Parkland Press

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Voters to choose four school board candidates

Thursday, May 11, 2017 by Debra Palmieri dpalmieri@tnonline.com in Local News

Voters in the Parkland School District will choose four candidates in the May 16 Municipal Primary Election to face off in the November election.

Marc Posegay and Keith Massie are running as Democrats. David M. Caruth is on the Republican ticket.

Sheikh Afzal, Jay Rohatgi, Marie Maritch, Linda Perlman-McKenna, David J. Hein and Robert M. Cohen have cross-filed on both the Democratic and Republican ballots

Posegay, a Parkland graduate, is a lifelong resident of the district. He lives in Orefield with his wife, Megan, also a Parkland graduate, and their daughter, Elizabeth, 8 months.

His mother was a teacher in the Parkland School District for 34 years, and his wife is a teacher at Parkway Manor Elementary School.

“As a student at Parkland, I was a member of the National Honor Society and a four-year varsity letter recipient as a member of the swim team,” Posegay says. “After graduating, I attended The Pennsylvania State University where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

For the past six years, Posegay has worked as a security pricing analyst with the Vanguard Group.

“I am running for this position to help Parkland maintain its tradition of excellence in education, athletics and the arts,” Posegay says. “I would bring a unique perspective and talent to the board with my background in economics and financial analysis.

“My main goal will be to ensure long-term fiscal responsibility in order to benefit the current and future students, employees of Parkland and taxpayers.

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Massie is an assistant professor of communication studies at Kutztown University, where he received the John P. Schellenberg Faculty Award.

“Education has always been a central aspect of my life. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, Bachelor of Science degree in speech communication, a Master of Science degree in communication, and a Ph.D. in communication studies, as well as a graduate certificate in social media analysis,” Massie said. “Moreover, I have been an educator. As an educator, I have taught as a substitute teacher for grades K-12, been a full-time community college instructor, and have held appointments as a university professor.

“These positions have spanned six states, and I have seen many of the challenges that exist in our education system.”

Massie says he decided to run for school board for a couple of reasons.

“First, I am concerned about the potential changes that may ‘come down the pipe’ since Betsy Devos was confirmed as secretary of education,” Massie says. “Her vision for education could lead to drastic shifts, and I want to minimize any negative consequences to the extent that I can.

“Second, my son is a student in the district and attends Cetronia Elementary. I want to work to insure that the quality of education throughout the district remains high for him and his peers.”

Massie has lived in the Parkland School District for four years.

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Caruth is marketing manager for Verizon Corporate, a published author, president, CEO of Caruth Consulting and vice president and treasurer of Coldwater Crossing’s Master Association Board

He has Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, with dual majors in marketing and management; a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Rosemont College; a Ph.D. from Capella University in business management.

“ ... a school board, is comprised of community members who all do one thing, and that one thing is to make decisions,” Caruth says. “Those decisions are made based on information provided to the board, and making such decisions have impactful outcomes on all members of the community, with the most important members being our children.

“As a father of a soon-to-be 4 year old, my son will soon be entering the Parking School system, and like any father, or mother, we want the best for our children.

“That is one of the many reasons I planted roots here in the Parkland School District, as it is known as being one of the best. And our children deserve the best.”

Caruth says that beyond education, he has a wealth of experience in decision making, planning, budgeting, and countless business and community related transaction experience.

“My primary objective to be on Parkland’s School Board is to create an environment where each and every child has an equal opportunity to succeed,” Caruth says.

“To accomplish this, we need to collaboratively require adequate classroom sizes, rich curriculum, consisting of diverse electives and advanced placement, and additionally career-technical and vocational courses.

“Working together with the other board members and most importantly the community, we all can tackle the quality-of-education, equity, and fiscal challenges, while representing the diverse interests of all parties.”

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Rohatgi has more than 18 years of experience in using technology to solve complex business problems.

He currently works as a global industry principal at Pegasystems Inc, a multimillion dollar software solutions company.

Rohatgi says his goal is to bring the same energy, enthusiasm and problem solving ability he uses in his everyday life, to the Parkland School Board.

He volunteers as a local board member for American Cancer Society, commissioner for GBSL soccer, coach for Springhouse science team and as the community relations director at an Allentown temple.

Rohatgi and his wife live in Fogelsville with their two children who are part of the Parkland School District.

“No boundaries should limit our students from achieving excellence,” Rohatgi said. “I aim to work hard for the progress of our schools, children and the entire education system ...

“While Parkland School District is good, I firmly believes it can be even better, both for families who have kids in the system, and for those who pay property taxes to the district but do not have school aged kids.

His four pillars for Parkland are: getting resident voices heard; improving college preparedness through alumni and business leader mentorship; better fiscal responsibility by using technology alternatives, thereby keeping property taxes in check; and uplifting Parkland’s state rankings via micro-targeted education programs that help our kids while preserving property values at the same time.

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Maritch has a Master’s in Business Administration in management and marketing degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in business communications, both from DeSales University.

She is a software quality analyst for Almac Clinical Services.

“I am running for Parkland School Board because I want to help build upon Parkland’s tradition of excellence while being fiscally responsible to taxpayers,” Maritch says. “My husband and I moved to Parkland 24 years ago because we wanted our children to attend school in a district with consistently high academic standards and performance. We made the right decision.

Maritch says she has volunteered more than 20 years in the district as well as in a variety of athletic and community organizations, as PSD Community Advisory Council Board, Current Co-President; DeSales MBA Association; DeSales Alumni Association; PHS Booster Clubs; Parkland Youth Center, Past VP-Girls Basketball coach; Kratzer PTO Board, Past President, Vice President, Treasurer, Yearbook Chairperson; OMS PTO; and South Whitehall Crime Watch.

“All three of our children have graduated from Parkland,” Maritch said. “Because of my experiences as a parent as well as a volunteer, I have gained valuable insight into the ever-changing public education system, including regulatory, administrative, and budgetary concerns.

“With the help of administrators, staff, and community members, I want to help maintain Parkland’s record of excellence while being a responsible steward of our taxpayers’ money.”

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Perlman-McKenna was born and raised in northern New Jersey.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health planning and administration from Penn State, and an M.S.P.H. in health policy and management from UNC —Chapel Hill.

Currently retired, she worked more than 14 years as a health services management professional in a variety of nonprofit settings, including health insurance, managed care, hospital and health services organizations.

“Before relocating to Parkland, I served as director of planning, strategy and governance for a division of a national health care association in Chicago,” Perlman-McKenna said. “My entire career has been devoted to planning and managing programs/services and leading positive change aimed at improving the health and well-being of others.”

Perlman-McKenna has been a resident of South Whitehall Township for 17 years where she and her husband raised two children.

“During that time, I have volunteered extensively,” she said. “My volunteer experience with Parkland includes Community Advisory Council Board; Comprehensive and Strategic Planning Committees; Class Rank Committee; Cetronia PTO Board; and Springhouse PTO.

Perlman-McKenna explained why she is running for school board

“I place a high value on public education, community service, and advocacy for children,” she said. “I have been a proud supporter of the Parkland School District and a dedicated volunteer serving our school community in many capacities for over 15 years.

“I feel fortunate my children have had outstanding educational opportunities at Parkland.

“I am running for school board because I would like to give back to the district by helping to ensure others are afforded the same quality educational opportunities.

“I believe that my background; significant management experience in the nonprofit health and human services field; leadership abilities and professional skills will enable me to contribute in a meaningful way.

‘Moreover, my knowledge of the school district through my extensive volunteer experience will mean a shorter learning curve and more time that can be focused moving the district forward to better serve our children.”

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Hein, a 20-year resident South Whitehall Township, has served as Parkland School Board director from 2013 to the present.

He is a member of the Personnel and Finance Committee and is a past chairman.

A past member of the Academics, Arts, and Athletics Committee, he has served as Lehigh Career and Technical Institute Joint Operating Committee member from 2013 to the present.

Hein is a member of the Business and Finance, and Technology committees.

He served on the Parkland School District Community Advisory Council with which he was past co-president and member from 2008 to 2013.

He has been an American Diabetes Association volunteer from 2003 to the present.

A certified public accountant, he has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Bloomsburg University.

He is manager in sales analytics and reporting for Independence Blue Cross.

“I believe in order to be a productive member of society, you need to start with a quality public education,” Hein said.

“In order to achieve that, you need the infrastructure in place that provides the programming and the champions to promote those programs. We have that in the Parkland School District.

“I am coming to the completion of my first term as a school board director in the Parkland School District and I want to continue to be one of those champions in order to preserve what we have and grow our programs in a fiscally responsible manner.

Hein says the purpose of public education is to prepare children for the next phase of their lives.

“Whether they are entering the workforce or going to a college or trade school, our children need to be prepared with the life skills that a public education provides,” Hein says. “We must continue to expose our children to academics, arts, and athletics for them to be able to make their own decisions about their futures.

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Cohen is a graduate of William Allen High School and Pratt Institute, with a Bachelor of Architecture degree, and Technology Institute of Lehigh Valley, from which he is a Microsoft Certified Professional.

He is a retired business owner and education software consultant.

Cohen says his qualifications for this office include being a director on the Parkland School Board for 20 years, president for four years, vice president for four years, chairman of the Academic, Arts, and Athletics Committee for four years.

He has also served on the Strategic Planning Committee, Contract Negotiation Committee, Building and Grounds Committee, Personnel and Finance Committee and Multicultural Community Outreach Committee.

Cohens served as a director for Lehigh Career and Technical Institute for five years, as a trustee for Lehigh Carbon Community College for seven years and a director of Parkland Community Library for three years.

Cohen says a safe and secure educational environment is the No. 1 priority.

“In Parkland, parents know their children have the academic, art, and athletic resources needed to prepare them for the 21st century,” Cohen said. “Accountability, both educationally and financially, insures our district remains a nationally recognized leader.

“I have been an integral part of this collaborative effort for 20 years.”

A Parkland resident for 31 years, Cohen has two grandchildren in the school district.

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The Parkland School District includes North Whitehall, South Whitehall and Upper Macungie townships; Part of Allentown, 17th Ward, 4th District and 18th Ward, 2nd District.