HomeHillsborough BeaconHillsborough NewsHillsborough alum prepares to fill vacant seat on Hillsborough Board of Education

Hillsborough alum prepares to fill vacant seat on Hillsborough Board of Education

Jim Ruh has called Hillsborough Township home since his family moved into the community in 1989.

Ruh has since developed a strong bond with the Hillsborough community in a variety of ways that continue to this day, from coaching youth sports in the township to being the executive director of the Shaun O’Hara Foundation.

Now, Ruh looks forward to helping out the Hillsborough community in another way by being a member of the Hillsborough Township Board of Education (HBOE).

Ruh was selected out of the 12 candidates who applied to fill the vacant seat on the board left by former board member Jason Albanese during the HBOE meeting on April 4 at Auten Road Intermediate School.

“It was pretty gratifying,” Ruh said about being elected to the HBOE. “My history and resume in the town speak strongly about my commitment to this community. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Each candidate got three minutes to explain their case for consideration to the seven board members in attendance at the board meeting.

Benjamin Kidd was the only HBOE member absent from the meeting.

After hearing each candidate express their qualification to fill the role, the HBOE went into a 40-minute executive session to discuss each candidate and give out their vote to who they felt should join them on the board.

By receiving four total votes, Ruh was selected to serve on the HBOE for the rest of the year. He beat former board member Jane Staats who received the other three votes.

Serving on the HBOE has been something Ruh said he has debated doing in the past. With what has transpired in the Hillsborough Township Public Schools recently, Ruh saw this opportunity as a chance to help make the right decisions to help the community move forward.

Those state of affairs include the ongoing investigation into former Business Administrator and Board Secretary Aiman Mahmoud and Superintendent of Schools Lisa Antunes taking a sabbatical from her post.

“There’s a lot of changes going on and a lot of questions still to be answered,” Ruh said. “I want to help be a part of helping make the right decisions for the people of Hillsborough.”

Ruh’s day to day job is holding the title of vice president of sales for Somfy. After graduating from Hillsborough High School in 1992, Ruh went on to obtain his associates degree at Raritan Valley Community College and then went on to receive his business degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

For the last 15 years, Ruh has helped run the Shaun O’Hara Foundation that was created by the former center of the New York Giants and his wife, Amy. O’Hara was a standout football player at Hillsborough and at nearby Rutgers University before entering the NFL, where he helped the Giants win a Super Bowl during the 2007 season.

The foundation is used to bring awareness for life-threatening illnesses, which include supporting research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Helping the O’Hara family create a foundation to help sick children and give back to the Hillsborough community, is something that Ruh said is very happy to be a part of.

Another moment Ruh holds dear to his heart was having the honor of inducting former Athletic Director Rocky Forte into the Hillsborough High School Athletic Hall of Fame back in 2011.

Ruh’s impact on the Hillsborough community spans far beyond athletics.

He served as senior class president in high school and was an integral part of creating Project Graduation that started in 1992. The event is held on the night of graduation where graduating seniors can participate in a variety of activities in a controlled setting to keep them safe as they celebrate their achievement of graduating from high school.

Ruh will officially become a board member at the HBOE meeting on May 9 after going through a required background check, he said.

In the meantime, Ruh has been doing his diligence on the issues being discussed in the school district by the HBOE. He has also been connecting with fellow board members to hear their side of things and to learn more about what being a board member entails.

“We can’t change things if we don’t know where we are,” Ruh said.

As Ruh learns more about the lay of the land, he will not stray away from his plea to make sure the people of Hillsborough have their voices heard.

“Every person’s complaint needs to be heard,” Ruh said. “We might decide that it’s not the best thing for the community, but it’s important for that person to know that we are listening to them and that we are doing the best we can to see it through.”

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