For the first time, school board candidates will be on the ballot in the November elections.
Galloway Patch will be running candidate profiles for candidates for both the Greater Egg Harbor Regional and Galloway Township School Board elections leading up to the election.
Today, Galloway Patch profiles Lois Garrison, who is running for reelection to the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District Board of Education:
Why are you running?
I am running, once again, to continue to be an advocate for our students in our school district. I feel very strongly that sometimes in public education, students’ needs are occasionally overlooked due to the decreased funding in the State of New Jersey.
What do you feel are the most pressing issues?
I feel we need to continue to foster more partnerships with our community. Communication is a key to generating enthusiasm and ongoing interest in our public schools. We, as a board, have a responsibility to keep the public informed about our tax supported public schools. The GEHRHSD has a school-based web site that keeps our community informed about each individual school in our district. As an example, all three of our high schools are attempting to go paperless in terms of communicating with parents. Our parents now have access to their children’s grades through an on-line program, therefore eliminating the need to mail out report cards. Important information, which normally would have been mailed home, is now accessible via our webpage and Parent Connect. It is our hope that going paperless will reap financial benefits in years to come.
In addition, the coming legal changes to teacher tenure and evaluation in the state of New Jersey will certainly be a pressing issue in the coming few years.
Finally, our most pressing priority is to continue to prepare students academically for the global and technological demands of the twenty-first century job market.
What changes would you make to what our current board is doing?
I would like to see our board of education have increased opportunities for professional development as a whole. In addition, I would like to restore our liaison meetings between the administration, the teacher’s union and the board of education. I feel these meetings greatly improved the level of communication.
What are some of the positive things the current board is doing/has done?
Adding a third high school to the GEHRHSD is probably the most significant accomplishment this board has made. We are now better meeting the needs of the Egg Harbor City, Mullica Township and Port Republic communities. Because of Cedar Creek HS, we addressed and alleviated the problems of overcrowding in Absegami and Oakcrest high schools. In addition, we have been able to introduce a magnet program at Cedar Creek, which I am sure will be a model for other schools.
This school year we also had two significant developments. One, we were able restore the funding for school activities and after school tutoring back to what they were in 2009-2010 before the state budget cuts. Two, the district is now offering a variety of dual credit courses allowing students to earn college credits at significant savings.
What would you bring to the board that no one else can bring, i.e. strengths, experience, etc.?
As a retired business teacher, I have a unique perspective and understanding of what it takes to be an effective teacher and the challenges that this sometimes overlooked profession faces. In addition, my graduate work in school business administration comes in handy in dealing with the day to day operations of running a large school district and the challenges we face with budget constraints that are placed on us.
I am also a parent of a child in the district who wants to see the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District continue to be an effective school system.
What is your educational background?
I am a retired business teacher having taught at Absegami High School from 1986 to 1997, with previous experience at Vineland High School and the Schalick School District. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education from The College of New Jersey, with a minor in Business Administration. I am also a certified teacher at the Elementary School Level. My graduate work is in Secondary Education and School Business Administration. I have also worked for Atlantic Cape Community College for ten years as an adjunct. I have been a board member since 2004 for the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District serving on various committees such as Technology, Program, Policy and Finance.
What is your personal background?
I am married and have one daughter who is now a sophomore at Absegami. I have lived in the district area since 1986 and specifically in the Smithville Section of Galloway Township since 1989.