Letter to the Editor: Farewell Praise for Wolff and Peterson

To the Editor:

Due to the large turnout at the December 10th Board of Education meeting, I deferred upon making a statement recognizing the retirement of Lisa Wolff and Leigh Peterson from the Board. However, I believe it to be appropriate for me to recognize their years of service in a public manner. The opinions expressed are my own and are not intended to represent the Board.

It has been my privilege to serve on the Board with Lisa and Leigh during the past seven years, the majority of which were spent with them serving as President and Vice-President, respectively. Lisa and Leigh are the longest serving HVRSD Board leadership duo, and that consistency resulted in improvements to Board governance that promoted many lasting district achievements.

They were excellent mentors to me as a new Board member. Leigh’s background in finance made her an outstanding source of knowledge and guidance while I became familiar with the district’s budget development process. Lisa was incredibly knowledgeable in all key Board committee focus areas (education, personnel management, finance, facilities, technology, and community relations), and her exceptional leadership helped focus the district’s governance, vision, and goal-setting which led to a number of noteworthy accomplishments.

The most important thing I learned from Lisa was perspective. We regularly talked about ways the district could improve its practices or expand student opportunities. The idea for many proposed improvements often originated from some limitation one of our children or another student experienced. In almost all cases, the time it took to identify a deficiency and implement an improvement generally meant that it occurred too late to benefit our children.

Hence, Lisa consistently gave the following advice to new Board members: “Your experience as a parent will be valuable in helping to identify what can be improved upon. However, proper improvements take time – don’t expect to get issues fixed for your children. Take satisfaction in knowing that you’ll help improve things for the students that follow.”

To me, this perspective reflects the key attribute of a great Board of Education member. It is often the children who follow ours that benefit most from our efforts. In this way, Lisa and Leigh will leave a legacy to current and future students which will extend far beyond their years of service.

I wish Lisa and Leigh all the best in their future endeavors and look forward to building upon the strong foundation they have provided for our Board.

Adam Sawicki,

Hopewell Township

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