CAMDEN, NJ — Seven candidates will vie for three seats on the Camden school board this November, according to the Camden County Clerk's office following Tuesday's nomination petition deadline.
It will be the second year residents will choose school board members — another step on the road to a fully elected board.
Board members in the Camden City School District [CCSD], which has been under state control since 2013, work alongside the superintendent but do not have the ability to vote or approve items.
The transition from a Type I to Type II system — a board that is fully elected by residents — will take two more years as the terms for the nine current board members expire in groups and go up for election.
This year, Board President Minister Wasim Muhammad, Karen Merricks and Yolanda Whidbee's terms will expire.
Muhammad took over as board president in April, following the death of Martha Wilson. After N'Namdee Nelson was voted in as vice president, Merricks was appointed to the board by Mayor Frank Moran — as the vacancy had previously been filled in the same fashion.
Whidbee is not running for reelection.
Incumbents Muhammad and Merricks will run alongside Camden County police officer Clayton Gonzalez on the "Education for Everyone" slate — which successfully ran two board members last year.
Prior candidates Aaron Cooper, a firefighter in the city, and active community member JeNell McRae will once again run for the board, alongside Kevin Ruiz-Berroa representing the "One Camden United" slate.
Former school board member Theo Spencer will once more run independently under the "Restore the Board" slogan.
Over the next several weeks, TAPinto will speak with the candidates regarding the work they've done in the community, reason for running and their plans for the future of Camden schools.