Commissioners - Five Year Terms
Bahiyyah Abdullah (1992/appointed to 2023) Chief Mission Officer for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore; active in the community, serving as President of the Toms River Area Branch of the NAACP, Commissioner for the NJ State Martin Luther King Commission;and also serves as a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters; member of various other civic and social organizations; resident of Barnegat.
Alison Amelchenko (1985/appointed to 2020) A Pratt Institute graduate teaching and painting in the Ocean County area for over 30 years. Alison is past president of the Ocean County Artists Guild and presently coordinates the Guild’s children’s art department, in addition to directing the Kid’s Art Studio, Sea Girt, NJ. Alison has exhibited at the Ocean County College, Georgian Court University, and the Ocean County Artists’ Guild.
Duane Grembowicz (1986/appointed to 2019) Professor in the School of Science,Technology,Engineering and Mathmaticsat Ocean County College, teaching courses on the Pine Barrens, Ecology, Biology, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, and Human Anatomy & Physiology; background and interest in local Russian-American communities and their history, art and folk culture; member of the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission since 1986; member of the Cattus Island Advisory Council; graduate of Drew University in Madison, NJ, and Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; resident of Toms River.
Roberta Krantz (1986/appointed to 2020) Retired director of the Arts and Community Center at Ocean County College; worked for Ocean County College for 42 years; coordinated the Ocean County Teen Arts Festival.Currently Bobbie is working as a volunteer at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and Jewish Family and Children's Services. She is an active board member of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission.
Kevin W. Pace, chair (1997/appointed to 2019) Born and raised in Toms River; graduated from Toms River High School North in 1976; worked in the printing business for over 30 years; a past trustee with the Ocean County Historical Society as well as past president of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society; co-wrote a book in 1997 detailing the history of Naval Air Station Lakehurst; has assisted in the production of over 3 dozen documentaries and video productions on Naval Aviation; as historian for U.S. Coast Guard station Manasquan Inlet, has set numerous displays pertaining to this and Shark River stations; an officer in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary since 1976, resident of Toms River.
Lori Pepenella, (2009/appointed to 2020) Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. She is the former Development Director at the Girl Scounts of the Jersey Shore. She is the former Destination Marketing Director at the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. Before the DMO, she served as the Marketing and Development Manager for United Way of Ocean County; currently serves on the board of directors for several regional non-profit organizations, is past chair of the Ocean County Tourism Advisory Board, a featured lecturer the Center for Non Profit Success and an advocate for local historic preservation; resident of Barnegat.
Jennifer J. Sancton, vice-chair (2010/appointed to 2021) A project consultant to various arts and non-profit organizations throughout New Jersey. From 2001 – 2004 she was the Director of Development, Division of Libraries, at New York University. Prior positions were with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Opera, and The Museum of Modern Art. Jennifer has a Masters Degree in Visual Arts Administration from New York University. She is married and resides in Point Pleasant, NJ.
Cynthia H. Smith (2016/appointed to 2021) retired director of the Ocean County Cultural & Heritage from 2001 to 2008 (employed at Ocean County C&H from 1994-2008). She has been the president of the Ocean County Historical Society. She earned an undergraduate degree in American Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University. She was and adjutant Instructor in Public Science and Government at Ocean County College from 1985 to 1995. She earned the John C. Bartlett, Jr. Government Leadership Award in 2014 at the Salute to Ocean County. She is married, has two grown children and lives in Toms River.
Linda Starzman (1997/appointed to 2019) Educator, artist and community leader; an accomplished veteran art educator in the Brick Township School District for 34 years, retired in 2005; appointed Brick Township High School Fine Arts Department Head in 1995; received the National Teacher of the Year Award 1984-1985 from the Brick Township Board of Education; appointed by the Pt. Pleasant Borough Council as chairman of the Cultural Affairs Advisory Committee in 1999; past President of New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival ( FOTA) NJPTA, past local unit president. Ocean County Council PTA, Cultural Affairs, Chairman and National PTA "Reflections" Chairman; president of Sigma Chapter andNJ ADK State Chaplain and Historian; member of the following organizations: Alpha Delta Kappa Honorary International Outstanding Women Educators Fraternity, Ocean County Federation of Republican Women, Ocean County Historical Society, Brick Chapter UNICO National Italian American Service Organization member; Ocean County Artist Guild, Laurelton Art Society, Montclair State University Alumni Association. Patron Circle Member of the American Museum Of Natural History, New York City, NY; Contributor member of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA. Resides in Point Pleasant Borough.
Commission Alternates - Two Year Terms
Jermey Grunin (2014/appointed to 2020) Jeremy Grunin brings over 20 years’ retail sales and management, business development, investment and leadership capacity building experience to the Commission. Jeremy is actively engaged in Ocean County’s arts, education, and healthcare communities through grassroots activities and membership on the boards of the Ocean County College, Community Medical Center, the Ocean County Vocational Technical School, and the Toms River – Ocean County Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife Laura have three children and live in Toms River.
Sara Siegler (2017/appointed to 2019) Assistant Director of the Ocean County Library. Sara brings almost 20 years of experience in non-profit management, financial administration and community leadership. Her education background includes a Bachelor's Degree in Ecomonics and a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ.Sara is a trainer for librarians throughout New Jersey on various leadership topics. She also serves on the Red Bank Public Library, currently as their Treasurer.
Click to view a list of past Commissioners from 1969 - 2014