It is my intention to step down as HVRSD Board of Education President at the end of this year. I do, however, plan to continue serving on the BOE until my term expires at the end of 2018, at which time I do not expect to run for re-election. Philosophically, I believe it is important to rotate leadership and personally, I am spending more time in my role as Executive Director for Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space.
As the longest serving Board President, my dream for a legacy is simply to leave the district and Board of Education in better condition than when I began 8 years ago. I believe we are achieving that goal through the hard work of district staff, administration, volunteers – including our Board members, and community support comprised of residents, businesses, municipalities, and non-profit organizations.
The majority of our progress often appears as a sudden improvement, but virtually everything took many years of planning and refinement. Some examples include the turf field & stadium, stem and performing arts academies, the homework policy, new student information systems, expanded access to high-level coursework, 1-1 initiative, and current referendum work in progress.
Additional significant initiatives are not yet visible to the general public but already years into the cycle.
Less visible, careful planning is key to making a transformation appear quick, simple, and seamless. This concept also holds true for succession planning. During my earlier years, the Board noted that we hired many administrators from outside the district so we requested that district priorities include development and promotion from within. Our administration has done an excellent job of meeting that request.
In an effort to walk the succession planning talk, at my last re-election I shared that I did not expect to continue as president indefinitely so new leaders could emerge.
One board member stepped up to take a strong leadership role – Alyce Murray. In her second year on the Board, Alyce became Chair of the most impactful committee – The Education Committee that determines everything students are exposed to both within and outside of the classroom. She was also among the first board members in Hopewell to receive Boardsmanship recognition from the New Jersey School Board Association within her first two years on the Board. This year Alyce serves as the Board of Education Vice President.
The HVRSD board is a perfect mix of strengths, skillsets and respect that deliver spirited collaboration for thorough policy-making. While we each have our roles, Alyce Murray is the only board member with the combination of experience, leadership, and desire to make the major commitment that the Presidency entails.
Adam Sawicki is among the smartest people with whom I have had the pleasure to work. Between his brilliant mind, laid back disposition, and ability to get to the heart of a matter, there is no one better to have in the room during conflict.
I have only met Darius Matthews a few times but I am impressed with his drive, commitment and ingenuity. He has been coming to our Board meetings and retreats and does his homework. His performance at the LWV forum was commendable. Teaming up with incumbents to run as a slate indicates that he would like to create change from within the system.
I do not know Sarah Tracy but I have heard she is nice. She has children in our schools and is married to a former district Athletic Director so she has strong ties to our district. I look forward to meeting her and will welcome and respect anyone that wants to make a positive change for our students.
This is an important election and I encourage everyone to vote. I sincerely believe that all candidates running can make great Board members. I am unapologetically biased toward the impressive work of our Board incumbents and therefore I must point out that these are my opinions. My words speak only for myself and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else on the HVRSD Board of Education.
It has truly been my honor to serve the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education.