Hopewell Valley School Board members have selected Debbie Linthorst as school board president and Adam Sawicki as vice president for 2020.
Board members voted unanimously for Linthorst and Sawicki during the the board’s re-organization meeting on Jan. 6.
“I was honored to be elected president by my colleagues on the board, and appreciate the opportunity to be their spokesperson as we seek opportunities to enrich the lives of the students in this district,” Linthorst said. “Over the course of the past 15 years, I have served in various leadership positions within the district and in the Hopewell community, to include president of two different PTOs (Parent Teacher Organizations), on the District Parent Council, on the district’s Future Planning Committee, and as one of the chief lay leaders at my church, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.”
She said those experiences allowed her to build relationships and collaborate with many stakeholders within the district.
Sawicki was re-elected vice president, a position he held in 2019.
“I am very grateful to my fellow Board of Education members for providing me the opportunity to serve as vice president for an additional year. I look forward to working with my fellow board members during what I am sure will be an eventful year for the district,” Sawicki said.
Linthorst explained that the past year was a challenging and productive year for the district.
“It includes the passage of a budget and the successful settlement of the HVEA (Hopewell Valley Education Association) contract. Serving on the Policy and Education committees, as well as on the Negotiations Committee, I was able to gain a great deal of valuable experience and insight in a fairly short time period and to affect positive change,” Linthorst said.
Sawicki has served on the board since 2011 and said he hopes to continue helping fellow board members.
“As the longest serving member of our current board, I hope to use the knowledge and experience I have gained by having served on all of our standing committees to assist my fellow members in their work,” Sawicki said.
For Linthorst, her two top areas of focus for 2020 are to make certain board policies work with the changes in culture and to improve board relationships with the community.
“In recognition of this ever-changing world, one of my top priorities as president is to ensure that our board policies are aligned with changes in our culture and our interactions. In my assessment, there’s never been a more important time to ‘get this right’. Our policies must accurately serve and represent the needs of our students and staff,” Linthorst said.
Linthorst will serve as chair of the Policy Committee and will work with the administration and with fellow members to guide policy discussions across all board committees and to bring the necessary stakeholders to the table.
“Another top priority is to build and to enhance board relationships within the district and with our community members and partners, through increased transparency, collaboration and inclusion,” Linthorst said. “Good things are happening in this district – we will continue to focus on getting the word out in a clear and timely manner and will work diligently to ensure that all stakeholders feel that they are part of the process.”
Sawicki said his two tops areas of focus coincide with his committee assignments.
“I plan to focus my activity on committee assignments of Finance and Facilities and Community Relations,” Sawicki said. “Ultimately I hope to promote open discussion and collaboration between the board, administration, staff and community to help the district progress in budgetary and facilities planning, and to support district progress in important areas like equity and social-emotional wellness.”
Linthorst said the school board is filled with dedicated members.
“My fellow board members are a skilled and dedicated group with expertise in education, finance, policy, human relations and in other key fields,” Linthorst said. “Working together, and along with a strong administrative team, highly qualified staff, engaged parents and community members, I am confident that we will continue to equip our students for success in a rapidly changing world.”