Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey yesterday appointed a retiree and a social worker to the Camden school board.

Codey named political unknowns Susan Dunbar-Bey and Amalia Adame to the nine-member board.

They will be sworn in next week at the board's reorganization meeting along with Theo Spencer, who was recently appointed by Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison.

Spencer replaces board President Philip E. Freeman. A new state ethics rule bars high-ranking state employees such as Freeman, an assistant director for the state Division on Civil Rights, from holding an elected or appointed position.

The Camden school board was restructured under the 2002 Municipal Rehabilitation and Economic Recovery Act, which pumped $175 million into the city.

The restructuring allows the governor and mayor to make three appointments each to the school board. It also gives the governor veto authority over board actions.

School elections resume in Camden next year and residents get to choose three board members.

Codey made yesterday's appointments on behalf of Gov. Corzine, who has been hospitalized since an April 12 car crash.

In a statement, Codey said he believed Dunbar-Bey and Adame would "bring a wealth of experience and unique perspective to the Camden school board."

"I know they will do all they can to ensure that we are giving the children of Camden all the tools they need to succeed in school and life," Codey said.

In addition to Spencer, Faison reappointed board members Luis Lopez and Kathryn Blackshear to three-year terms.

Spencer, a Camden High graduate, has a bachelor's in chemistry from Howard University and an MBA from Tulane University.

Among the tasks facing the board are finding a permanent successor for former Superintendent Annette D. Knox who resigned in June, and plugging a $10.5 million budget deficit.

The district, which has nearly 16,000 students, has been rocked by a continuing state criminal probe into state test rigging and improper spending practices.

Dunbar-Bey retired in 2002 from Verizon Communications. During a career spanning more than three decades, she managed a staff of 32 engineers and support staff.

She also was a substitute teacher in Pennsauken from 2002 to 2005. She has a bachelor's from Rutgers University.

Adame has worked for five years for nonprofit organizations in Camden. She also taught Spanish in an after-school program and worked in a group home.

She holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia Union College, an associate's degree from Camden County College, and is pursuing a master's in social work at West Chester University.

Last May, Corzine reappointed Nyeema Watson and Tyra Kennedy to the board. Watson serves as the board's vice president; Kennedy resigned last month.

Contact staff writer Melanie Burney at 856-779-3876 or