Education News

New Leadership for Mantua Township School District

Mantua, NJ –The Mantua Township Board of Education announced Mr. Robert Miles, current principal of J. Mason Tomlin School, as their candidate for superintendent. The board will vote on Miles’ appointment at the board of education meeting on June 8, 2020.

Mr. Miles will officially begin on August 1, 2020, replacing Dr. Robert Fisicaro who announced his resignation in April. Miles and Fisicaro are working with the board to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

Mr. Miles has been principal of J. Mason Tomlin School for five years. During his time as principal, Mantua Township School District was named a National District of Character. This accomplishment is one that Mr. Miles attributes to the ongoing collaboration between teachers and administrators. Miles is most proud of his work as the district school safety specialist. With his direction, the district has implemented new safety measures at a fast pace. Mr. Miles is committed to improving school safety for all students and staff in the district. Before coming to the Mantua Township School District, he taught math and was a vice principal at Kingsway Regional Middle School. Miles’ background is in finance where he started his professional career before becoming an educator.

“As principal of JMT, I’ve become deeply invested in our community and look forward to building upon the good work we’ve accomplished here in Mantua. As superintendent, I will always make it my daily goal to prioritize school safety while delivering the highest quality academic and character education programs available to our students,” said Robert Miles.

The Board of Education also identified Ms. Chantelle Shorter, current vice principal of J. Mason Tomlin School, as the new principal effective August 1, 2020. Ms. Shorter has been the vice principal at J. Mason Tomlin School for three years. She believes in working as a team to figure out what’s best for students. Ms. Shorter is a strong advocate for identifying individual student strengths so they can be maximized for the purpose of learning. Prior to coming to Mantua in 2017, Ms. Shorter taught in Charlotte, North Carolina while she completed her graduate studies. She also taught with Mr. Miles at Kingsway Regional Middle School before moving to Charlotte. Born and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Shorter stands by the philosophy of educating the whole child. She believes social-emotional wellness undoubtedly leads to student achievement.

“It is a blessing to work with a great team and families in such a wonderful district as Mantua Township. I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to be involved in innovative and strategic initiatives under Dr. Fisicaro’s leadership. I am looking forward to continuing to learn under the leadership of Mr. Miles in the years to come,” stated Chantelle Shorter.

“The Board of Education has high amounts of confidence and trust in Mr. Miles and Mrs. Shorter, both of whom are proven and capable educational leaders. These promotions will ensure the continuity of services for students and familiarity with the Mantua Township School community. We are very pleased with these selections, and the board looks forward to the opportunity to build with them on a strong educational foundation,” said Bonnie Nuss, president of the Mantua Township Board of Education.

About Mantua School District:

The Mantua Township School District, located in Gloucester County, serves nearly 1,300 students from prekindergarten through 6th grade. Their educational approach emphasizes the principles of integrity, excellence, compassion, innovation, perseverance, respect, community, and gratitude as core values to guide the school community.

Education News

Building Safety Month Celebration Wraps With Focus on Training, Education

Washington, D.C. – The celebration for Building Safety Month 2020 comes to a close with week four, which highlights training and education for the next generation of building safety professionals. This week the Code Council, its members and partners, will explore building safety career opportunities and the value of a well-trained workforce for maintaining a safe built environment. Thorough training and education help code officials consistently ensure the buildings in their communities are safe.

The building safety industry offers a wide range of career opportunities with positions that include code officials, inspectors, permit technicians, fire marshals, plumbing professionals, plans examiners and more. Through its Safety 2.0 initiative, the Code Council provides resources for students, veterans and others considering a career in the built environment.

“Especially during these difficult times when we find ourselves spending most of our time inside, we have a greater appreciation for building safety and the highly-trained professionals that ensure our communities are safe and protected,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “As the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined the work of building and fire prevention departments to be essential to the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, there is a stronger demand for us to bolster our industry with a knowledgeable and qualified workforce.”

“The weekly theme of ‘Training the Next Generation’ aligns with NCARB’s current focus: to develop training materials for licensure candidates, supervisors, and mentors to best prepare for the challenges of the future,” said Terry Allers, President of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, a week four sponsor. “Only through proper mentorship and effective resources can the next generation of architects, and other architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals, be energized to improve the built environment for everyone.”

“LIUNA is proud to work with the International Code Council in promoting the importance of training in construction,” said Terry O’Sullivan, LIUNA General President, a week four sponsor. “As a highly skilled and experienced union workforce, training and safety are key to every project for the half-million members of LIUNA who build the infrastructure of the United States and Canada.”

The Code Council will host its final installment of the Building Safety Month Webinar Series on Friday, May 29, at 1:00 PM ET. The 90-minute free webinar will address deck safety, the codes and the second edition of the Code Council’s Deck Code and Education publication. The book, which will be available this summer, consists of ten chapters that provide every 2018 International Residential Code provision related to decks. Author and codes expert Glenn Mathewson will explain one overlooked or misunderstood provision from each chapter of the book. To register for the upcoming webinar, click here.

Learn more and download free resources about training and building industry career opportunities here. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #BuildingSafety365.

About the International Code Council

The International Code Council is a nonprofit association that provides a wide range of building safety solutions including product evaluation, accreditation, certification, codification and training. It develops model codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.

Community Calendar Education

Free Gardening Webinar Series Offered by Master Gardeners & 4-H

(Camden, NJ) – Have you and your family always wanted to garden? Do you just need a few tips to get started this growing season? Then join Camden County Master Gardener Coordinator Rebecca Szkotak and Camden County 4-H Agent Sharon Kinsey for the Get Ready to Grow! Family Gardening Series scheduled biweekly on Thursdays during June, July, and August 2020.

This six-part webinar series offered via WebEx is free of charge but requires pre-registration to participate. Szkotak will teach topics for the whole family, while Kinsey’s webinars are geared towards youth.

Topics Include:

  • June 4, 2020, 6 pm – Planning a Vegetable and Herb Garden with Rebecca
  • June 18, 2020, 3 pm – Making Upcycled Planters and Garden Markers with Sharon
  • July 2, 2020, 6 pm – Keeping Pest Out of the Garden with Rebecca
  • July 16, 2020, 3 pm – Insects – Pests or Pals?
  • August 6, 2020, 6 pm – Harvesting and Food Safety with Rebecca
  • August 20, 2020, 3 pm – Crafting for the Garden with Sharon

“Gardening is a rewarding, outdoor activity that can be shared by the whole family, especially during this period of social distancing,” said Freeholder Jeff Nash, liaison to the Camden County Parks Department. “With the expertise of these two organizations, and the easy access offered by the online format, your family will be cultivating and caring for your very own garden in no time.”

For questions, contact Rebecca Szkotak at or Sharon Kinsey at 

Register by June 3, 2020, by clicking here.

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension helps the diverse population of New Jersey adapt to a rapidly changing society and improve their lives and communities through an educational process that uses science based knowledge.

Through science-based educational programs, Rutgers Cooperative Extension truly enhances the quality of life for residents of New Jersey and brings the wealth of knowledge of the state university to local communities through a partnership with counties across New Jersey.

Education Recent News

Governor Murphy: Schools Statewide Will Not Reopen This Academic Year

Schools statewide will continue to conduct class by remote learning only and will not reopen during this academic year, Governor Phil Murphy announced on May 4.

The closure will apply to both public and private schools, and private schools with longer academic years will remain closed until at least June 30.

Public schools will continue to provide remote learning for students to allow districts to meet the state-required minimum of 180 instruction days.

“No parent or student in New Jersey should doubt that the governor’s decision was made judiciously, or with the foremost interest of keeping children and families safe as we navigate this continuing pandemic,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “While we have all remained hopeful that in-person classes would be able to resume this academic year, we must continue to make sacrifices that will save lives and speed up our ability to reopen institutions. We cannot rush into decisions that will only prolong this crisis in the long run. I know that this could not have been an easy decision to reach, and thank the governor for his measured, fact-based approach to New Jersey’s COVID-19 response.”

Governor Murphy has also announced that his administration will create a steering committee consisting of a diverse group of stakeholders in the education community to explore summer learning opportunities for all students, including school-sponsored summer programming and Extended School Year for students with disabilities.

The committee will provide recommendations to the Administration as to which services need to continue to be provided remotely should the public health emergency extend past the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year.

The committee will also explore approaches for the safest and most efficient re-opening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.

In addition, the Department of Education will work with school officials to share ideas on safe and innovative ways to recognize 2020 high school graduates and other end-of-year milestones for students.

More information on the governor’s order is available by clicking here.

Bellmawr Education News

Bellmawr School District Announces Appointment of Danielle Sochor as Next Superintendent

The Bellmawr Board of Education is proud to announce the appointment of Danielle Sochor as the school district’s next superintendent. Mrs. Sochor was unanimously approved at the regular board meeting held on April 29, 2020 and will assume the position on July 1, 2020.

Image credit: Twitter

The search began after current superintendent, Annette Castiglione, stated her intention to retire at the end of her contract, which will be on June 30, 2020.

Ms. Castiglione has dedicated herself to Bellmawr since she became superintendent in 2007, leading the district in achieving a new level of educational excellence. The district is so thankful for her years of service, and therefore knew how important it would be to pick just the right person to be the next great leader of the district, building upon the accomplishments of Superintendent Castiglione.

Step one in that process began in December, when the Board held open door community meetings in all three schools to allow parents, teachers, and community members to provide their input with regard to the qualities the next superintendent needed to possess. Additionally, a survey yielded hundreds of responses from community members all across Bellmawr. The Board was able to use both the survey and the in-person responses to create an advertisement for the position; one that would produce not only qualified candidates, but candidates that also fit the needs and personality of the district.

This advertisement brought in 47 applicants during January and February, which was gradually whittled down to four final candidates by March. It was then during the final round of interviews that it became clear that Danielle Sochor possessed all of the critical components the next superintendent of Bellmawr would need in order to lead the district into a new era. While all of the candidates were well-qualified, Mrs. Sochor rose above as the perfect fit. She joins us following her tenure of 10 years with Glassboro Public Schools, where she is currently the Chief Academic Officer for the district and is also serving as the principal for J. Harvey Rodgers Elementary School.

Prior to that, she served as a special education supervisor and curriculum coordinator with the Hainesport Board of Education.

“I am truly honored to be selected as the new superintendent of the Bellmawr School District. I look forward to working collaboratively with the school board, staff, parents, and community. I am committed to providing all students with an exceptional educational experience which will assist them with becoming productive members of an ever-changing global society,” says Mrs. Sochor.

The district will be working on a welcome video to introduce her to the Bellmawr Learning Community in the near future, as a formal in-person meet and greet is not yet permitted under the current conditions of the
Governor’s Executive Orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as soon as we are legally able, we will be sure to invite students, staff, parents, and all members of the Bellmawr community to formally welcome Mrs. Sochor to our district in-person.

Post updated on May 6, 2020 at 11:40 a.m. to include Ms. Sochor’s letter.