LTE: In support for Driver, Gordon, and Williams Galiano

To the Editor:

My name is Catherine Fulmer-Hogan. I am a lifelong resident of Hopewell Township and the mother of four children, three currently enrolled in Hopewell Valley Schools and one graduate. I serve on the boards of Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum, The Hopewell Museum, and Hope Rises up, and am the Event Creator and Committee Chair for Hopewell Valley Heritage Weekend. I work locally alongside two other HVRSD graduates as a Finance Manager for 5 companies in the OOH sector.

I love our community. It has been home to 6 generations of my family.  I have had a student enrolled in the district since 2001 and will continue to have at least one until 2031. As a parent and citizen, the School Board election is of grave importance to me.  

I am so excited about the Driver, Gordon and Williams Galiano slate and what the three individually and collectively bring to the table. They have a fresh perspective that is grounded in their unique personal and professional experiences. They are two educators and a business owner. They are a mix of families with recent grads, families with current students and families with future students. They are also a mixture of lifelong, long-standing, and newer residents of Hopewell Township.

They will diversify our school board dramatically. I am a firm believer that representation matters. The slate consists of an African American woman, a bi-racial woman (African American and European descent) and a Jewish man. While they can certainly offer perspective rooted in their unique cultural experiences and how that frames the way they view the world, they also firmly believe that EVERY member of this community is a stakeholder.

They represent a diversity of voices and life experiences but are bonded by core principles centered around diversity and inclusion, balancing the needs of students and staff against those of taxpayers and community members. They support curriculum geared towards different kinds of learners, curriculum that ensures critical thinking and exposure to diversity of views to foster the elements of global citizenry. And when things go awry, they support a system where students are dealt with less punitively, and instead given the opportunity and space to repair harm.

They have been holding weekly Meet the Candidate Sessions that have morphed into listening sessions. The best way to represent a variety of voices is to listen to and engage with a variety of voices. They have made themselves available to answer questions, to engage with residents who request their time. They have also been connecting with residents who have specific board experience to further educate themselves about this particular kind of service to our community.

All three are running for School Board for the first time.  While many may focus on the value of experience, I invite you to consider the tremendous value in varied experiences, and the importance of bringing a diversity of voices to the table. These are difficult times. We are facing new challenges as a community. We are in the midst of a global crisis, widespread civil unrest and mounting fears. Fresh perspective and varied voices in the room are needed if we want to bring ALL our community members along with us.   

Please join one of their zoom sessions held every Thursday at 7pm (details on their Facebook page @DGWG4HVRSD) and please consider voting for Andrea Driver, Ross Gordon and Anita Williams Galiano for Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education. There are three seats up this election representing Hopewell Township, and there are three of them. 

Catherine J. Fulmer-Hogan,
Hopewell Township

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