If you have a child in the Harrison Township School District, you have probably heard the name Megan Sakhleh. Second Term President of the PTA and teacher in the district for 14 years, Megan is a staple in our community, educating our children and supporting the teachers, administrators and parents.
Megan and her family only moved to Mullica Hill from Glassboro about four years ago. Her main reason? “It’s the best education around.” Her two sons, Elijah (age 9) and Ethan (age 6), and her pilot husband couldn’t be happier with the community and all it has to offer. She has lived practically right next door to Mullica Hill all of her life, attending Clearview High School and working for a decade and a half in Harrison School District. So, it seemed inevitable that she would put down roots in this town. “I feel like I’ve been in love with Harrison Township for twenty years,” she laughs.
A life-long South Jersey Girl, Megan grew up as the youngest of five kids living on a 50-acre farm in Mantua Township. “We had all kinds of animals,” says Megan. “I rode horses since I was three and competed in eventing as well as show jumping until I was 15 years old.” She and her siblings were active in the 4-H Club and Megan continues to be an animal lover to this day. “My husband says our house is like a zoo because we have a Shih Tzu dog, a Red Eared Slider turtle, a Bearded Dragon and fish,” she says. “I would have many more pets if my husband agreed to it!”
Though Megan was born, raised and continues to live in Gloucester County, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t explored the world. “I love to travel,” she says. “I love life and adventure.” She has been to Korea, China, Italy, Germany, Canada, Mexico, St. Maarten, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. In addition, she has been to 32 of the states. “Traveling to all 50 states by my 50th birthday is on my bucket list.”
“Family is most important to me,” Megan says. She describes her entire family as very close. “We all love each other dearly, vacation together annually, and enjoy each other’s company immensely.” They have seen each other through some tough times and the bond they share has helped them stay strong. She and her siblings lost their father when Megan was in her late 20s and her mother is a 13 year breast cancer survivor. The family was recently rocked (and still reeling) after her big brother, John, died unexepectantly in a tragic accident this past April.
A Love For Education
After graduating from Clearview High School, Megan attended Ursinus College then went on to complete her Masters of Science Degree in Teaching at Rowan. While in school, she would substitute at Harrison Township whenever she was on break. In January of 1995, she was thrilled to be hired as a teacher at Harrison Township School. “I fell in love with it,” she says happily. “With the students, of course, but also with the families. I found it a very warm, friendly, loving environment. [It's] a nurturing place.” She taught grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 at both Harrison and Pleasant Valley School, taking some time off after after the birth of her first son.
While teaching, Megan was always the PTA Teacher Liason. When her children began attending the school and the PTA needed help with Teacher Appreciation a few years ago, Megan agreed to assist. The next year, she accepted the invitation to be the PTA Vice President which groomed her for a two-year term as President. “I love when I go to the school and see that the kids love what we’ve done,” she says. She gives all the credit to the PTA Board members. “I always say, the Executive Board could run the world!”
The most significant contribution of this Board is the new website. The Father-Daughter Dance and Monte Carlo Night were also piloted as new events last year, both of which were a big success. “A huge misconception is that we only do fundraisers,” Megan says. For every one fundraiser, the PTA holds three service events. Service events do exactly what their name implies – provide a service to the community. They include all of the educational assemblies, class picnics, the talent show, Breakfast with Santa, and all of the educational software. Last school year they funded the giant projector at both HTS and PVS and purchased one additional Smart Board.
There will be some changes this year as well. For example, they will replace the traditional Holiday Shop with “10,000 Villages” (set up at the Breakfast for Santa). They are also planning to implement a fitness-based fundraiser called BoosterThon. “I’m excited and eager to see how it goes!” Megan says.
From Pencils and Predicates to Manners and Etiquette
In 2005, Megan and friend Krissy Love launched an amazing new business called Love That Etiquette. These friends-turned-business-partners believe that curtesy and consideration are not only the building blocks for successful relationships, but the ingredients for life-long success. With this philosophy in mind, they developed a unique curriculum designed to teach social skills, traditional etiquette, and contemporary manners to children ages six to 18. More than magic words and self-presentation, these courses are designed to instill self-confidence, encourage respect for others, and sharpen the social skills that translate into real world success. “We just want people to be considerate, compassionate human beings,” Megan emphasizes. Their classes (either group or private in-home) are typically 6 hours divided into two sessions and cover everything from place settings to personal grooming; first impressions to internet etiquette; table manners to posture.
The Multifaceted Megan
As if she isn’t busy enough with two boys, her Etiquette business, the PTA and her teaching position at HTS, Megan finds time for rowing, running, triathlon and charity. She is a member of the Witches of East Greenwich Dragon Boat, which she describes as a “… fun group of fantastic local women who paddle on the Schuylkill River each Fall.”
Founded in 2009, The Witches of East Greenwich is an all female rowing group that competes in the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival’s annual boat race on the Schuylkill River. The Witches began with two boats their first year and have grown exponentially since. In 2015, they entered 10 boats and had over 225 Wicked Women Rowers. They eventually became a non-profit and over the past five years have raised over $62,000 for local charities.
Megan has also been a member of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club for the past 5 years, completing six sprint triathlons. However, Megan mainly identifies herself as a runner. She has participated in numerous road races since 1999, including four half marathons and the Chicago Marathon. “I think running and exercise is good for the body and mind,” she shares. As if all this isn’t enough, she also teaches Sunday School at the church she has attended her entire life.
Megan can be found in Harrison Township School three days a week working as the Kindergarten Librarian/Reading and Literacy Teacher. “I’m happy to be back,” she smiles. “I feel like I’m home again.”