Four vying for three seats on the Northfield Board of Ed

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NORTHFIELD—While the politicians battle for offices from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 1600 Shore Road the November 6 election will also have the slate of candidates running for seats on the Northfield Board of Education.
There are three seats up for election this year with four candidates seeking the three year term on the BOE. The three incumbents; Patti Fitzsimons, Deborah Levitt and Karyn White are all looking for reelection and Angelic Delcher is looking to unseat one current member of the board. Voters will be asked to cast three votes and the top three will win a three year term of office.

Angelic Delcher
Challenger Angelic Delcher, 42, has lived in Northfield for 13 years. She is married with one son in high school and two attending Northfield Community School.
Delcher teaches psychology and U.S. History at Egg Harbor Township High School. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and education from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and her masters’ degree in secondary writing from Walden University.
Delcher said she is running for the board of education because she has children in school and she wants to be a part of the process and decision making in the district. “In light of the budget cuts we are facing and the budget cuts that we will continue to come I think we need to be more creative,” said Delcher. “I think sometimes we get complacent and continue to do things the way they have been done in the past and we could be missing something. A new person brings a new perspective and that is very important in light of curriculum decisions made that impact students and teachers and need to be addressed,” added Delcher.
Asked if there is one thing she would fight to keep if faced with a budget cut, Delcher said that she would fight to keep the creative and performing arts in the schools. “The first thing that is considered to cut when a budget crisis arises is the performing arts but they are so important for the student who might not excel in academics but find success in the arts. “Schools in general focus on special education and the gifted and talented students. The average student is getting lost and I would fight for those programs that would allow another avenue for success for students,” concluded Delcher.
Patricia Fitzsimons
    Patricia Fitzsimons, 48, has lived in Northfield for 14 years and has one son who is a freshman at MRHS. Fitzsimons is a senior program control supervisor with Computer Sciences Corporation where she oversees and manages the financial performances of multi-million dollar government contracts. She is an eight year veteran of the Northfield Board of Education.
Fitzsimons said she chose to run again because she would be the only financial professional on the board of education and added that it is expertise that she feels the board needs to have. The board member also said she wants to follow through with the development of the 21st century curriculum which involves technology in the classroom and the STEM program. Finally Fitzsimons said she is running to continue with the boards’ recent record of very low tax increases.
Fitzsimons said the biggest challenge the school board faces are the mandates from the state. “Balancing the demands for the bullying laws and curriculum standards against financial constraints takes skill and creativity. We have been successful in the past in overcoming these types of challenges by working together as a board and leveraging each board members unique skill set,” said Fitzsimons.
The one program Fitzsimons said she would fight to make sure it was retained at the NCS is the supplemental instructors. “Today they are known as part-time basic skills teachers. They lower the student-teacher ratio at every grade level, leading to better instruction for the student that needs enrichment, the student that is working at grade level or the students that needs that extra help,” concluded Fitzsimons. Deborah Levitt
Incumbent board of education member Deborah Levitt, 65, is a 22 year veteran of the BOE. She and her husband Richard have lived in Northfield for nearly 35 years and two grown sons. Levitt earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in history and her masters’ degree in elementary school counseling from Villanova University. She was an elementary school counselor before going to work in her husband’s periodontal office as the bookkeeper.
Levitt is seeking another term on the board of education because she said, “giving back to the community I have lived in for almost 35 years is important to me. Given my background in education, being a member of the board of education is a natural fit. Levitt acknowledged that at times it can be frustrating but she added that it is extremely rewarding to see real progress being made in the education of the children.
Levitt said her years of experience on the board of education are another reason for continuing to serve on the board. “I have been on the board of education for so long I can give them a sense of history as to what occurred in the past and what took them to where they are now.” Levitt said she continues to want to be a part of the process that enables the children of Northfield to reach their highest potential. “That is one of the most important gifts you can give a child and it begins in elementary school,” said Levitt.
The incumbent said improving academic performance is a constant challenge. Levitt sited the board’s incorporation of Global Institute for Maximizing Potential is a new program starting in grades 2 through 8 that will help staff find each child’s strengths and weaknesses. It also allows for teachers to give feedback to parents so they are able to help their children at home.
Levitt said the districts academic programs are essential and give depth to each child’s education as do the arts and she would fight to keep them in tact.
Karyn White
Incumbent board of education member Karyn White, 42, has lived in Northfield for 8 years and is a three year veteran of the BOE. She and her husband John have two daughters attending the Northfield Community School. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Scranton and earned her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently the legal consultant for the law offices of Thomas G. Smith and provides legal assistance to the firm’s practice which involves insurance defense of municipalities.
White said she is seeking a second term on the board of education in order to continue to ensure fiscal responsibility, academic excellence and increased communication between the school, the parents and families of Northfield.
White continued that when she ran three years ago that she believed strongly in maintaining fiscal responsibility as well as making sure the academic environment at NCS is the best it can be so students are able to learn at the best of their ability and to improve communication in the district. To that end she started the school district news letter to assure to those parents who might not be able to attend school board meetings would get the information necessary to know what is going on in the school. With a second term, White said she would continue to work so that parents and families would feel welcome and encouraged to be a part of their children’s education.
Currently she serves as the chairman of the curriculum committee. “As chair, I have continually strived to find ways to improve how NCS is education our students. I am proud of the education we are providing but there is always room for improvement. I will continue to ensure high academic standards are met.
White said the STEM program that began in the classroom last year is an       exciting program that seeks to improve education by incorporating science, technology, engineering and math at all grade levels and called the partnership between NCS and the FAA groundbreaking. White concluded that NCS’s commitment to making STEM learning a priority and embracing technology in educating Northfield students is one program that must stay.

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