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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Haddonfield School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

An elected school board member serves a three-year term. The school board represents the concerns of citizens, taxpayers and parents to the school administrators, and represents the needs of the students and school district to citizens, taxpayers and parents. The school board does not operate the district on a day-to-day basis; that is the job of the superintendent (the district’s chief executive). Rather, the school board sets policies, goals and objectives for the district, and holds the superintendent responsible for implementing those policies and goals. (Abridged from NJ School Boards Association website)

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  • Candidate picture

    Jaime Auletto Grookett

  • Linda Hochgertel

  • Candidate picture

    David C. Siedell

Biographical Information

Why are you running for the board of education (Why are you seeking reelection)? What expertise do you bring?

What is your top budget priority and why?

What is your view on test scores? What steps will you take to improve these scores (if improvements are needed)?

What are your views on the latest formula for apportioning state aid for schools?

What measures, if any, do you feel are needed to improve the safety and security of our schools?

Campaign Email jgrookett@gmail.com
Campaign Address 227 Homestead Ave. Haddonfield, NJ
Campaign phone 856-952-2263
I’d like to continue to use my talents and experience to help our District become the best it can be. My education in teaching and curriculum and my background as a high school English teacher and curriculum writer offer me a well-rounded perspective on the issues and opportunities that lie ahead of our District, and I’m honored to be a part of the growth process. My objectivity and desire to serve our community make me a dedicated Board member willing to not only offer the time necessary to get the work done but also ensure objectivity and discernment in manners of decision making.
My top budget priority is to ensure that all aspects of the district receive the funding necessary to meet the needs of students. We must consider curriculum development and alignment, teacher training and resources, facilities maintenance and improvement, technology updates and advancements, and security improvements as priorities to ensure we offer our students a 21st Century education in a safe environment. To that end, we must develop a budget that focuses on our mission and supports our strategic plan so our limited resources are used where most needed.
Test scores provide data for a district to assess its strengths and areas for growth. This data informs instruction and curriculum development and alignment. The district is currently working to raise test scores in all areas, particularly those grade levels which show weaker test scores. While there is still work to be done, we have made great strides. Much of the curriculum has been rewritten to better align with state standards and this curriculum is consistent across the district, regardless of school. Further, teacher leaders were chosen based on expertise to serve as leaders among their grade level or content area and communicate closely with the leaders in other schools and grade levels to ensure continuity across the district.
Although over the last two years we have received increased funding from the state, we still are not receiving funding in line with our counterparts. The current governor is working to fully implement the formula which should result in increased aid and ease the local tax burden. Hopefully, this comes to fruition so that our district will have increased funding for all areas in need.
Recently, we installed the Raptor Visitor Management System, which requires all visitors to the school to submit their ID for a background check and a printed ID. In addition, the high school now has a Class III Officer who serves as a first line of protection in cases of an emergency. This year, we will see vestibules built at both Tatem and Elizabeth Haddon to provide a barrier of access to the students in case of emergency. There is more work to be done in terms of security and it has been a topic of discussion among the community, Board and administrators. Currently, there is a School Security Committee consisting of administrators, Board members and community members to help in the decision-making process in matters of school security.
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Campaign Email dsiedell@hotmail.com
Campaign Address 501 Chews Landing Rd
Campaign phone 856-671-1429
I have spent 25 years in Higher Education and Executive Education developing innovative learning spaces and technology-infused curriculum, creating policies and procedures to affect consistently exceptional learning outcomes, and overseeing the delivery of learning both in-person and on-line. I have been a board member for 6 years and paired with my professional career I see my ability to bring my ‘day job’ and that experience into the district to help with the challenges that confront the administration as a rewarding endeavor. I have enjoyed my 6 years on the board and hope to continue for another three-year term.
We are on the cusp of the 3rd decade of the 21st century and the promise of a “21st Century Education” is still elusive. The new administration that has been in place for a year is having to manage playing catch-up with urgency while not outpacing the school and town community’s ability to absorb that change. Now that the largest referendum and school construction projects in the town’s history have ensured our school infrastructure is safe it is imperative we do not act like the job is complete. That project did not address any improvements to the educational mission of the schools. Developing a long term plan of projects to move the teaching and learning needle is a major task over the next year or so.
Standardized tests are not an accurate reflection of a student's ability and shouldn't be used for their assessment or to grade a teacher. They are useful in the aggregate to identify areas of strength and areas in need of improvement for both the individual learner as well as the overall quality of the curriculum being applied by the district. Besides the NJSLA/PARCC our students are also participating in smaller evaluative Link-It assessments. Collecting and analyzing data to improve learning outcomes is a good use of standardized tests - using it for formative assessment is not. "Are we improving as a district grade by grade and year over year?" is a question I will continue to ask our administration. Data helps them answer the question.
As a chronically underfunded school district I believe the state needs to overhaul the formula for school funding. While the model for funding aid for capital projects is improving the aid for operational expenditures is lacking for Haddonfield. In the recent past the money provided from the state for a general education student not receiving any special services was less than 60 dollars a student. It didn't even cover the district's cost to administer the state mandated PARCC. Our district is going to see an influx of students with new residential development over the next few years - further penalizing our taxpayers. The State formula needs to be more equitably distributed to all districts.
Our district recently convened a committee of community safety professionals, our emergency management heads in the police and fire departments, as well as our administrators and staff responsible for safety as well as the social and emotional needs of our students. The group agreed to a list of minimal improvements that must be made to improve our security. In an old district like ours many of the recommendations do require capital expenditures that would require multi-year planning and or a referendum to provide added measures. For procedural changes I feel the district can and is moving forward with improving security procedures and we added to the current budget for projects like secure vestibules in the remaining elementary schools.