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2017 Nominees Announced

The Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame will induct two women into the Hall at its annual gala event in April 2017. They are:

Sue “Sioux” Fenili, Vineland. for her longtime contributions to environmental issues and a stellar teaching career in Vineland and Millville schools. She founded Kids Against Pollution devoted to cleaning up their environment, and it became the “first glass recycling operation in New Jersey” in 1970. With the money earned, they bought equipment for water quality testing and discovered effluent going into the Maurice River from the Landis Sewerage Authority. She serves on the board of Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and has been on the Vineland Environmental Commission since 1970, developed Arbor Day activities, and she recently initiated an Anti-Litter Initiative for children and students that has been presented to the Vineland Board of Education for potential inclusion in lesson plans. Her classroom in Millville – Room 115 – was “the place to be” where she installed a real pond and “fun things happened.” She mentored an autistic child and founded Our Wild Side to encourage kids to be “stewards of our Earth.”


Dr. Mary L. Gruccio, Vineland, for her extraordinary career in education, her integrity, and her success and for being a role model for women in the top echelon of their careers. Her entire teaching career has been in the Vineland School District, which she has served for more than four years as Superintendent. Widowed at a young age when her children were just two and six, she was a cancer survivor and a single parent working full-time when she earned her Doctorate in Education. She developed two publications about Vineland and the Vineland schools, leads the School District’s strategic planning committee, developed a Parent’s Resources Center, served on the Governor’s Committee for Parent Involvement for five years, is on the Board of Directors of The United Way and The Dream Foundation and served on the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders. For her entire professional life, her position has been “How will this help our children?” according to her nominator, and she is a “strong, talented, dynamo of boundless heart.”


“The Hall of Fame is truly honored to celebrate the lives of accomplished women throughout Cumberland County,” said Louise T. Bertacchi, Founder and President of the Hall. “This year’s winners, and the others already in the Hall of Fame, have had extraordinary impact in our community.”

The gala event honoring these two women is open to the public at the Centerton Country Club on Wednesday, April 26, beginning at 6 p.m. For reservations or more information, contact Louise Bertacchi at LTB431@comcast.net or Kim Litchendorf at Klitchendorf@cumberlanddairy.com, or call 856-825-5929. The guest emcee for the induction will be Dr. Dina Rossi Elliott, Superintendent of the Joseph F. Scarpa Technical Education Center of Cumberland County.

The Women’s Hall of Fame honors local women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to a profession, the community and/or women’s issues. The Hall also gives scholarships to young women graduating from Cumberland County’s high schools and going on to higher education.

Dr. Dina Rossi Elliott To Be Guest Emcee

dr-dina-elliott-2014Dr. Dina Rossi Elliott will be the guest emcee of the ninth annual induction ceremony for the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame in April.

Dr. Rossi Elliott has been Superintendent of the John F. Scarpa Technical Education Center of Cumberland County since 2012. Born and raised in Cumberland County, she is a resident of Millville. She began her teaching career as a General and Special Education teacher, was a Resource Teacher at St. Mary’s Regional School in East Vineland, and was Superintendent/Principal of the Downe Township School District.

The 2017 ceremony is Wednesday, April 26 at Centerton Country Club, and the 2017 inductees will be announced in January. Reservations for the gala will open with that announcement.

Dr. Rossi Elliott will be one of a group of local accomplished women who have led the annual gala event. Others who have served as emcees include The Hon. Georgia Curio, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court, Vineland; Vineland Schools Superintendent Mary Gruccio; Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae; and Dr. Shelly Schneider, Interim President of Cumberland Community College and a Hall of Fame inductee.

“It is always special to stand among the great women of Cumberland County at the induction ceremony,” said Louise T. Bertacchi, Founder and President of the Hall of Fame. “Our guest emcees personify excellence, and we are delighted to have Dr. Rossi Elliott continue that tradition in 2017.”

The Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame honors local women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to a profession, the community and/or women’s issues.
Contact: Nancy Monaghan, 603-964-2651 or nancymonaghan@comcast.net

New Board Members Announced

The Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame, Inc. has announced the appointment of two new members of its Board of Directors. They are:

Dr. Shelly Schneider, former Superintendent of the Millville School District. Most recently, Dr. Schneider served as Interim President of Cumberland County College. A lifelong resident of Cumberland County, she began her career in education as a sixth-grade teacher at Sacred Heart Grammar School in Vineland. She later taught in the Vineland Public Schools, was a guidance counselor for the Buena Regional School District and Vice Principal in the Middle Township School District. She had a15-year tenure in the Millville Public Schools, serving as Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and as Superintendent

She serves on the Board of Directors of Inspira Health System and the Cumberland Empowerment Zone and on the Advisory Board of Leadership Cumberland County. She was named Educator of the Year by Alpha Delta Kappa in 1996 and received the Millville Public Schools Administrator of the Year Award in 1996. In 2015, she was inducted into the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame,Inc. for her extensive accomplishments in education.

Jennifer Webb-McRae, Cumberland County Prosecutor. Webb-McRae, a native of Vineland, is a graduate of Glassboro State University, Rutgers – Camden School of Law, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers College in Macon, Georgia. She is admitted to the bars of the State of New Jersey, United States District Court and the State of Pennsylvania.

Before being appointed county prosecutor, she was Assistant Deputy Public Defender for the State of New Jersey for six years, and she was then in private practice for seven years. She served as Child Support Attorney for the Cumberland County Welfare Board, Solicitor for the Fairfield Township Land Use Board and Public Defender for Maurice River Township. She was also a member of the Vineland Planning Board and the Vineland Board of Education. Webb-McRae was named one of the 50 Most Influential Blacks in New Jersey in 2012, and in 2015 she served as Emcee of the Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony.

“We welcome the addition of these two accomplished women to the Board,” said Louise T. Bertacchi, Founder and President of the Hall. “They bring great vision and knowledge to the Hall, and we are delighted.”

2016 Scholarship Winners Announced

Seniors at Millville High School and The Cumberland Regional High School are the winners of this year’s scholarship awards from the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame, Inc.

They are:

  • Kaila Smith of Millville, from Millville High School, who will attend Wagner College in Staten Island, New York on a partial athletic/academic scholarship playing softball. She will study to become a social worker.
  • Erikka D. Wesley of Bridgeton, from Cumberland Regional High School, who will attend Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. She will study to become an addictions and substance abuse psychologist.

Each student will receive an award of $1000.

The Hall launched a high school scholarship program in 2014, and this year’s winners bring to six the number of seniors who’ve received this award. The scholarships are open to female seniors at any of Cumberland County’s five high schools if they maintain a 3.0 GPA and plan to attend a school of higher education. Winners must exemplify academic achievement, community/school/ involvement, extracurricular activities, athletic achievement, pride in and loyalty to community.

The Scholarship Committee of the Hall of Fame selects the winners after rigorous review of each applicant’s qualifications. “These scholarships represent the foundation of what we stand for, which is honoring great women,” said Louise T. Bertacchi, Founder and President of the Hall.

The Women’s Hall of Fame celebrates local women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to a profession, the community and/or women’s issues. Forty women have been inducted into the Hall since the inaugural class was honored in 2009.

Contact: Nancy Monaghan, 603-964-2651; nancymonaghan@comcast.net

2016 Inductees Announced

The Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame, Inc. will induct three women into the Hall at its annual gala event in April 2016. They are:

Dr. Deborah Ayars, Vineland. She was the first and only female County Engineer in New Jersey and was a leader in bringing new technologies to Cumberland County such as thermoplastic line striping and liquid salt. She served as Township Engineer in Hopewell and Fairfield Townships and she founded A-TECH Engineering, an engineering, surveying and planning firm in Cumberland County. She worked on such major projects as the Walt Whitman and Ben Franklin bridges and reconstructing the main runway at the Atlantic City Airport. And she developed an innovative design for a recycling center in Hopewell Township that has been a model for other communities throughout New Jersey. She mentors female and male engineering students, is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and was named Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines. Each Thursday she takes prayers and communion to the military veterans at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Vineland.

Jean K. Nocon, Dividing Creek. She was responsible for restoration and preservation of Union Hall in Dividing Creek and was instrumental in saving the town’s Post Office. A long-time preservationist and historian, she published “King Farms and Beyond,” a history of a way of life in Dividing Creek. Widowed at a young age, she raised her 10-year-old son as a single mother, was Vice President of the Downe Township Board of Education for nine years and was instrumental in thwarting a movement that would have made the Board an appointed rather than elected board. She runs the family business, and is pen pals with third-grade girls at Downe Township Elementary School. She gives tours of Union Hall to third through eighth graders, and her work with the school led to her induction in 2012 into the Downe Township Elementary School Hall of Fame. Having developed a love of history during her college years, she now serves as President of the Dividing Creek Historical Society

Margaret Battle Winchester, Bridgeton. She is Founder of the Margaret Winchester Center for the Blind, which she ran for 30 years before retiring. She became blind while still in her 20s when there were no existing local programs serving the visually impaired, and her loss led her to help others. Before starting the Center, she went door to door to homes where there were blind residents, offering assistance in daily living skills. Along with a group of concerned citizens, she approached county officials and advocated for services for the blind, which led to a day-care program at the old Cumberland County Hospital. After the program moved to trailers on the hospital property for several years, she was responsible for developing modern Bridgeton center that now exists bearing her name. She was one of the early organizers of the Head Start program in Cumberland County, and she was Co-Leader of The 4-H Club for five years. She was inducted into the Cumberland County Black Hall of Fame in 1990.

“The Hall of Fame exists because there are so many women of immense accomplishment throughout Cumberland County,” said Louise T. Bertacchi, Founder and President of the Hall. “Every year we are so honored to celebrate the lives of these special women.”

The gala event honoring these three women is open to the public at Merighi’s Savory Inn in East Vineland on Wednesday, April 27, beginning at 6 p.m.. For reservations or more information, contact Louise Bertacchi at LTB431@comcast.net or Kim Litchendorf at Klitchendorf@cumberlanddairy.com, or call 856-825-5929.

The Women’s Hall of Fame honors local women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to a profession, the community and/or women’s issues. The Hall also gives scholarships to young women graduating from Cumberland County’s high schools and going on to higher education.

Press questions – call Nancy Monaghan, 603-964-2651; nancymonaghan@comcast.net
Nominators:

Deborah Ayars – Eric Johnson
Jean Nocon – Evalinda Keen
Margaret Winchester – Misono Miller

2016 Emcee Announced

Dr. Shelly Schneider will be the host emcee of the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame, Inc. induction ceremony in April, when three local women will enter the Hall.

Dr. Schneider, Interim President of Cumberland County College, joins a group of local accomplished women who have led the annual gala event, and she is herself a Hall of Fame inductee, the first to host the event.

This year’s ceremony is April 27 at Merighi’s Savoy Inn, and reservations are now being taken. Cost of the dinner is $60, and reservations are available by contacting Louise T. Bertacchi, founder and chair of the Hall, at LTB431@comcast.net

“Not only is Shelly an accomplished woman, she’s an excellent event host, and we are retruly delighted to have her for this important night,” Bertacchi said. Other female leaders in the Cumberland County community who have served as emcees include The Hon. Georgia Curio, Assignment Judge of the Superior Court, Vineland; Vineland Schools Superintendent Mary Gruccio; and Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae.

The three women to be inducted into the Hall at the event are:

  • Dr. Deborah Ayars, Vineland. the first and only female County Engineer in New Jersey
  • Jean K Nocon, Dividing Creek. A long-time preservationist and historian
  • Margaret Battle Winchester, Bridgeton, founder of the Margaret Winchester Center for the Blind

Dr. Schneider, of Vineland, has had a long career in education, serving as Superintendent of the Millville School District from 2004 to 2010. She was voted into the Hall of Fame last year for her many achievements, most notably the conversion of the old Prudential Building in Millville into the school district’s new Lakeside Middle School. She was named Interim President at CCC in July 2015.

The Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame honors local women of outstanding achievement who have made significant contributions to a profession, the community and/or women’s issues.