January is designated School Director Recognition Month in honor of the time and commitment school board members dedicate to our schools and communities all year long.
The work of these public servants is vital to the success of our students and schools and it is complex and diverse. From voting on budgets to adopting policy to conducting comprehensive planning, school boards make key decisions that drive public education. School directors devote, on average, 10 hours each month to board business, which has only been made more challenging by the ongoing effects of the pandemic and related issues that impact the well-being of our students and families.
Board service is unpaid, and school directors are often motivated to pursue the role out of a desire to benefit their community. The vast majority of school directors indicated that their primary reason for serving is to give back, contribute to public education, or to improve educational outcomes for students.
School directors are locally-elected officials, focused on improving the townships and boroughs in which they live. About 41 percent of school directors serve the district they once attended as a student and 94 percent are parents of students who attend or attended the district they serve. They are our fellow neighbors, local leaders, co-workers, parents and friends.
At the start of the Jan. 18 school board meeting, our school directors and our school district solicitor were recognized and received a book to be donated to one of our school libraries in their honor. The board member’s children, grandchildren and close friends were in attendance to recognize them and present each of them with their book.
This month and every month we thank our school directors for their time and dedication to our students, schools and the community. We would not be the district we are today without them.
The books chosen this year are as follows:
Allison Mathis, President - School Director since 2017
“The Big Cheese” by Jory John donated to West View Elementary School Library
Helen “Dee” Spade, Vice President - School Director since 2015
“The Littlest Yak - Home Is Where the Herd Is” donated to Ross Elementary School Library
Samantha Ellwood - School Director since 2023
“Knight Owl” by Christopher Denise donated to Highcliff Elementary School Library
Sandra Kozera - School Director since 2017
“The World Needs More Purple People” by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart donated to McIntyre Elementary School Library
Phil Little - School Director since 2019
“Refugee” by Alan Gratz donated to McIntyre Elementary School Library
Elizabeth Nease - School Director since 2021
“Wonder Women of Science: How 12 Geniuses are Rocking Science, Technology, and the World” by Tiera Fletcher donated to the NHMS Library
Rachael Rennebeck - School Director since 2019
“Maizy Chen’s Last Chance” by Lisa Yee donated to West View Elementary School Library
Mike Santucci - School Director since 2021
“Acorn was a Little Wild” by Jen Arena donated to Highcliff Elementary School Library
Ashley Stephens - School Director since 2023
“The Big Backyard: The Solar System Beyond Pluto” by Ron Miller donated to the NHMS Library
Mike Witherel - Solicitor since 1983
“The Eyes and the Impossible” by Dave Eggers donated to Ross Elementary School Library
From left to right: Phil Little, Rachael Rennebeck, Samantha Ellwood, Mike Santucci, Dee Spade, Allison Mathis, Elizabeth Nease, Sandra Kozera, Ashley Stephens, Phil Little