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New Board of Ed President's Experience Questioned

Some board criticize appointment of Thomas Kinst at Monday's reorganization meeting.

As a new era began Monday night with the nomination of new leadership on the , some questioned the selection of its new president.

Since former Board President Steve Paget and Vice President Marc Rosenberg did not seek another term in last week's election, the board appointed Thomas Kinst and Judith Haas as president and vice president, respectively.

However, some questioned if Kinst had enough experience and commitment to lead the board. Board members Thuy Anh Le and Christopher Pulsifer abstained from voting for that reason.

“It takes a strong commitment from the board and admininistration for that (a high level of) resolve toward student achievement,” Le said. “As economic, social and political forces bear down upon our school system, we need to make sure that our children’s education is not compromised.”

“I’m not so naïve to think that politics has no influence on selecting the president of the board,” continued Le, “but I do find it hard to accept that it is not the most experienced and hard-working members that should be president.”

Pulsifer echoed similar sentiments.

“My dedication is now, as it always has been, to this district and to communication and our students,” Pulsifer noted, “but I will abstain (from voting), as well.”

Kinst said he has been praised by other board members and it's going to take a team effort from all nine members.

“We do have common ground in a demonstrated commitment to educational excellence,” Kinst said. “Other board members have spoken to me, a number of whom have different opinions, but they’ve praised me for ability to listen, drive for what’s important, listen to things in objective manner and keep interests common ground.”

“The president has its role, but I am one of nine members of the school board, and it is a team of which I’m going to be relying upon,” Kinst continued.

Kinst also had praise for Haas, whom he nominated for the position of vice president, for her imparted knowledge and contributions to the board.

“I have worked with Judy over the past two years and found that we share quite a few common values. A lot of times, we found we voted one way in difference to the rest of the board,” Kinst said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge, and I welcome the contributions that she’ll bring as vice president.”

Deena Centofanti was sworn in for her first term, while incumbent Dana Boguszewski was sworn in for her first full term after each were victorious in . Fellow newly-elected board member Lorraine Soisson was absent from the meeting and has not yet been sworn in.

“We’re very excited to move into the new school year with our new board,” Superintendent of Schools Jorden Schiff said. “Everybody is really working very well together; there is a sense of real investment in the strategic plan, and there’s a feeling that our community is supporting the types of things that we’re doing. We’re optimistic for the future."

David Wald April 25, 2012 at 01:30 PM
As someone who got to know Thom about 3 years ago when we ran together for Board of Education seats I can tell you that he is fair, honest, compassionate, highly educated, dedicated and always does the right things for all the right reasons. I personally think that he will make a great President of the Hillsborough Board of Education. As a parent with kids in our school system I know that our schools are in great hands. I am proud to call Thom my friend and congratulate him on his new position.
dubious April 25, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Sammy, your remarks are so disappointing. Everyone has an opinion but to imply that voting blocks on the BOE matter more than quality education is sad. I am sure that everyone on the BOE will do what is right for BOTH the kids and the taxpayer. Let's not forget why they are there in the first place...to make sure our kids have the best education possible. If you don't like something, don't be a coward, go to the meetings and speak up. But of course, you won't.
sammy April 25, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Cowardice? Why is it that speaking up or not determines ones strength as a human being. I have been there many times , and with the losers that ran the board in the past it was obvious that Rosenberg, Piaget, Haas and recently Thu where a voting block that would act , not for or against children , but what would get teacher or Administration approval; the taxpayer be dam*ed. It is obvious that Thu and Pulsifier abstained because they where shut out of what THEY wanted , whcih was to have HAAS be the President. Too bad , they dont have the votes anymore. Changes are coming dubious; be ready.
dubious April 25, 2012 at 06:30 PM
What change do you want? Bigger classes? Less maintenance? Perhaps you want to pay teachers less. That should be good for recruitment of quality people! I think Hboro teachers already pay more for benefits than any other district in the county. Maybe fewer administrators, although Boro is, I'm told, one of the lowest admin/student ratios in the state. So what incompetence are you pointing out? Could it be that the teachers gave back a lot in the last negotiations? No, that's what you wanted. Could it be that the budget came in $1,000,000 under cap (passed unanimously)? No, that again is what you wanted. Those of you who scream about the cost of educating your own children don't seem to have any legit suggestions about what to do.
residentgood April 26, 2012 at 03:22 AM
@sammy: If Kinst is so good and Hass is so bad, why did he pick her to be VP?

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