In December, the New Jersey School Boards Association asked school board presidents and superintendents to identify board members who went the extra mile to provide service to their communities.

School leaders named board members who, in addition to their service on boards of education, also contributed countless hours in other important positions.

In the Jan. 23 and Jan. 29 editions of School Board Notes, as part of the 2019 School Board Recognition Month, the NJSBA is profiling community servants who continue to give, even after they have met the demands of their local boards of education.

The board members identified below have served their communities well. A companion story in this week’s School Board Notes features board members Tom Sicola and Larry Williams.

Spotlight on Service: Edward Barrett, Hazlet Township Board of Education

Ed Barrett
Ed Barrett

Edward Barrett of Hazlet Township in Monmouth County is the epitome of community service. A member of the Hazlet Board of Education since January 2017, he is also a member of the RAINE Foundation, a local charity that regularly assists those in need in the surrounding Bayshore area.

Through RAINE (Reaching All In Need Everyday), Barrett has had a tremendous, positive impact on his community. Every year, he assists the foundation by providing a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.  This year, RAINE served over 350 people and delivered Thanksgiving food baskets and turkeys to 750 families over three days.

Come Christmas, in his capacity as a member of RAINE, he assists with the wrapping of hundreds of gifts and joining multiple fire engine tours, each with a Santa, as they visit the surrounding neighborhoods. He assists the Santas as they deliver gifts to scores of local children. RAINE also distributes baskets at Easter with Ed Barrett very much involved in this undertaking as well. The foundation has also begun a program for sending gift boxes to soldiers.

Asked to comment on his community activity, Barrett was succinct.

“You give your all,” he said, “and yet you always feels as if it has cost you nothing.”

Once a year, RAINE holds a charity gift auction, attended by hundreds of people, and Barrett is readily available to the guests as he arrives (in any one of a number of holiday suits and vests) to meet and greet the attendees. Last year’s event, held on Dec. 7, was attended by the Hazlet mayor, chief of police, superintendent of schools, several council members and two Monmouth County freeholders, underscoring the occasion’s significance.

During Hurricane Sandy, RAINE, with Barrett’s support, provided shelter, meals, comfort and counseling to the many affected families. The foundation continues to offer such support with Barrett strongly involved in this effort.

Prior to his time on the Hazlet Board of Education, Barrett served on the Executive Board for the Hazlet Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), dating back to 2001. The PTO is actively involved with activities at each of the district’s eight schools and together, they sponsor a number of fundraising and child-friendly activities that improve the educational experience of the district’s nearly 3,000 students. He is also very involved with the Keyport Yacht Club fundraiser every year. Money raised during that event is donated to the RAINE Foundation.

His three sons graduated from Raritan High School in the Hazlet School District, and Barrett has represented both his family and constituency well during, and beyond, that timeline.

“He lives in the community, he embraces the community, and he prioritizes the needs of those community members less fortunate than he,” said superintendent Scott Ridley. “He is an excellent example of someone who ‘gives back’ without asking for, or expecting, anything in return.”

Spotlight on Service: Lisa Marshall, Warren Hills Regional Board of Education

Lisa Marshall
Lisa Marshall

Lisa Marshall met most requirements to be a certified board leader before the end of her first term in office. She continues to volunteer beyond the mandatory training requirements, earning NJSBA Board Member Academy credits and staying informed. Lisa served as president on her local school board for the past two years. She is on the Legislative Committee representing the 23rd District for the Warren County School Boards Association, and she is also active with the NJSBA’s Legislative Committee and Special Education Committee.

Marshall has served her local community, as well as the community at large, for many years. At church, she was a Eucharistic minister and assisted the bookkeeper in the office. In a local Catholic school, she volunteered every day as the school nurse. Marshall also co-chaired the Tricky Tray fundraiser, a year-long endeavor, and was on the committee to plan and run the fundraising carnival. She also sat on the executive council for the school.

Marshall served as the president of the PTO at two schools. She also was the cub master at her son’s school. Using her strong knowledge base regarding special education, Marshall has served on the Special Education Advisory Council since 2005. She is also a child special education advocate, helping parents advocate for their children in the schools. She is an invaluable asset to families as she assists in helping them navigate through the complex process.

When asked why she participates in so many activities, Marshall said she learned about the power of service at an early age.

“I started out volunteering as a candy striper at age 14, and I learned that one person truly can make a difference,” she said. “I’ve continued to volunteer since then. It makes me happy to be able to give back to my community.”

She served on the Advisory Board of Catholic Charities, assisting anyone regardless of faith, with complex issues such as poverty, mental illness, integrated health and nutrition issues or the need for disaster services. Marshall was honored to be the keynote speaker at an annual fundraising dinner for mental health services.

As an active member of the Warren County Medical Reserve Corp. — a national network of volunteers organized locally to improve the health and safety of their communities – Marshall has been deployed for flu outbreaks, Superstorm Sandy, and has been on standby for other deployments as needed.

Lisa Marshall is an active volunteer for so many people. She is a valuable resource — valued for her time, caring, knowledge, and genuine commitment to serve others.