For candidates in all Chesco school districts, see here.
At a time when public education is under attack and school boards across Chester County and Pennsylvania are besieged by misinformation, it is more important than ever to elect pro-education Democrats to provide the best possible education for our children. This year we have the opportunity to become the majority in five school boards countywide, bringing pro-public education leadership to more than half of the school districts across Chester County.
You can do your part to protect public education by donating and volunteering (see links below) to help elect Democrats to targeted school board races across Chester County!
Avon Grove School District
Ruchira Singh (Region I) is a long-time volunteer dedicated to helping the community. In addition to volunteering in classrooms and with the PTA, Ruchira fosters animals at the Humane society and supports a local no-kill shelter. She is a member and volunteer with International Women’s Club. Education has always been Ruchira’s priority. For that reason, she and her husband moved from Delaware to Pennsylvania so that their two children would attend the Avon Grove School District. Ruchira has a dual BS in Chemistry/Biology, and Masters in Urban Planning.
Bruce Belcher (Region I) is a long-time supporter of public education with three children who attend Avon Grove School District. When not renovating his 1770s Landenberg historical farmhouse, Bruce spends his time outdoors skiing, biking, and hiking with his family. Bruce’s professional background with a multinational global organization includes over 30 years working in management, accountability and running of manufacturing. His current role consists of continuous improvement of processes, optimization, and long-term strategic planning. Bruce holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA.
Tina Manolescu (Region II)
Born and raised in the area, Christina has deep roots and attachment to the Avon Grove community. Christina and her husband have lived and raised their children in Lincoln University for the past 14 years. Her son, Luke, graduated from Avon Grove in Class of 2020. Her daughter, Eden, currently attends Avon Grove and will graduate in 2023. Both children flourished because of Avon Grove. As an educator in Chester County for 28 years, Christina’s education and background provide her with the knowledge and expertise needed for oversight of an educational system. She graduated from Neumann University with a degree in Elementary Education and has a Master’s in Education from West Chester University.
Christina is a highly involved parent who believes that parent engagement and involvement fosters student success. For the past 3 years, she has served as Vice President of the Avon Grove Music Boosters Association. She has also volunteered as a homeroom mom, after-school educator, and on the AGHS Parent Action Committee. With senior citizen parents, and many extended family and friends in the community, she has a unique understanding of how the school district can serve as a community-wide asset. Christina has seen first-hand how the hard work and dedication of teachers and volunteers make a true impact in the success of students. As an Avon Grove School Board Director, she will bring her full commitment to both the community and students.
Bill Wood (Region III) attended public schools from grades K-12, during which time caring teachers helped him overcome a learning disability and encouraged him to expand his academic interests. He acted, danced, played trombone in the band and orchestra, ran cross country, played soccer and participated in debate. He went on to earn a degree from Northwestern University. For 30 years he has been a teaching artist, presenter of educational assembly programs, workshop leader for students and teachers, and keynote speaker on educational topics. He has worked in hundreds of schools across the country. and also for 25 years as a facilitator of team building programs with youth, college and corporate teams, fostering the social-emotional skills of positive risk taking, cooperation, collaboration and communication. He conducts professional development that help educators to develop those same skills with their students. Bill served on the board of the Avon Grove Charter School in 2011 and 2012, and has been a member of the board of AGSD since 2016.
Owen J. Roberts School District
David Harmanos (at-large) and his wife Karen have three daughters who have been at OJR schools since 2007. Their oldest graduated, one is in high school and one is in middle school. David has been a practicing professional engineer for over 25 years and previously served on the Board of Directors at Charlestown Playhouse, a Pre-K cooperative school, for seven years, and served as its treasurer for four. David has 14 years of experience teaching elementary children in Sunday school and seven years teaching adults for continuing education credits. He also served as a regional coordinator for the USA Climbing organization for youth competitive rock climbing for seven years. David has a BS and MS from Drexel University.
Rita Pederson (at-large) and her husband chose the OJR Community as their home more than 15 years ago, and their three sons are all currently Wildcats. She chose to run for School Board to be of service to our community and help secure the education of all of our children. As an OJR parent, she has given hundreds of volunteer hours in service to our kids. In 5 years on West Vincent’s PTA Board (2 as president) she created, chaired or supported dozens of programs including Talent Show, Publishing Center, Family Arts Night, etc. Rita created and executed fundraising events and programs that allowed for major art installations, assemblies and technology upgrades. She felt it was important that all programming was free to all families. Inclusion, regardless of ability to pay, was always a priority. As a Board Member, she will always keep inclusivity and accessibility in the forefront of my decision-making. Professionally, she has used her education in Labor Relations from Cornell University to split her career between the private and public sector always with the same guiding principles: to reach more constituents, especially those in need or at risk, and to create programs that meet their needs while remaining good community stewards. Through her career she has followed the same rule: Listen to what your client, customer and community need, help define their goals, and make a plan to reach those goals. This guided her in changing the way IBM recruited candidates in the Silicon Valley, in reaching at-risk communities for the American Cancer Society in NC, and now as the Managing Director of Steel River Playhouse in Pottstown. As an OJR Board Member, she will bring her skills in community engagement and consensus-building to the team while encouraging all to embrace the opportunities a diverse community brings.
April Saboe (at-large) believes every child deserves the right to belong in their school and community where they feel valued and respected as individuals. After facing the pandemic and not knowing the effects it will have for years to come, she wants to help the community cultivate and foster a feeling of belonging in every individual and create a climate that celebrates, encourages, and strengthens us all. As we settle into a post-pandemic world, we will need to be fiscally responsible while being acutely aware of the students and the district’s new needs. April wants to restore OJR’s ranking in the top 100 schools in PA by meeting every child where they are, by helping them reach their fullest potential. She sees education as something every child is entitled to, without justification needed.
Oxford Area School District
Sherri Matis-Mitchell (at-large) is running for school board because a good and safe education benefits everyone in the community. Her goal is to improve OASD test scores & rank while keeping mind that a solid foundation in math, science & reading benefits those in trades and those seeking college degrees.
Contact: [email protected]
Eric Owens (incumbent – Region 1) is a Harrisburg native, and has been a professor and chairman of the Counselor Education department at West Chester University since 2001. He previously spent four-and-a-half years as a school counselor in the Pittsburgh area.
Dr. Owens is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and earned his master’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. from Duquesne University. He and his wife Shannon live in Oxford Borough with their children, Ryan, a seventh grader at Penn’s Grove School, and Katie, a kindergartner at Jordan Bank Elementary School.
Amy Jones (Region 2 )is invested in our school district, believes strongly in how public education contributes to equality, and wants all of our children to succeed. She is an OASD graduate.
Jenifer Warren (incumbent – Region 3) grew up in a rural community. Her parents owned a country store where she worked through high school. After high school, Jenifer attended the University of DE, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, and San Jose State University, where she received a Masters of Library and Information Science. She went on to work in both public and school libraries. Jenifer and her husband, Kevin, wanted to raise their children in a small town setting similar to the one in which they were raised. They have lived in OASD for 17 years where her two sons attended school since Kindergarten. Finn graduated in 2019 and is a junior at Gettysburg College and Connor graduated in 2021 and is a freshman at Lafayette College.
After taking time off to be home with her young children, Jenifer returned to work as the office manager at Warren Energy, her husband’s engineering company. In 2015 Jenifer went to work for a cause she felt passionate about: assisting those with food insecurity. She began volunteering at the Oxford Neighborhood Services Center food pantry, where she still volunteers each week packing groceries for clients. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic when donations to the food pantry plummeted, Jenifer raised $700 and was able to help purchase and deliver needed items to the Neighborhood Services food pantry. In addition to volunteering in the food pantry, Jenifer has written the blog From a Simmer to a Boil, which focuses on the topic of food insecurity.
Spring-Ford Area School District
Abby Deardorff is a Registered Nurse with a certification in Maternal Newborn Nursing. She is also a substitute School Nurse for the Spring-Ford School District, so she is particularly mindful of and committed to enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional health of our students. She has previously worked in volunteer management and special event planning for the American Red Cross. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Millersville University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from West Chester University. A longtime resident of Montgomery County, she and her husband live in Royersford with their three children, two of whom attend the district. Their son attends Brooke Elementary as a second grader, and their oldest daughter entered kindergarten this year. In her spare time, she is a board member of the Royersford Baptist Church Nursery School and founding board member of the Adalyn Rose Foundation.
Erica Hermans has worked in the financial services industry for close to 20 years. Over 15 of these years have been focused on Organizational Learning and Development (L&D). She believes all students are entitled to a superior education that builds transferable life- and career-readiness skills and experiences. As an L&D specialist, she has developed and facilitated classes on a variety of critical initiatives to help adults advance in their careers. She has built and delivered programs on investment-related topics, professional development skills, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and business-specific programs, to name a few. Erica is excited to help shape Spring-Ford’s curricula to effectively prepare our children for an increasingly competitive and changing job market. As a School Board Director, she will be open to understanding the many varied approaches to enhance our children’s K-12 experience. She will do the research necessary and partner with administrators, teachers, staff, and the community to understand the feasibility of implementing these approaches to our children’s education and how best to fuel their success post-graduation. Erica has lived in the Spring-Ford Area School District for 14 years, currently residing in Limerick Township with her husband and young 2 children who attend Spring-Ford. She also has a stepson who recently graduated from Albright College with a degree in Theater. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering at Home & School Association events and leading a Girl Scout Troop of fabulous 6th graders.
West Chester Area School District
Joyce Chester (incumbent – Region 1) is running for re-election as Director of the WCASD Board, Region 1 which includes the West Chester Borough & West Goshen Township. Her focus for the past 8 years and going forward is on RESULTS leading to success for each and every child in WCASD.
Karen Fleming (Region 2) is a passionate believer in the importance of strong public schools for our children, our community and the future of our country and democracy. She and her husband Jeff moved to West Chester over 20 years ago and have raised their family here. All three of their children attended WCASD schools and are proud graduates of West Chester East High School. She knows, as a parent, that the excellent education they received in the WCASD laid the foundation for them to go on to academic and professional success. As School Director, she will work to make sure that every student is on a path to graduate and receives the education they need to be successfully prepared for college or a career, regardless of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression.
Carrie Stare (Region 3) will build on her professional background and community volunteer work to make WCASD a safe and inclusive environment for all students, teachers, and staff. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Millersville University and a master’s in Public Administration from West Chester University. A proud product of Pennsylvania’s public education system from kindergarten through graduate school, Carrie is running for school board because she believes in our schools and the value of a public education.
Dr. Laura Detre (Region 3) is running to ensure better collaboration between our school district, educators, and community. Laura is a PhD and West Chester University adjunct professor with nearly 25 years of first-hand classroom experience who knows what it takes to help all students reach their potential. She understands the many perspectives of our community, and not just because she is an educator. She is also a mother, taxpayer, and tireless neighborhood volunteer with the Boy Scouts Troop 149, Art Goes to School initiative, and more. With Laura’s leadership, all diverse voices in our community will be heard.