HOPEWELL VALLEY: School board candidates introduce themselves

Who they are and what they do

   On Tuesday, Hopewell Borough and Hopewell Township voters will go to the polls between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. to pick four members of the Hopewell Valley Regional Board of Education.
   Hopewell Borough will choose one of two candidates to serve a three-year term. Candidates are:
    Gordon Lewis, who began his professional career in Berlin, Germany just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He and his wife founded a language school for children and taught English in kindergartens, elementary schools, and in summer camps in the Berlin area. They expanded their operations to the cities of Frankfurt, Cologne, and Munich. At its height, they had more than 5000 students in the program. The school was sold to Berlitz international in 1999.
   In 2001, Mr. Lewis was appointed worldwide director of training and development for Berlitz’ K-12 business and the family move to Pennington and later to Hopewell. A graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in language and linguistics and international affairs. he completed a master’ degree in the same fields at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, Calif. He also holds a certificate in Web-based instruction and curriculum design from Simon Fraser University, Canada. At Georgetown, he was a varsity soccer player and also played on the varsity lacrosse team.
   He is executive director of English Programs for Laureate Education. In that capacity, he works with university presidents to develop budgets and design programs that match their needs. The Laureate English Program is a partnership with Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment (ESOL). He is responsible for managing this global relationship. He also is a writer for Oxford University Press and has published six books in their teacher development series. One, the Internet and Young Learners, was shortlisted for the British Council Innovation Award, the highest distinction in his field.
    Mel Myers, a retired civil engineer and longtime volunteer in Hopewell Borough, was appointed as Hopewell Borough’s representative on the school board in September 2004. Mr. Myers served as an appointee until the next regular board election, when he was elected to finish the remaining two years of Steve Wood’s term. He was re-elected in 2007.
   Mr. Myers has a degree in civil engineering from Drexel University and a master’s degree in public administration from Rider University. A U.S. Army veteran and member of the Army Reserves until 1988, he also completed the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College program and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
   Business manager for the New Jersey Water Supply Authority from 1981 until 1999, Mr. Myers also worked for many years as a supervising engineer for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
   His community service in Hopewell Borough includes an eight-year stint as an elected member of the Hopewell Borough Board of Fire Commissioners. He served as treasurer for all eight years. Since 1991 he has served as an EMT for the Hopewell Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Unit and has been its top responder every year since 2001. In 2000, the school board appointed Mr. Myers to its ad hoc Facilities Review Committee studying long-range facility needs in the district. One of the major products of that committee’s work was the construction of Stony Brook Elementary School and a major expansion of Central High School.
   Mr. Myers is serving his second consecutive year as board president. A past member of the board’s Curriculum & Instruction, Facilities and Insurance & Safety committees, he represents the board on its ad hoc Safety Committee and two area foundations, the Hopewell Valley Educational Foundation and the Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley. He also serves as board liaison to the Hopewell Borough Council and the New Jersey School Boards Association.
   Mr. Myers has a son, Matthew, daughter-in-law, Jessica, who works as a special education teacher in the East Windsor Regional School District, and two grandsons, Dylan and Gavin, who live near New Egypt.
    HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP will choose two of three candidates to serve three-year terms. Candidates are:
    Stephen Keen has lived in Hopewell Township for over 14 years with my wife, Robin, and two daughters, Emily and Deborah. During that time, he has been involved with the school system from various perspectives, as a parent, as a corporate representative through the Hopewell Foundation, as an employee and most recently as a school board member.
   He began his career in industry and worked over a 15-year period at 3M Corporation and Janssen Pharmaceutica in manufacturing, sales and management environments. As a result, he has experience in budgeting, contract negotiation, project management and people development. At Janssen, he had the opportunity to be a corporate representative to the Hopewell Foundation and served as a liaison for the initiation of the district autism program.
   Seven years ago, he decided to change careers and move into education. After holding positions as a substitute teacher, paraprofessional and special education teacher at Timberlane and HVCHS, he moved to Lawrence High School where he is a special education teacher.
    Brian McHugh has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a doctorate from Yale University, both in chemical engineering. He began working on two completely independent projects at Bell Laboratories; one involved planning the operations for AT&T to introduce equipment into their network (it saved $300M/year for several years), another involved designing the software logic for a wireless inventory system (a U.S. Patent was conferred).
   He worked at Hoffman-La Roche in Switzerland and GlaxoSmithKline in King of Prussia, Pa. He is an associate director at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he uses mathematical modeling to increase current drug knowledge for increased efficacy and safety.
   He is the secretary/treasurer of MoSAIC (Modeling & Simulation Applications In Clinical Pharmacotherapy), a nonprofit organization of researchers and scientists from the pharmaceutical industry who meet to discuss and share ideas.
   Locally, he is treasurer of the Brandon Farms Property Owners Association.
    James Wulf was elected to the school board in 2007. He has lived in Hopewell Valley since 2003 and grew up in nearby West Windsor Township, where he was active in Boy Scouts of America. A former Eagle Scout, he spent more than 10 years as a scoutmaster and assistant scoutmaster of troops in Princeton, West Windsor and Hightstown. His community service includes volunteer work with the Manhattan-based inMotion, formerly known as Network for Women’s Services, which provides free legal services to low-income women.
   Mr. Wulf has worked in the information technology field for the past 25 years. He is a principal in an information technology infrastructure consulting company. For several years prior, he was employed by several Fortune 500 companies, including General Electric, Berkshire Hathaway, Arthur J. Gallagher and Luminent Capital. He has served in technology management in a variety of capacities, including head of CAD/CAM/CAE (computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing and computer-aided engineering) networking and systems, global head of infrastructure, as well as chief information officer. In these roles, he has managed large budgets and staffs. For his work in meeting the completion of the world’s then-largest, most efficient co-generation power plant, on time and under budget, he was awarded the General Electric Management Award.
   Mr. Wulf serves as chairman of the Finance & Facilities Committee and is board liaison to Bear Tavern Elementary School and the Hopewell Township Committee. He represents the board as a delegate to the Mercer County School Boards Association.
   Mr. Wulf attended the New York State College of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.
   He and his wife, Rhona, have two daughters, Annalise and Jacquelene, who attend Bear Tavern Elementary School.
    HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP also will choose one person to fill a one-year unexpired term. The sole candidate is Laura Desai. Ms. Desai, a lifelong resident of Hopewell Township, graduated from The College of New Jersey where she majored in business and Spanish and minored in human resources. She began her career with Merrill Lynch in their Private Client Human Resources Division. She managed the MBA recruitment program for that division – recruiting, hiring and training MBA students from top business schools across the country to work in one of three Private Client programs.
   She then decided to use her Spanish degree and, therefore, pursued the alternate route teacher’s program in New Jersey. She began teaching in three Catholic schools in Mercer County, where she designed, developed and implemented the Spanish program teaching PreK-eighth-grade students. After a Catholic schools merger in Mercer County, she went to Richard C. Crockett Middle School in Hamilton, where she is the 2009-10 Richard Crockett Middle School Teacher of the Year in addition to being the 2009-10 Hamilton Township District Teacher of The Year. She teaches Spanish to seventh and eighth grade students. In addition, she coaches girls soccer and basketball at Crockett Middle School and is a participant in the Outdoor Environmental Education program in the district.
   She also owns and operates her own jewelry business and is an active member of her parish, St. James Church. She also is involved with The Pennington School Community where she volunteers as class agent and was elected as an executive member of The Alumni Association. She was named the Woman of the Year in Education for 2008 by the American Biographical Institute, listed in Cambridge’s Who’s Who for 2008 and recently was awarded Honorary Mentor status by the Young Scholars Leadership Council program.