Camden residents meet candidates for school supt.

March 26, 2013 9:39:31 PM PDT
Camden's troubled school system has become the center of attention for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and state education officials.

Tuesday night was the first step in finding new leadership to help Camden turn things around after Monday's announcement that the state will take over the school district.

"We are moving the agenda of community schools," said Denise G. Saddler, candidate for Superintendent.

Wasting no time in the takeover of the Camden school system, the governor's office held a public meet and greet with three potential candidates for school superintendent.

"I'm from a city very similar to Camden," said Dr. Ronald Taylor. "I'm from Detroit."

Dr. Ronald Taylor is the current Superintendent of the Willingboro School District and has a 17 year career as an educator, including teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal at various stops across the east coast.

"I believe you have to be very prescriptive in the way that you address student achievement. Student achievement is my number one goal," said Dr. Taylor.

Denise Sadler is a former executive leader of the Oakland Unified School District in California, with more than 35 years experience as a teacher, Assistant Principal, area Superintendent and Union President.

"I was involved in making a difference academically for the students that I was responsible for supervising, and I see possibilities in Camden," said Sadler.

Dr. Heidi Ramirez, the former Chief Academic Officer for Milwaukee Public Schools, is also a candidate.

She once served as former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's appointee to the School Reform Commission, and also served as acting Associate Dean in the College of Education at Temple University.

"I expect this community and its schools, staff students to come together, and we will really make something special happen in Camden," said Dr. Ramirez.

Camden residents have seen the hopes and visions of a number of superintendents over the year, and have seen many of them fail.

Many residents came out to meet the candidates and share their view on what the troubled school system needs.

"You have to be very creative and very thoughtful about the process and programs that you are putting in place," said Dwayne Williams, a former school board member.

"Let the educators educate our kids," said Ulysses Delgado.

"I really think that they need to ask the students more of what it is they desire," said Kathleen Avaut.

The State Commissioner of Education will make a recommendation as to which candidate should get the job, but ultimately it is Governor Christ Christie who will make the final decision.

Action News has learned that his decision could come within 6 to 8 weeks.