SHAMONG >> At its July 17 regular meeting, the Lenape Regional High School District (LRHSD) Board of Education honored retiring member Linda M. Eckenhoff. A member since May of 2006, Eckenhoff served the board as a representative from Southampton.
“I have had a rewarding experience as a board member, mainly because my colleagues on the Board, the district administrators and the teachers and support staff are all working for the right reasons,” said Eckenhoff. “They are focused on providing the best possible education for both current students and future generations.”
A former educator herself, Eckenhoff especially enjoyed the opportunity to continue working with students as a member of the LRHSD Board. Over her 17-year teaching career, she taught grades first through eighth in both Edgewater Park and Southampton schools. She left the profession to help her husband, Ted, manage their 280-acre family farm, which she also did for 17 years.
Eckenhoff’s two sons, John Sullivan Jr. and Kevin Sullivan, and her stepsons, Scott Eckenhoff and Glenn Eckenhoff, are all Lenape High School graduates. Their time in school predates her time on the Board, but she has served while all five of Glenn’s children attended Lenape High School: Brian Eckenhoff, ’08; Kevin Eckenhoff, ’10; Justin Eckenhoff, ’16; Lauren Eckenhoff, ’16; and Colin Eckenhoff, ’18.
“Signing the diplomas of my grandchildren was very special,” said Eckenhoff.
Another highlight for Eckenhoff during her time on the Board was making contact with Joylette Hylick, the daughter of NASA mathematician and “Hidden Figures” heroine
Katherine Johnson. Eckenhoff helped arrange a conversation between Hylick and two students from each of the four LRHSD high schools, which was then broadcast to all of the schools. The conversation covered Johnson’s journey to overcome adversity and helped tie in two years of common reading at LRHSD, during which all students read “Hidden Figures,” and then the following year, chose books along the theme of windows and mirrors as a way to reflect upon their own lives.
LRHSD Superintendent Carol Birnbohm, Ed.D., expressed gratitude for Eckenhoff’s support of the district over the past 13 years. “We are fortunate to have had Linda on our Board of Education, because she is an educator at heart. She is sincere in wanting what is best for our students, first and foremost,” said Birnbohm. “We will miss her energy and enthusiasm, but above all, we will miss her commitment to our students.”
Also during the meeting, LRHSD BOE President Margaret “Cookie” Estlow read a resolution to recognize Eckenhoff’s service to the board and presented her with a plaque and a memory book. She thanked Eckenhoff for being a “wonderful mentor and friend,” especially when Eckenhoff was BOE President and helped transition Estlow into the role.
“Linda has been thoughtful and generous with the time that she’s dedicated to the Board,” said Estlow. “She knows how to engage others with that sweet smile and Southern charm. Her years of service have made an enormous impact on our district.”
Eckenhoff has a history of service to Southern New Jersey in addition to her time on the LRHSD Board. She was appointed by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman to a four-year term on the Pinelands Commission, and she helped start the Southampton Township Academic Resources, an education commission to help provide grants and other resources for the Southampton Township School District. Her husband, Ted, also has a history of service, spending more than 30 years on the Virtua Board of Trustees.
The couple will soon head to Southport, N.C., to begin retirement. For Linda Eckenhoff, it is a homecoming of sorts since she grew up in Durham, N.C. Once settled, the couple plans to resume world travels in between enjoying coastal living.