New board member wants to hear from community


Staff Writer

 Amy Fankhauser Amy Fankhauser HOWELL — Amy Fankhauser believes that after serving as a volunteer on a committee in the Howell K-8 School District, it “seemed a natural transition” to run for a seat on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education.

Fankhauser, who has lived in Howell for 14 years, ran in the November 2013 election and won a three-year term on the regional school board.

She is one of Howell’s two representatives on the board, along with Bill Bruno, overseeing the operation of six high schools and the education of about 12,000 students.

Fankhauser said she is getting used to the operation of the board, and she thanked her fellow board members for their assistance.

“[The board members] have all taken time from their day to update me on what is happening in the district — educationally and financially — and familiarizing me with staff and the programs offered,” she said.

In the past, Fankhauser worked as an attorney for the New Jersey School Boards Association and for the Office of Legislative Services in Trenton. Within the community, she served on the Howell K-8 School District’s Policy Committee.

“As a former school board attorney, I am aware of board functions, negotiations and budget procedures, the school laws and much of the jargon.

“I believe that reduces my learning curve coming into this position and will enable me to get to work immediately for the community and in a more meaningful way from the get-go.”

She said that in addition to educating herself about the district’s budget, programs and goals, she hopes to reach out to the residents of Howell to make sure she is hearing their opinions.

“In speaking to others in public service and through my own experience over the years, the hardest part of the job is to involve those you represent so that when you act, you have a sense of where the public stands on a particular issue,” Fankhauser said.

“I will certainly have my own ideas on things and, presumably, I was elected because others share those ideas. But a good public servant does her research, solicits input from the community and sifts through it all in order to make a well-informed decision — the benefits of which to the majority of the community outweigh any negative impact they may have.”

She said that as a board member, she wants to make certain that Howell students are well-prepared for their future.