BERKELEY HEIGHTS – The New Jersey School Boards Association has announced that Helen Kirsch, President of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, has been named as New Jersey’s 2015 Board Member of the Year.

Mrs. Kirsch will be honored for this achievement at a special recognition ceremony on October 27th during the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Annual Workshop at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Mrs. Kirsch has been as a member of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education since 1983.  She has served as Board President from April 1989 to January 2007 and from January 2013 to the present time.  Mrs. Kirsch has also been a member of the Union County Educational Services Commission’s Board of Education for the past 18 years and she is currently serving as President of that Board.

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“Mrs. Kirsch has devoted a great deal of time and energy to the students of the Berkeley Heights Public Schools,” said Judith A. Rattner, Superintendent of Schools.  “She has been focused on doing what is best for children throughout her years as a volunteer to the Berkeley Heights and UCESC boards of education.  This is a tremendous honor for Mrs. Kirsch and one that is well-deserved.”

During her three-plus decades on the Berkeley Heights Board of Education, she has served on the Board’s Negotiations, Long-Range Planning, Athletics/Co-Curricular, Legislative, Personnel and Curriculum committees; while acting as the Board of Education liaison to numerous Berkeley Heights organizations, including the Township Committee, Municipal Alliance, Education Foundation, Taxpayers Association, Senior Citizens and Environmental Commission.  During the same time span, Mrs. Kirsch served as President of the Educational Services Commission Board for five years, Vice-President for four years, and as a member of the UCESC Board’s Executive Committee and Negotiations Committee for 11 years each.

Recognized as a Certified Board Member and Master Board Member through the New Jersey School Board Association’s professional development program, Mrs. Kirsch has participated in over 550 Berkeley Heights Board of Education meetings since first being elected in 1983.  During her years on the Board, she has helped provide the foresight that enabled the Berkeley Heights School District to re-structure its elementary and middle schools while creating and opening an Early Childhood Center.  Mrs. Kirsch’s calm, measured, and insightful leadership also was instrumental in the dissolution of the Union County Regional High School District #1 in 1997 and the addition of Governor Livingston High School to the Berkeley Heights Public Schools.

“Helen’s many years of service and knowledge of the Berkeley Heights community are a continual benefit to the district and how it functions,” said Dr. Gerard Crisonino, Vice President of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education.  “Helen has been and continues to be a consensus builder who is skillful in getting the Board to resolve differences of opinion.  She has given so much of herself to her tasks and we are all better for it.”