Civic Engagement Special Initiative

There are 3.7 million people in Pennsylvania who are eligible to vote, but not registered. They are the “sleeping giant” of Pennsylvania politics. These voters tend to be young, lower income, and ethnically diverse, many of them are the people UNC serves every day.

Therefore UNC has launched a campaign to encourage these families and individuals to make their voices heard through political channels. The more our clients vote, the more elected officials will respond to their needs. At each of our Centers we have voter registration forms for clients who are not registered. We are also working with partners to promote education about local candidates and issues. For example, candidates running in the May 2017 primary elections for Scranton School Board and Scranton City Council are being asked to fill out questionnaires developed by UNC and based on issues that our clients have identified as important to them. Responses will be posted on this webpage soon.

Our goal is to help people overcome barriers and inspire their participation in our political process without advocating on behalf of any certain candidate, party, or position. Whatever your political beliefs, as citizens we all have not only a right, but an obligation to participate in choosing our leaders and speak up about issues that are important to us. See you at the polls!

Meet the Candidates

Scranton School Board

Christopher Phillips

What is your educational background?
Bishop Hannan High School – 1994
Associates Degree Business – Lackawanna College – 1987
Bachelor’s Degree Business – Penn State University 2000
Attended – Widener University School of Law 2000-2004 (PT – No degree)

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
If elected I pledge to enact and follow a strict anti-nepotism policy, an ethics code and as I was before be civil and professional in my capacity as a director. As a director from 2007-2011 I advocated openly for televised school board meetings, which by the way no longer occurs. I was always open to the press and spoke to them freely. I advocated for all meeting minutes to be placed on the SSD website.

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Joseph A Matyjevich

What is your educational background?
City of birth: Scranton
Current city of residence: Scranton
Education:
High school: West Scranton High School 1983 Honors Graduate
Higher education (degree/certificate, program of study, school/institution): University of Scranton 1998 B.S. Computer Science

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
I am committed to open and honest government, Transparency and an anti-nepotism policy enforced by the board is a priority. The SSD is the people’s district. The SSD board sets the policy. I will and am capable of making the right and hard decisions to move the SSD forward. I will be a director that will be accountable for the decisions I make. I will hire on qualifications not name. Bidding of all contracts will be a priority.

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Mark McAndrew

What is your educational background?
Temple University Vocational Education Certification
The Culinary Institute of America Graduate
West Scranton Sr. High School

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
I am committed to providing transparency to all stakeholders. I recently have been endorsed by the Scranton Political Action Committee (PAC) which requires me to pledge to be:

  • Be civil and professional
  • Promote an ethics policy for directors
  • Institute a stringent anti- nepotism policy

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Robert Casey

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in political science, history, and business management from East Stroudsburg University. I also graduated from Scranton High School, where I was a member of the varsity track and field team.

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
I am running for Scranton School Board on a platform of transparency and accountability. During my tenure as a School Director, I have been a vocal advocate for ethical decision making that incorporates the best interests of our students, teachers, and the Scranton taxpayers. I strongly believe that fostering the best possible public school system requires discussions and decisions that take place in the open within our community. My voting record demonstrates these beliefs: I do not vote along party lines, but with my conscience.

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Chantal Rich

What is your educational background?
I got my BA from the University of Maine at Machias, I double majored in Fine Arts and American Studies. I am graduating this May from Marywood with an MSW.

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
As a social worker, I am bound to the social worker code of ethics, which is something that I carry to all aspects of my life, including the school board if I am elected. I think that ethics and open records are very important, and that the entire community should be able to access what the school board is doing.

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Katie Gilmartin

What is your educational background?
I hold a BA in Theatre Production from Fordham University, Fordham College at Lincoln Center. I am a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School. My elementary education was in the Abington Heights School District.

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
A commitment to transparency is a cornerstone of my candidacy. I believe that information should be accessible and easy to understand. A comprehensive knowledge of policy and procedure and a dedication to upholding those standards result in fair, balanced, well-reasoned decisions.

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Dr. Robert F. Waldeck

What is your educational background?
I hold a B.A. in Government from Lehigh University, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Temple University. I have been a professor of Biology at the University of Scranton since 2001 and have served as Director of the University’s Neuroscience Program since 2011. I also am an adjunct professor at Drexel College of Medicine in Philadelphia and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton. My work involves research, teaching, and administration.

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
I am grounded in and teach the importance of scientific evidence to support useful decisions and I would like to see this principle reflected in all our city’s agencies and boards, especially the School Board, which I believe should set an example for others to follow. More than ever before, the kinds of issues facing public schools today require public input and public involvement to resolve. Without transparency, the solutions we seek will never be achieved.

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Barbara Dixon

What is your educational background?
Born in Scranton, PA
Graduated from West Scranton High School
BS in Business
Masters in School Leadership

Describe your commitment to ethics and open records on the school board.
During my entire career I have always made ethical decisions regarding my students and personnel. I signed an Ethics Report as a principal and this practice continues as a School Board member.
I believe transparency is important for us to service our two biggest customers: the children and the taxpayer. There is always room improvement on any current practice.
I participated in many community efforts while working as a teacher, principal, and business owner.

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Vote for up to four candidates.
Bob Sheridan and Mike Williams are also candidates for the School Board. They did not submit answers to UNC by May 5, 2017.

Register to Vote

If you are not registered to vote please visit the following link to register! It only takes two minutes, and you will be making a change for your area and those you love.