Debra Roosen of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School Board of Education is New Jersey's Board Member of the Year.
Roosen has more than two decades of experience on school boards. She has been on the North Hunterdon-Voorhees board for 16 years; she also served on the Bethlehem Township School District Board of Education in Hunterdon for nine years, some of that time was concurrent with her service on the high school board.
"Debra Roosen has been a tireless supporter of public education in her community for more than 20 years," said John Bulina, New Jersey School Boards Association president. "She exemplifies the best qualities of an educational leader. As a board member she has been dedicated to the students in her district, she has advocated for children at the county and state level, and she has been committed to her own professional development as a board member."
Experienced Leader During her time as a board member, Roosen has twice served as board president on the North Hunterdon-Voorhees board. She is currently chairperson for the Personnel and Legislative Committees, and serves as a member of the Policy Committee. She has also served on several other committees, including negotiations, buildings and grounds, business and finance, community relations and student affairs.
Roosen is currently president of the Hunterdon County School Boards Association, has been a representative to NJSBA's Delegate Assembly, and has served as a NJSBA group leader for New Board Member Orientation, Advanced Boardsmanship and Leadership training conferences. She earned the status of Certificated Board Member in 1995 and Master Board Member in 1997.
NJSBA established the Board Member of the Year program in 2005 to recognize the contributions of the state's local school board members to public education. To be eligible, nominees need to have served on their board for at least five years; must have achieved Certificated Board Member level through the NJSBA Board Member Academy; and must have demonstrated leadership and service to education at the local, county and state levels.
An independent panel from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association selected Roosen.
Highly Recommended Roosen was nominated for the honor by five members of her school board, as well as by the district superintendent, Dr. Charles M. Shaddow. All of the nominators submitted letters describing the positive impact she has had on the districts' schools.
"The students and parents of our school system are fortunate to have an advocate such as Debra Roosen," said Dr. Shaddow. "Her passion for quality education, fair play and equitable treatment for all students could be counted on, unwaveringly. One of Debra's major concerns revolved around the question, 'What are we doing for the average student; how are we making education relevant to these students?'"
"Throughout all her years of service, she has never lost sight of the fact that the first thought in any education decision is how it affects the education of the district's children," noted Nicholas Nacamuli, board vice-president, in his nominating letter. "She has also devoted time to training and mentoring new board members. I have come to realize that Deb is one of the best board members in our district and in the state. Her years of experience combined with her pragmatic and caring thinking makes her a truly unique board member and is absolutely worthy of the honor of being this year's board member of the year as she prepares to retire."
Roosen's board service will be ending with the board's reorganization on Jan. 3, 2013. The North Hunterdon district reapportioned board seats after the 2010 census, and Roosen's municipality lost one of its two seats. Roosen decided not to run for the sole remaining spot on the board.
Roosen will be honored at Workshop 2012 on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the session beginning at 11:15 a.m. at the TD Bank Theater on the Atlantic City Convention Center Exhibit Hall floor.