Opinion: Hopewell Township ‘in good hands’ with Debbie Linthorst


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I am writing to enthusiastically support Debbie Linthorst for the Hopewell Township School Board.

I am fortunate to have first met Debbie when our children were in preschool together back in the early 2000s, which has led to a 20-year friendship that I am so grateful for. My daughter Shannon is the same age as her oldest son Ryan, and our two second children (Matt and Joe) are the same age; they grew up together, played soccer from age 8-18 side by side, and are best friends.

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I have known Debbie in a variety of settings and roles, through volunteering at school together, attending the same church, and of course, perhaps the most consistent piece of our relationship, cheering on our boys together through multiple travel and club soccer teams, and at Hopewell Valley Central High School for the Hopewell Bulldogs Varsity team, yelling together through masks during their senior season.

When I consider the through line of all that Debbie has contributed throughout the years for the Hopewell community, what I continually come back to is her perseverance and passion. During her time serving on the Vestry at St. Matthews Church in Pennington, she provided stability and reassurance as the senior warden during the most stressful of times in the church setting. This was the height of the unsettling and unknown COVID months, where no one was sure of anything.

I have always been impressed at her ability to prioritize, focus in on the heart of the matter, and be the essence of calm. I don’t know many people who would be able to lead the school board through a year-and-a-half of an unprecedented, unchartered pandemic, and still have the energy, excitement and dedication to continue to serve.

In a time where many of us still feel a bit exhausted and at loose ends, Debbie is laser-focused and passionate about all that needs to be accomplished as we hopefully begin to move beyond the pandemic school setting.

Whenever I have sought out a piece of advice, or was having a parental crisis, or just needed to vent, I knew I could reach out to Debbie, literally at any hour of the day or night, and she was going to be there. She has continually provided an empathetic or supportive word, and a perspective and sense of humor when I have needed it most. She has treated my son as one of her own family. This is the person you want in your corner, whether it’s in a church pew, a classroom of kids, or standing in the rain at a soccer game (which we did often).

While Debbie wears many hats, I know that her most treasured role is “mom.” If anyone has read her son Matt’s Letter to the Editor, you know that she is raising wonderful human beings, and she considers all the issues that face the students, the parents, the administrators, and the teachers in this district through the lens of a parent. She has the unparalleled experience, passion, dedication and collaborative perspective to serve the school board, and how lucky for this community that she wants to share her time and talents here.

What I can tell you for sure is that Debbie Linthorst will take the lessons learned from the pandemic, the aftermath, all the complex issues that face Hopewell Township schools, and consider every point of view, every facet, every solution. We are in good hands.

Anne Gribbins


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