School Board Candidates Talk Issues

School Board Candidates Talk Issues

1523
SHARE
There is a large pool of candidates running for the Board of Education.

By MADDY VITALE

There are 11 Ocean City Board of Education candidates running in the Nov. 2 election. They are vying for three, three-year seats.

Following is a list of questions asked of the candidates by OCNJDaily.com. The candidates are being profiled in a series of articles focusing on school district issues. Catherine Panico was profiled earlier. Chris Halliday and Jacqueline McAlister are profiled in this story.

Chris Halliday pictured with his wife, Shannon, and their children. (Photo courtesy of Chris Halliday)

Chris Halliday

How long have you lived in Ocean City?

I grew up in Ocean City and graduated from Ocean City High School. After completing my college education in Boston and starting my career in Santa Barbara, Calif., I returned to Ocean City in 2013 with my young family. I have fond childhood memories of Ocean City and find myself in the fortunate position to be raising my own family here.

What is your occupation?

I am an architect with a practice in Ocean City. My wife and I are the principal architects at Halliday Architects. We have four employees that we collaborate with daily on the design of custom homes. We are proud to be a part of the local small business community.

Do you have children in the district or were they in the district?

My two children are currently in the Primary School. This year, my youngest started kindergarten. They enjoy all the benefits of going to school in Ocean City and being a part of this great community.

Why are you running for School Board?

With two children in the district, I feel that I have an obligation to bring what I have learned in my professional and private life to help make the Ocean City School District the best district in the state.

There are many important decisions that will be made by the board in the upcoming years, and I feel I can help create a collaborative, informed and engaging process to facilitate those decisions. I am running for the school board to better the education and futures of the children in our community.

What do you hope to do if elected and what do you think is working/not working currently on the board?

I think the board has an opportunity to work together and learn from each other’s expertise to create an even better learning experience for our children. I am excited about the board’s dual path partnership with Stockton University. I would like to learn more about the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program and other programs to make our school district more resilient.

What would you like to change/achieve, new programs, different way of handling the COVID pandemic?

I am grateful that our children are back in school for in-person learning. The pandemic showed me the value of our teachers and educators. The school board needs to continue to make the best decisions for the mental and physical health and safety of our children.

Have you held office before or do you have anything else in your background that you believe lends itself to being a board member? Do you work or have you worked in the education field?

I think that owning a small business in our community and collaborating with my clients and employees has provided me with the compassion needed to make decisions that affect my children and the children of this district.

I was a member of the Ocean City Environmental Commission from 2016 to 2020. I was a member of the Ocean City Environmental Commission and enjoyed starting family-friendly educational events during that time.

Board of Education incumbent Jacqueline McAlister with her husband, Scott. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline McAlister)

Jacqueline McAlister

How long have you lived in Ocean City?

My family moved to Ocean City in August 2001. I am lucky enough to have moved here with my mom, my brother, and his family, and I ended up marrying my best friend right after we moved to Ocean City. We were blessed with two daughters and my family has had the good fortune to raise all of our kids together.

What is your occupation?

I started my career as a classroom teacher in the Trenton. Then I became an English teacher and a literacy coach in Egg Harbor Township. Eventually, I became an administrator in Cape May County, and today I work as an instructional specialist for the New Jersey Department of Education.

Do you have children in the district or were they in the district?

I have two daughters and a nephew in the Ocean City School District and my two nieces are recent graduates. We feel very blessed to have had our children educated in such an innovative and attentive district, which has always attended to the needs of the whole child.

Why are you running for School Board?

I originally ran for the OCSD School Board in 2012, because I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that has been so welcoming to me and my family.

Education is the area that I feel the most well-suited to lend a hand, so that’s where I chose to dedicate my volunteer service.

Today, our district is facing numerous critical issues and I want to continue to represent the voice of the community in educational matters. We are working through pandemic issues. We are conducting a superintendent search. We must continue to be vigilant and make sure that our schools always reflect the moral standards and the academic expectations of our community.

What do you hope to do if elected and what do you think is working/not working currently on the board?

If chosen by the community for a seat on the board, I would like to continue my advocacy for Cape May County and the Ocean City School Community at the state level. I have served as the Vice President of the school board and as the president of the Cape May County School Boards Association.

Now, I am a member of the New Jersey School Boards Board of Directors, and I think it is important to continue to be part of the conversation outside of our county.

What would you like to change/achieve, new programs, different way of handling the COVID pandemic?

I think our entire school community; especially the parents do an exceptional job of working together to build one of the most impressive districts in the state.

I see room for growth in our openness with the decision-making process and with how we implement mandates from the state.

We can improve, but we have so much to be proud of in the Ocean City School District.

Have you held office before or do you have anything else in your background that you believe lends itself to being a board member? Do you work or have you worked in the education field?

Working in the field of education helps to with the induction of a board member. However, over my years of experience, I have learned the qualities that define the best candidate for any local school board.

The best school board members are those that are engaged in the conversation, attentive to the needs of the students and the community, responsive to concerns, and involved in events.

I have achieved the level of Certified Board Member by the NJSBA. I have been the chair of the Curriculum and Student Affairs committee for years. I have been on numerous ad hoc committees, including the Superintendent Search committee. I would like to continue to volunteer my time to help move our district forward.

Here is the full list of candidates:

James Bauer, incumbent

Dale F. Braun Jr.

Chris Halliday

Ryan Leonard

Jacqueline McAlister, incumbent

Suzanne Morgan, incumbent

Catherine Panico

Robin Shaffer

Conor Fleming

Liz Nicoletti

Henry Disston Vanderslice