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    Richard Vespucci
    Jon Zlock


For Release: July 2, 2003

State Board of Education Elects Hyndman and Eckert-Casha
as New Officers for 2003-2004

The New Jersey State Board of Education today named Arnold G. Hyndman of Belvidere and Debra Eckert-Casha of Kinnelon as its new president and vice-president, respectively. Dr. Hyndman will replace five-term board president Maud Dahme. Eckert-Casha replaces four-term vice-president Dr. Ronald K. Butcher.

Arnold Hyndman, first appointed to the State Board in 2000, has been a career educator at institutions of higher education on the east and west coasts, holding teaching and research posts at both California and New Jersey universities.

Currently a professor of Cell and Neurobiology at Rutgers University, Dr. Hyndman has also served as Dean at Livingston College of Rutgers since 1994.

His past accomplishments in the Rutgers administration include serving as associate provost from 1990-1994, as well as director of the Minority Teaching & Research Career Development Graduate School from 1983-1990.

Professionally he has been associated with the Society for Neuroscience and the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. Hyndman has spoken and written on the issue of bioethics.

Dr. Hyndman is an ordained Christian minister, and since 1995 has been a member of the Warren County Community College Board of Trustees, serving as its vice chair from 1997-2000. He has been an outside member of the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee of R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute and served on review panels for the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation.

"I am excited about the opportunity to lead the board in the coming year, and I appreciate the support of my fellow board members," Dr. Hyndman said. "We have a challenging year ahead, but this board has shown its willingness to take on difficult and complex issues and deal with them successfully. Over the next several months we expect to complete our review of the new licensing code and we will also be voting to adopt revised Core Curriculum Content Standards."

A resident of Belvidere, Hyndman is married and has four children.

Debra Eckert-Casha has served on the State Board since 2001. A veteran of service, Eckert-Casha has excelled along various career and professional paths. She is currently an attorney at the firm of Casha, Casha & Schepis in Montville, New Jersey.

After attending Montclair State University for undergraduate and masters studies in Consumer Economics, Eckert-Casha earned her law degree from Seton Hall.

She has held teaching posts in the field of Family and Consumer Science at both Montclair University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. She also has extensive legal experience in areas of consulting, grant-writing and educational directing and leadership, and is a member of the national, state and Morris County bar associations.

Eckert-Casha has served on numerous directorial and trustee boards, including the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA and the Passaic County Community College Foundation (1998-2001). She currently serves as a trustee for the Montville UNICO Foundation and the Lakeland Bank Advisory Board (1999-present). She sat as a member of the State Board of Psychological Examiners and served as a long-time president of the Northwest New Jersey Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Eckert-Casha, a resident of Kinnelon, has been recognized with many awards and honors for her community and professional dedication, including being named the Citizen of the Year in 1999 by the Montville Township Chamber of Commerce, and Person of the Year in 2002 by the Montville UNICO. She is married.

"Since I joined the board two years ago, I have been quite impressed with the quality, expertise and dedication demonstrated by my colleagues on the board, by the Commissioner and staff from the Department of Education, and by leading members of the state’s education community," said Eckert-Casha. "I will be counting on their continued involvement and assistance as we pursue initiatives that will keep New Jersey as a leading state in education reform."

The State Board of Education consists of 13 members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the state Senate. The board is responsible for general supervision and control of public education for the state’s public school system. Members serve without compensation for six-year terms.

Officers for the State Board are elected internally and serve one-year terms. Dahme and Butcher will continue to serve on the board.