The Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education has three seats up for grabs this November in the general election.
One seat will represent Hopewell Borough on the board, while the other two are for Hopewell Township. Each seat is a three-year term.
For Hopewell Borough, there are two candidates vying for the seat – Jessica Grillo and Elizabeth Maziarz.
Grillo has been a resident of Hopewell Borough for two years. She is currently the human resources director at Decision Resources Group, a healthcare analytics company. Grillo graduated from the Peddie School and went on to earn a bachelors of arts in English from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. She is a mother of two who has served as Moravian College Alumni Board President and on the college’s Board of Trustees.
“I am deeply invested in not only maintaining the quality education our children receive in Hopewell, but also building upon and expanding the skills and offerings provided, while being sensitive to taxpayers,” Grillo said. “My experience serving on previous boards and in a professional human resources capacity will help me add strategic and execution value as your school board representative.”
Maziarz has lived in Hopewell Borough for six years and is also a mother of two. Maziarz graduated from Hopewell Valley Central High School and went on to get her bachelor of arts in History from Brown University. She also received a masters of arts in journalism from Columbia University. Maziarz has worked for 20 years in education, communication and politics.
“I’m running to represent Hopewell Borough on the board of education because I believe that public schools are a huge foundational part of both our communities and our society,” Maziarz said. “Exposing children to a broad range of ideas, cultures and life experiences throughout their schooling is essential to raising broad-minded, competent, kind and resilient citizens.”
In Hopewell Township, five candidates are competing for two open seats.
The candidates are incumbent Peter M. DiDonato, William Herbert, Michael Coco, John Mason and Ashutosh K. Pathak.
Coco is a clinical risk manager and was also a registered nurse. He has lived in Hopewell for seven years. Coco earned a bachelors of science in biology from York College, as well as a bachelors of science in nursing from the University of Medicine and Dentistry at Rutgers University; he holds a law degree from the Rutgers School of Law, too.
“We need to build strong schools to complement our strong community, without making the township unaffordable. Schools must lay a strong foundation in reading, math and science,” Coco said. “These skills must be built upon to include technology, engineering and art. Building a strong foundation is key to making students competitive and successful in later years.”
DiDonato was first elected in 2016 to the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education. He currently is a solution architect for Collab Intelligence. DiDonato received his bachelor’s degree from Rider University. He serves as the chair on the finance and facilities committee, an as a member on the policy committee in Hopewell Valley.
DiDonato could not be reached for comment.
Herbert has lived in Hopewell for 20 years and is also a father of two. He currently is the chief financial officer of the International Products Corporation. Herbert attended Duke University on a Navy ROTC scholarship and earned a degree in mechanical engineering, he also served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a Surface Warfare Officer, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. He has an MBA in finance from Vanderbilt University.
“I am running with John Mason on a ticket of integrity and fiscal responsibility, because I know we can prioritize student achievement and enhance the quality education we have all come to expect, while remaining fiscally responsible to the taxpayers,” Herbert said.
Mason has lived in Hopewell for 17 years and is a father of two. Mason is a Marine Corp veteran who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and majored in criminal justice. Mason currently works as a bail bondsman.
“As a school board member, I will make balanced and informed decisions that advocate for the best educational opportunities, while taking into consideration economics and efficiency in the budget. A reasonable balance is achievable without compromising the quality of programs or instruction,” Mason said.
Pathak is a physician scientist and global head of medical affairs at Ascentage Pharma. He has lived in Hopewell for eight years. Pathak has a medical degree and PhD from India and earned an MBA from Columbia University.
“This combination of academic background, leadership of highly efficient research organizations, and a commitment to serve the community enables me to be an ideal member of the school board,” Pathak said. “I have been greatly benefitted by my educational background and would love to share the lessons learned to enhance the HVRSD quality.”