Gov. Christie’s announcement of a state takeover of Camden schools has not scared off the three finalists for the Camden Superintendent job.
Former Philadelphia School Reform Commission member Heidi Ramirez, current Willingboro superintendent Ronald Taylor and Oakland school district administrator Denise Saddler are all vying for the job of turning around New Jersey’s worst performing school district and will be doing a “Meet and Greet” with the public tonight.
The Camden Board of Education's candidates will be considered by the state, Christie said Monday, but the board now will serve in only an advisory role and has no final say. Christie could add more names to the mix.
The “Meet and Greet” will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Octavius V. Catto Community School, 3100 Westfield Avenue in Camden. The meet and greet will be followed by a “Question & Answer” session for previously submitted questions from 6 to 7 p.m. at the same location. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Ramirez, an urban educator and outspoken former Philadelphia School Reform Commission member, most recently served as the chief academic officer of Milwaukee Public Schools. Milwaukee is Wisconsin's largest school district with 82,000 students.
During her time in Philadelphia, Ramirez headed the Urban Education Collaborative at Temple University. She resigned from the commission in 2010 after clashing with then-Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. She was known for asking tough questions of Ackerman and her staff.
Taylor became interim superintendent of the Willingboro School District in January 2011 and permanent superintendent in March of that year. Prior to heading the Willingboro district, Taylor served as superintendent of Newark's West Region.
Saddler served as superintendent for the Oakland Unified District of 15 school in North and West Oakland for five years before moving to the position of Executive Leader of Educational Transitions for Schools and Community within the Oakland district in 2010, according to her LinkedIn profile. Saddler’s most recent role included “devised and implemented strategies to close five school” and managed the movement of 800 student and staff reassignment, according to her profile.