland facing is bullying.
“Bullying has become a larger problem in the recent past. Many young adults are bullied and their voices go unheard. I would love to help come up with some great ideas to help these students.”
One of the school's best assets is the diversity the community brings.
"Moving from only going to school with people from your town to the addition of two other towns is a great opportunity. It really allows the students to work alongside peers from various backgrounds,” she said.
Gray, 31, served for five years as one of the Somers Point representatives on the board but resigned when she and her family moved to Linwood.
“I decided to return to the Mainland board because I really missed it. I love the Mainland community and have really enjoyed being a part of the board,” she said.
A certified financial planner with UBS Financial Services, Gray is a 2003 graduate of Mainland Regional and a graduate of Villanova University.
She will bring her past experience to the table.
"I was a very active member, having chaired the personnel, negotiations and vision committees for several years. I try to think outside of the box. As a financial advisor, I definitely analyze issues from an economic viewpoint. I have also have two children in the district, and my husband and I have lived and worked in this community all of our lives. As an MRHS graduate, Mainland is near and dear to my heart, so I am able to bring that perspective to the board.”
The biggest challenge facing Mainland is the Atlantic City economic landscape, which has and will continue to have far-reaching implications for the community, she said.
"It's important to make sure students and families have the support they need from the school. With the rate of foreclosures in the area, budgets need to be continually tightened, so that is always a concern. While keeping in mind that we need to continue to provide excellent programs for our students and a contract that recognizes the amazing teachers and staff we have at MRHS," Gray said.
Mainland’s greatest asset is that it is a community that is built around the school, she said.
"I am so proud to be a part of it. I think a lot of that stems from the wonderful staff and leadership team we have. The vision and passion that Mark Marrone has for the school are unparalleled and really inspirational. We have the greatest teachers and staff that really give their all and truly care about their students. And the students are the best; they are what it is all about. They continue to impress me every year across the board from academics to sports and clubs to community service. Everyone works together to create this amazing culture. I think that all flows through to the families in our community and makes it very exciting to be a Mustang.”
Siegel was unavailable for comment.