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Superintendent's Message

Leslie Koller-Walker

Superintendent of Schools

 saw a great quote a few weeks ago:   

Public education does not exist for the benefit of students or for the benefit of their parents.  Pu
blic education exists for the benefit of the public social order.  

--John Green

Superintendent's Message

Our District has experienced significant change over the past few years. Things are so different from when we all went to school. Don’t fix it if it works.  We all turned out okay – right?   Well the truth is that schooling has changed because societal needs have changed.  I have been working with our Board of Education, administration, and teachers to ensure we are in compliance with State and Federal guidelines and laws (which seem to change daily), and to ensure that our curricular rigor has been increased in order to make certain that our students are on-par with their peers in our local area, state, and country.  It is my job to make sure our school district produces students who can compete with the best of them when sent out into the real world.    

If the rest of the country is instructing their students with electronic curriculum, then I am responsible to make sure that we are too.  If our State curriculum is set-up so that skills learned in each grade are building blocks which must be mastered before moving onto the following grade, then I am responsible to provide quality instruction and supports, and if necessary, to retain students another year until their foundational skills are mastered and ready to be built upon.  Anything less would be a disservice to our District’s children and community taxpayers.

Now the quote above is a bit extreme…but there is truth in it. Here in Mt. Ephraim Schools, we look out for each individual child in order to ensure their personal success.  But ultimately….these children will become the public social order who will, together, be running our country someday.  This is an awesome responsibility and cannot be done in isolation from other districts or states.  It requires our public schools to make decisions according to a well-thought out plan and vision…one which may not always be in-sync with personal or family goals.  Pretty heavy message. Sorry about that.  

In closing…I ask 
  • For your commitment to keep us all on the same team – a team whose main concern is first the individual players – but a close second – the team as a whole.
  • For your continued open-mindedness and patience as we make changes to better our District and meet State expectations.
  • For your home-school communication to follow the appropriate steps by first going to the source of your issue, rather than directly to the top such as the principal, superintendent or the Board of Education.
  • For your kindness, respect, and patience when addressing concerns with teachers and administration. 
  • For your participation in your child’s education by checking their nightly work, attending conferences, and checking the Oncourse grade and attendance portal. 
  • For your acknowledgement that there is never a decision made in this district which has not been well-thought-out with the best interest of any particular child in mind, therefore, if parent and school have a disagreement – it will stem from a difference in perspective – not a negligence or a “gotcha”.
  • For your conversation at home to remain positive about education, our schools, and our teachers – and if problems arise – that you bring them to us out of earshot from your child.  Nine times out of ten, things get worked out, but it is hard to rewind things children have heard.
And last but not least, I ask for your trust.  We really do know what we are doing and the staff members this District employs truly are experts in their fields.  They are here to do the very best job they can each day and they care greatly for their students.  We are here to make sure your children are ready for the world and we take this job very seriously.  I am very proud to say that your children are in very good hands.

Leslie Koller-Walker - Bio

I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Education from The University of Minnesota and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. I am certified by the New Jersey Department of Education in Elementary Education-Grades K-8, Art Education-Grades K-12, Early Childhood Education, Supervision, Principal, and School Administrator. 

I grew up in the small town of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. Along with the distinct culture of the Anthracite coal mining region, my world was made up of Pennsylvania Dutch customs from my mom's side combined with a very Polish heritage from my dad's (hence my maiden name of Muraczewski). From childhood through college my summers were spent at my aunt's cottage and my dad's hobby farm adjacent to the now-so-popular Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA. I attended Penn State for three years before getting married, moving, and completing my education in Minnesota where my new husband's family was from. After five very chilly years, we moved back east to be near my family. I stayed home to raise my three children for several years before beginning my professional education career.  In 1990 I started as a pre-Kindergarten teacher in Haddonfield. Soon after I was hired by the Cherry Hill Public School District to found and maintain their elementary after-school student enrichment program (STEP). In 1998, when my youngest became school age, I began teaching 6th and 7th grades at Beck Middle School in Cherry Hill while simultaneously attending graduate school. I completed my year-long administrative internship at Beck, graduated, and was promoted to Assistant Principal in 2002. In 2005, Berlin Township Board of Education hired me as Principal of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School.  Within four years, DDE earned the distinction as a School To Watch via the New Jersey Department of Education and the National Forum for Middle School Reform. There were eleven Schools to Watch in the state and only 200 in the country. In December 2012 I was given the honor of being appointed Superintendent of Schools by the Mt. Ephraim Board of Education.

In July 2016, I married a fellow educator. Overnight, I became Mrs. Walker as well as a grandmother of four. I am currently in the middle of transitioning my last name for the final time.  I will professionally remain Mrs. Koller to help maintain the familiarity I have established with Mt. Ephraim students, staff, and the community. But I will happily and proudly answer to either.

The Superintendent of Schools is the educational leader of the district. Her role, according to state professional standards, is "to promote the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and staff professional growth." 
The Superintendent is responsible for day-to-day operations in all schools, and serves as an ad hoc, non-voting member of the Board of Education