Roberta H. Van Anda, a former English and History teacher who has served for the past dozen years as a member of the school boards serving the Borough of Rumson, was sworn in today as the newest member of the New Jersey State Board of Education.
"I am excited that Governor Christie Whitman has given me this opportunity to improve the educational experience for our young people," said Van Anda. "The chance to serve on this distinguished board is awe-inspiring, and I look forward to putting all of my expertise, creativity and energy into the task."
Van Anda, whose appointment by the Governor was approved by the State Senate last week, has had the unique experience of being a student, teacher, parent and school board member in the Rumson School districts. A graduate of Ursinus College, Van Anda taught English at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School and at Shore Regional High School, and history at the Rumson Country Day School.
A member of the Rumson School District (K-8) Board of Education from 1988 to 1993 and the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School Board of Education for the past six years, Van Anda began her board service on behalf of the Tower Hill Co-operative Nursery School in Red Bank in 1983 and 1984. She is a past president of the Monmouth County School Boards Association, and has been active in the New Jersey School Boards Association for the past decade.
Van Anda created a school lesson plan on the history of the Rumson community, in conjunction with the Rumson Senior Citizens Club, which won an award for a community cooperative effort from the Monmouth County Historical Association. Her initiative launched the Rumson Historical Society.
Van Anda co-founded and managed the Bulldogs Hockey Club, an ice hockey team which has now become a varsity team at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School.
Van Anda has also authored articles in the School Leader magazine published by the NJ School Boards Association, with one on the special symbiotic relationship between senior citizens and local school systems and another on the merits of sharing services between municipalities and local schools.
Long active in the local community, Van Anda served on the Board of Directors of the Monmouth County SPCA and is Vice-Chair of the Rumson County Committee. She has also served as Vice-President and Membership Secretary of the Monmouth County branch of the English Speaking Union.
She serves as editor of the Rumson Borough Bulletin and has been a member of the Navesink River Auxiliary to Riverview Hospital. In addition, she is a freelance creative writer.
"What I hope to contribute most to the state board is infectious enthusiasm for life-long learning and unwavering support for the young people of our state," said Van Anda.
A long-time resident of Rumson, Van Anda has four children and seven grandchildren.