Last week, the Hopewell Valley School Board held its final meeting under the helm of Deborah Linthorst, who has served as its President for three years. Linthorst, a Hopewell Township representative, has stepped down from the Board, along with fellow BOE members Jessica Grillo (Hopewell Borough), William Herbert (Hopewell Township) and John Mason (Hopewell Township)— marking a period of major turnover for the nine-person board.
Linthorst is resigning early from her term, which began in November 2021 and was scheduled to conclude in December 2024. The Board will appoint a member to fulfill the unexpired term and any resident of Hopewell Township who meets the criteria can submit an application to Robert Colavita, assistant superintendent and board secretary, by January 6. (See below for specifics)
Grillo, Herbert, and Mason’s terms had expired and they were replaced in the November election by Mark Peters for Hopewell Borough and Michael Wilson and Ou Liu for the Township. Peters is the vice president of sales at Eastern Communications; Wilson is a retired educator; and Liu is an executive at a non-profit. Linthorst said she has spent time with all three members. “I can honestly say that the future of the board is bright,” she said.
Linthorst also thanked her colleagues and expressed pride in her tenure: “I am proud of the work that we have done together. I thank you for putting your trust in me to serve as president of this body for the past three years even when we did not agree,” she said. “We always acted with respect for one another, asking the difficult questions and collaborating to come to solutions to support student achievement and wellness.”
Superintendent Dr. Rosetta Treece expressed gratitude to the outgoing board members for helping her transition smoothly into her role. “I could not have asked for a better Board President,” she told Linthorst.
Colavita added that he truly enjoyed serving with all four outgoing board members, saying, “You came on at a difficult time with change, and you guys took to leadership roles right away.”
The Board accepted the appointment of Dr. Scott Brettell as interim principal of Hopewell Elementary School, where he will be taking over for current interim Principal Christine Laquidara. Laquidara retired as Assistant Superintendent for the District in 2017 and returned at the beginning of this school year to fill in at Hopewell Elementary.
At the meeting, the Board accepted Friedrich’s resignation, effective at the end of 2023. Friedrich has served as principal of the school since 2010. Neither Board members nor school administrators have commented on the reason for Friedrich’s absence or why he will remain on payroll for another year.
Brettell joined the District in 2014 and currently serves as the Director of STEM. He has worked closely with Laquidara in the past few months to prepare for this transition and introduced himself to students at an assembly last week.
In an email following Monday’s approval of his appointment, Brettell told parents, “I am aware of the long, rich tradition of the Hopewell Elementary Community, and I look forward to collaborating and working together for the betterment of our students.”
To apply for the BOE position
An email to the HVRSD community December 15 stated:
“Per N.J.S.A. 18A:12-15, the Board must appoint a member to fulfill the unexpired term.
“In order to be considered for this appointment, an individual must be a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old; able to read and write; a resident of Hopewell Township for at least one year preceding the date of appointment; registered to vote in the school district; must not be directly/indirectly interested in any contract with or claim against the Board; not disqualified from membership for the conviction of crimes pursuant to NJSA 18A:12-1, and not disqualified as a voter pursuant to NJSA 19:4-1.
“The appointment will run until December 31, 2023. The remaining year of the term will be placed on the ballot at the November 2023 General Election.
“Any qualified Hopewell Township resident who is seeking the appointment must be able to attend a special meeting of the Board scheduled for 7pm on January 18 at the District Administration Building, 425 South Main Street, Pennington, for the purpose of an interview before the Board.
“Prior to the meeting, interested candidates must submit a letter of interest and a personal resume to Robert Colavita, Assistant Superintendent/Board Secretary, Hopewell Valley Regional School District, 425 South Main St., Pennington, NJ 08534 or via email at email@example.com.
“Letters of interest and accompanying resumes will be accepted through Friday, January 6, 2023, until 4pm. While the Board of Education will review all applications, they reserve the right to select those who will move forward to the interview process.”
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