P.O. Box 909 ● Trenton, NJ 08605-0909 ● Phone: 609.695.7600 ● Fax: 609.695.0413 ● Web: www.njsba.org/PI
Lindenwold Trustee Named "New Jersey School Board Member of the Year"
Trenton, Sept. 27, 2007 - Cathy Moncrief, a 17-year veteran of the Lindenwold Board of Education in Camden County, is New Jersey's School Board Member of the Year, the New Jersey School Boards Association announced today.
"Cathy exemplifies the very nature of community service," said Kevin E. Ciak, NJSBA president. "She is a tireless public servant who works without pay or benefits for the betterment of children in her community, and throughout the state."
NJSBA, a statewide federation of local school districts, established its School Board Member of the Year program in 2005 as a way to highlight the contributions of the more than 4,800 local board of education members in New Jersey.
An independent panel from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association selected Moncrief. Nominations could be made by other board members, superintendents, business officials, school district staff or the community.
Moncrief has served as the Lindenwold school board's president for 12 of the 17 years she has served on the board.
Even before Moncrief became a board member, in 1990, she established herself as a child advocate in Lindenwold by leading a citizens' group to encourage the borough to provide busing for students who had to cross a dangerous highway, the White Horse Pike, to get to school.
When she joined the board, the district was facing financial difficulties. Moncrief earned a reputation for sound judgment that helped the district regain its fiscal footing. Later on, the district underwent a feasibility study and dissolution of the Lower Camden County Regional School District. This resulted in Lindenwold changing from a K-6 district to a comprehensive Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 district, which required a referendum, construction of a high school, and development of appropriate policies for all grades. Lindenwold is now in its sixth year of operating a Pre-K to 12 district. Moncrief helped guide the district through challenges that have included defeated school budgets, administrative turnover, and a highly mobile and economically disadvantaged student population.
Under her leadership, the school district is closing the achievement gap, and its graduation rate is rising. The board has received NJSBA's Ray Milam Award for sound governance in an urban school district, a Lindenwold teacher was named Princeton University's State Educator of the Year and, last year, Lindenwold High School was selected as a best practices school by the Successful School Practices program of the International Center for Leadership in Education, a New York-based organization that promotes more rigorous and effective curriculum.
Moncrief is a member of the Camden County School Boards Association. On the state level, she has served on NJSBA's Board of Directors, its Urban Boards Committee and its Special Education Committee. She has shared her expertise with colleagues as a trainer in various professional development programs for school board members. She was also her district's representative to the Re-Inventing High Schools State Summit.
In 2000, Moncrief chaired an NJSBA study calling for changes in special education funding, which led to the enactment of legislation that benefited local school districts financially. In October of 2006, she appeared before the special session of the state Legislature on property tax reform, testifying on special education funding.
She has earned the designation of Master Board Member through NJSBA's Board Member Academy, a program that recognizes advanced levels of training among school board members. Only 179 board members have achieved the rank since NJSBA created the program in 1992.
Moncrief works as a world language teacher and instructional supervisor in Washington Township, Gloucester County.
"Cathy understands the full range of demands and issues that school board members face, ranging from advocacy to supporting academic achievement," said Ciak. "She is a dedicated volunteer, who has effectively served the children of her community. Her efforts have also benefited children in communities throughout the state."
NJSBA plans to honor her on Oct. 24 at its annual conference.