Grillo, Herbert, Mason sworn in as members of Hopewell Valley school board

HOPEWELL: Candidates to hold a public forum prior to election

Three newcomers were sworn in to serve three-year terms on the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education during its annual reorganization meeting.

Hopewell Township Mayor Kristin McLaughlin administered the oath of office to new school board members Jessica Grillo, William Herbert and John Mason at the meeting on Jan. 6.

Grillo represents Hopewell Borough, while Herbert and Mason are serving for Hopewell Township on the board.

“As I’ve said in the past, we’re all very fortunate to live in a community that has put a lot of effort into creating a very high-performing school district. It’s taken hard work from a lot of people – administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members – to get to where we are,” Herbert said. “My main goal is to work with fellow board members and the administration to help ensure our district remains one of the top in the state.”

Herbert said he will focus on making certain students have the tools to develop resilience and handle adversity and the courage to self-advocate, while working closely on a very transparent and collaborative budget process.

Herbert sits as a member of the board’s Policy Committee and Finance and Facilities Committee.

“I hope that my leadership, financial acumen and collaborative communication style will complement the already strong skill set of our board and administration,” Herbert said.

Currently on the board, Grillo is a member on the Program Committee and Personnel Committee.

She said being sworn in was a moment of tremendous gratitude to the voters who believe in her ability to represent them well.

“I want to continue Hopewell’s legacy of providing a high-quality and holistic education for our students while being sensitive to the taxpayers in our community,” Grillo explained. “I anticipate bringing the fresh perspective of a parent of young children just entering elementary school and the professional expertise of bringing people together and problem-solving.”

Mason, a member of the board’s Policy Committee and Community Relations, said he felt excitement being sworn in.

“I hope to continue to introduce students to a more diverse society. To support the school district in cultivating more culturally diverse programs so we can continue to teach our students the skills they need to be successful community members,” Mason said.

Mason said areas of focus for him are social emotional learning, mental health, school safety and security.

“I believe that we need to continue to educate the whole child. We need to continue to support student’s growth not just academically but socially and emotionally,” Mason said. “Keeping our students and staff safe in school is our number one priority, and we will continue to work with local law enforcement to evaluate our procedures and protocols.”

Herbert, Grillo and Mason are joined on the board by President Deborah Linthorst, Vice President Adam Sawicki, Jenny Long, Alyce Murray, Debra O’Reilly and Sarah Tracy.

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