As the Camden Board of Education prepares to transition into its new advisory role, it will also be introducing some new faces.
Mayor Dana L. Redd appointed two new members Monday and reappointed President Kathryn Blackshear to the nine-member board.
No applications were taken. Redd reached out to those she thought would be best for the board: Dorothy Burley, former city clerk, and Jennifer Martinez, owner of JEM Foods, a food-distribution company in Camden.
In a Type 1 school district, board members are appointed, not elected. Redd makes all board appointments.
This time around, she decided not to appoint two of the first board members she appointed three years ago, Sean Brown and Ray Lamboy. Brown and Lamboy were outspoken critics of the district administration and the state Board of Education.
Lamboy abstained from voting in all Renaissance school-related votes, citing what he said was a lack of analysis of the schools' long-term impact.
Both were skeptical about the state takeover.
After the news of the takeover, Brown said: "The vision for the city is, fire all the cops and let the county do it; eliminate the school board and let the state do it; don't govern, let a political boss do it."
Burley and Martinez will replace Brown and Lamboy.
"I appointed these qualified individuals because I believe they are ready and willing to work in partnership with the state Department of Education and my administration to do whatever it takes to produce better educational outcomes for our children," Redd said in a statement. "Working together with students, parents, teachers, and administrators, I believe we can turn our school district around for the better."
A vacancy remains for the seat left open when Kathryn Ribay resigned the day the takeover was announced.
Brown said in an interview that he had no interest in serving on a board whose role had been downgraded to advisory. Lamboy said he had wanted to continue to serve on the board.
"I never had the opportunity" to talk with the mayor, he said of his interest in being reappointed. "Someone [from the mayor's office] left me a voice mail this morning saying that I wasn't going to be reappointed."
Lamboy said he was surprised and disappointed at the mayor's decision.
"I thought we had accomplished a lot," Lamboy said, citing a completed strategic plan and the national search for a new superintendent, which are both now moot since Gov. Christie's takeover announcement last month.
Camden will become the fourth urban district under state control, after Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City. The takeover is expected to be fully implemented by the start of the next school year.
Growing up in Camden, Martinez, 33, attended St. Anthony of Padua School, a parochial school in Cramer Hill, and later graduated from Camden County Vocational School. Her 6-year-old son currently attends St. Anthony of Padua.
Her volunteer work with the Intensive Supervision Program, through the state parole office, made her aware of the educational issues plaguing "this generation" of Camden youths, Martinez said Monday.
"Seeing the younger generation not being at reading or writing level, and educators [who] aren't pushing children as much as they should," are among her reasons for wanting to serve on the school board, she said.
Martinez said she was not bothered by the board's advisory role. She is also open to charters and other school choice programs coming into the city, she said.
Burley did not return a call seeking comment Monday.