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The original item was published from 2/10/2023 1:59:56 PM to 4/30/2023 12:05:04 PM.

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Posted on: February 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Burlington County Commissioners celebrate Black History Month by honoring three leaders for service

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In honor of Black History Month, the Burlington County Commissioners recognized the exemplary service of three outstanding leaders who are breaking down barriers and inspiring present and future generations.

The Commissioners honored Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw and Burlington County Institute of Technology/Burlington County Special Services Assistant Superintendent Dr. Ashanti Holley during the board’s meeting Wednesday evening. Each was presented a certificate of excellence for their dedication, service to the community and leadership.

“Burlington County is rich with Black history and culture. We had the largest free Black population of any county in New Jersey in the 1700s and numerous historical figures have called Burlington County home, including Oliver Cromwell, Dr. James Still, Ethel Lawrence and William Still,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson. “Even as we celebrate our county’s history, we also want to recognize and honor today’s Black leaders who are helping to inspire, mentor and motivate. Dennis Pullin, LaChia Bradshaw and Ashanti Holley are doing that and more. Each of them is helping to make Burlington County a premier destination for all of us to live, work and raise a family.”  

The following are biographies of the three Black History Month honorees:

Dennis Pullin

Dennis W. Pullin is the first Black president and CEO of Virtua Health, one of the largest and most celebrated health systems in the state and region with a full continuum of preventive, primary, ambulatory acute and tertiary care facilities across more than 350 locations. 

He came to Virtua in 2017 from the Washington D.C./Baltimore area where he had been president of MedStar Harbor Hospital and senior vice president of MedStar Health.

Under his leadership, Virtua created a “Culture of We” that seeks to guide the health system and foster a shared sense of purpose and belonging. This has resulted in the creation of employee groups like Women of Virtua and OUT at Virtua, as well as the expansion of Virtua’s midwifery services and leadership development programs.

Virtua has also been an outstanding community partner in Burlington County with a number of initiatives, including the Virtua Mobile Farmers Market and Mobile Grocery Store. The health system was also a key partner with the County’s COVID-19 response and took the lead in the operations of both Burlington County COVID-19 Vaccine Mega-Sites in Moorestown and Mount Laurel.

LaChia Bradshaw

Bradshaw was confirmed as Burlington County Prosecutor in July 2022 and is both the first person of color and the first woman to serve in the position as the county’s top law enforcement official.

Bradshaw is a native of Lawnside and a graduate of Rutgers University and the University of Maryland School of Law. While attending Rutgers, she helped launch a domestic student exchange program between Rutgers and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. At Maryland, she also led a group of law students who served as mentors to students in Baltimore.

Bradshaw has more than 20 years experience with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. Prior to being nominated to serve as prosecutor, she served as a Senior Assistant Prosecutor in the office’s Major Crimes Unit-Special Victims Section.

As prosecutor, she has already unveiled several new initiatives, including a new law enforcement intervention program that identifies bias offenders and attempts to educate them and expose them to other cultures.

Dr. Ashanti Holley

Dr. Holley has served as an assistant superintendent for the Burlington County Institute of Technology and Burlington County Special Services School District since 2019. In that role, she has become a role model and a champion for equity and student success.

Holley was raised in Willingboro and graduated from Willingboro High School. She attended Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in special education. Afterwards she returned to Willingboro and became a special education teacher in her hometown school district.

Holley would go on to serve in a number of education positions, including assistant principal at Perth Amboy High School, before returning to Burlington County in 2019 to become assistant superintendent at BCIT/Special Services School District. In that role, she has led the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, along with other special programs.

Her work was recognized in 2021 when the school district was named a New Jersey Lighthouse School District for its success advancing equity.

Holley is also active in Burlington County communities, volunteering as a mentor and tutor and as an organizer for an annual toy giveaway. She also volunteers at the Burlington County Animal Shelter and with the Burlington County Women’s Advisory Council.

“All three of these leaders are making a difference in our county and their dedication and exemplary service are an inspiration for everyone,” Hopson said. “Our entire Board wishes to thank them for all they do to support Burlington County and our many diverse communities.”

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