Donahower Takes Seat on Southern School Board, Looks Forward to ‘Positive’ Experience

By David Biggy | Jan 15, 2020

Stafford Township — James Donahower is grateful 1,475 Long Beach Islanders voted for him to be a part of the Southern Regional Board of Education, and he expressed his appreciation during his first evening among his new boardmates on Jan. 8, when the Southern board had its reorganization and first regular meeting of the new year.

“I was told being on this board is a great experience with a bunch of great people, who are all here to do the same thing – whatever is best for the students,” said Donahower, who had spent the previous several years on the Long Beach Island Board of Education, his term ending Dec. 31. “That’s the experience I’m desperate for and that’s the experience I was told I’m going to get, so I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for having me.”

Afterward, Donahower said the decision to seek election to the Southern school board was “really simple.”

“I wanted to continue what I intended to do when I went to the LBI school board, and that was to contribute something positive and give something back to the community,” said Donahower, who has had one child go through the Southern district, graduating several years ago, and another still in the district. “If you don’t have money to be a philanthropist, you have to give your time, and that’s what I did. This is a continuation of that. I wanted to keep doing the school board thing and this was the right place to do it.”

Of course, Donahower still has much to learn about board business within the Southern district, but he believes he will “find my way.”

“This board is the real deal, and they love this place and care about the students,” he said. “Naturally, it’s my first day, so I’m still wet behind the ears here. But all signs are pointing to a vibe that is going to be positive, and I want my role to be a positive one in somehow shaping a good experience for the students here.”

In November, Donahower was the only new member elected to the board, and he was sworn in to his seat by Business Administrator Steve Terhune, alongside incumbents Kevin Lyons Sr. and R. Scott Zaladz, prior to board business. Additionally, Thomas Serpico was voted president for the year by the board, while Heather Tatur was voted vice president.

The board also doled out a pair of proclamations – one to Fredrick Harold “Fred” Waters for his influence in the developing the foundation for what eventually became Southern News Network, as well as one to transportation department mechanics Justin Smith and Kevin Wallis for their role in making sure a mechanical failure with SNN’s mobile television studio bus was repaired in time for the Studio 100 crew to do a live broadcast of Southern’s ice hockey game at Flyers Skate Zone in Atlantic City on Dec. 13.

Superintendent Craig Henry also recognized the Studio 100 crew – comprised of Megan Hensinger, Shay’la Duca, Nate LaRussa, Emily Rinnier, Abby Constantino, Angela Bunk, Julia McDonnell and Catherine Tomic – for their work during that broadcast and on subsequent projects to date.

— David Biggy

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