Long-term school directors across the state, including two from Bensalem Township School District, are being honored by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association for serving between eight to 36 years.
Locally, Heather Nicholas and Marc Cohen are being singled out for their respective tenures of 16 and eight years on the Bensalem board of school directors. Both were presented certificates during the Oct. 24 board meeting, officially honoring them as part of the PSBA “Honor Roll of School Board Service.”
According to Nicholas, her belief in the value of public schools and local control of public education for the benefit of all students is what makes her a standout school director. She served as a PSBA Representative to the Federal Relations Network, and also served on the following committees: Bensalem Education Foundation (assisted in the founding of BEF as a board member representative); Charter School; Instructional Affairs; Business; Technology; Facilities; Board Policy; Bucks County Technical High School Joint Board; and the Just for the Kids Education Foundation, a nonprofit that raises money to fund special, innovative programs at all nine schools in the district.
“Mrs. Nicholas has been a tireless advocate for the students of Bensalem,” said Superintendent Dr. Sam Lee. “Her 16 years of service on the Bensalem Township school board has seen the introduction of full-day kindergarten, Pre-K Counts, a massive renovation of our high school combined with expansion of program options, including district-wide STEM, a career pathways model with the Bensalem High School Class of 2023 earning 235 micro-credentials, Dual Enrollment, One to One technology for students, sound and effective district governance during the pandemic, and the district’s return to budgetary structural balance.”
Lee added that, additionally, Nicholas has kept taxes well below the Act I index and increased senior citizens’ tax rebate. Under her leadership, he said, the district maintains effective staffing levels in both transportation and health services in the midst of a severely challenged market. Nicholas was also on the negotiating team for several collective bargaining agreements, all during the most challenging times for public education.
Cohen also prides himself on believing in the value of public schools. He works with a number of student groups, including Bensalem High School Community Service Club, Multicultural Club and the tennis team.
He serves or has served on the following committees: Business; Budget; Technology; Facilities; Personnel; Wellness; Bensalem Drug & Alcohol Advisory Committee; Bensalem Township Council Board Liaison; Bensalem Education Foundation; and Just for the Kids Education Foundation. He serves as treasurer of the Bensalem Education Foundation, a group of community and school volunteers who work to get more resources to benefit Bensalem students.
“He has been a steadfast advocate for our students and a driving force behind our educational initiatives,” Lee said of Cohen. “His leadership, vision and deep passion for public education have been instrumental in shaping the future of our schools. Mr. Cohen is a founding member and treasurer of the Bensalem Education Foundation and an active member in Bensalem Rotary. As Superintendent, I can confidently say that Marc has played a pivotal role in advancing our mission of providing the highest quality education for all students.”
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