I am running for School Director in Tredyffrin Region 2. Recently, I served as the Vice-Chairman of the TE Tax Commission, which recommended unanimously against imposing an income tax in TE.
I am currently an Executive Director at uTANGO.com, an internet startup company. My background is in technology, online marketing and business development. Prior to uTANGO, I worked in Business Development and Strategy at Expedia.com where I managed the affiliate marketing channel and drove several hundred million dollars in annual sales. I also worked as a Senior Product Manager at Travelocity.com and as a Product Development and Operations Manager at Site59.com.
I am running because I care deeply about education and our township. My record shows that my interest in educational issues is sincere and long-standing rather than a recent development.
For example, my involvement in anti-bullying and relational aggression dates back to high school when I started and ran a program to teach conflict resolution skills in inner-city elementary schools. The goal of the program was to give students the tools to resolve issues without resorting to violence. That program went on to win an award at the state-level.
I continued to mentor teen girls in New Haven throughout college (focusing in particular on the relational aggression issue as well as self-esteem) and ultimately was selected as a coordinator of the Yale Women's Center, an umbrella organization serving women and children in New Haven. Since college, my involvement has only grown as I've spent many hours working with children and teens.
As a former Gold-Award Girl Scout, I mentor scouts working on Silver and Gold Awards and also speak on self-esteem and relational aggression (bullying). Overall, I have been involved in anti-bullying and anti-violence advocacy for over 15 years.
Advocacy for adults and children with disabilities is also a cause close to my heart. From 6th-12th grade, I volunteered many hours a week at Inglis House, a wheelchair community in Philadelphia. At Yale, I volunteered all four years at the office on disabilities to scan books into braille, take notes in class for deaf and blind students, and more.
In 2003, I was selected as a volunteer of the year by the Junior League of Boston for my efforts as a Foster Care case reviewer, where I worked with many special needs children. I advocated for the safety of children and was instrumental in running the annual toy drive as well as a school supply drive.
As the Chairman of the Junior League Project Research and Development Committee, and as a member of this volunteer organization, I helped implement new literacy, cultural, and health projects for children in the greater Philadelphia area. These projects included BooksAloud! (reading techniques to parents and children), Kids in the Kitchen (teaching proper nutrition and healthy habits to kids), Cultural Clinic (arts and music education for middle-schoolers) and more.
I have volunteered many hours in Tredyffrin as well. I am an auxiliary board member for Tredyffrin and Easttown Care (http://www.tecare.org/). One project I worked on this summer for T&E Care ensured that students in need received computers. I am on the Tredyffrin 300 Committee, where I am chairing the Taste of Tredyffrin and the CafePress committees as well as working on PR and marketing of the historical DVD. The goal of Tredyffrin 300 is raise money to rebuild the Jones Log Barn.
I grew up on the Main Line and attended The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Yale University with Bachelors and Masters Degrees in History. After graduation, I moved to Boston with my husband David, who was stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base. After David left active military service, we moved back to the Main Line.
We chose Tredyffrin because of the outstanding school rankings and the fiscal responsibility of the School Board. We bought our first house here, and it is where we plan to stay and start our family. This is one of the strongest reasons I care so much about long-term strategic planning for our school district. I want to ensure our schools stay top-ranked for a long time to come, so that I can send my children to them in the future.
As a Yale Alumni Interviewer, a volunteer admissions reader for the PA Governor’s School for International Studies, and a focus group participant in the TE School District Strategic Planning Process, I have been able to get to know many Conestoga students and can attest to the fact that TE provides a private-school quality of education at a public school price. By serving on the school board, I hope to maintain and improve the educational excellence and fiscal responsibility of the School District.
Election Coverage at MainLineLife.com:
To the Editor:
Tredyffrin-Easttown voters in Region 2 have a special reason to go to the polls next month: A bright young woman named Debbie Bookstaber has stepped up to fill the school board seat being vacated by Sandi Gorman.
Debbie holds a Masters degree with high honors from Yale and has impressive experience working for dotcoms. She has already contributed her exceptional technology skills to many charities such as T & E Cares, the American Heart Association, and the Tredyffrin 300 campaign. Having someone with Debbie's technology expertise would be an asset to the board.
School taxes are by far the largest local tax we face, and Debbie Bookstaber is a strong advocate of keeping taxes low for everyone. When the school district studied the proposal to create an income tax (as required under Act 1), Debbie volunteered for the tax commission and served as its vice chairman. That commission recommended that our district not adopt such a tax and was credited with a thorough and thoughtful report.
Everyone who has volunteered with Debbie – and given her wide involvement in the community, there are many of us – can attest to the fact that she is dedicated to the welfare of Tredyffrin. Debbie is one of the most energetic and intelligent candidates for local service in recent memory. Our community is fortunate to have such a capable and qualified candidate. She deserves our vote.
Lynn W. Ray, Wayne
Election Coverage at WayneSuburban.com:
"Six Candidates Vie for Seats on the Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board"- WayneSuburban.com
"Bookstaber's bid for school board is based on her desire to "ensure the quality of schools in the future." A technology and marketing professional with bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale, the Berwyn resident grew up in the Merion section of Lower Merion, where her parents still live today.
Her volunteer service includes the FLITE mentoring program and serving as an auxiliary board member of Tredyffrin and East-town Care. She also chaired a Tredyffrin 300 committee. "If you look at my background," she maintains,"I've been a serious volunteer."
As for issues, the board needs to continue its practice of fiscal responsibility, she believes. She said she can contribute to that aim based on her experience as vice chair of T/E's Tax Commission, which was convened to ponder the implications of the state's Act 1 legislation, including whether to enact an income tax.
She is also a proponent of anti-bullying and anti-violence measures in the schools. "To me, that's a pretty important issue," explaining that a student's well-being is negatively impacted by bullying and violence.
She is also concerned about state and federal unfunded mandates that hamper control of public schools. The state, for example, is proposing a Graduation Competency Assessment (GCA) program. But she believes local school districts are the best evaluators of whether a student is proficient enough to graduate high school. "It's something that the teaching staff is very concerned about," she pointed out.
Bookstaber, who was endorsed by the Tredyffrin Republican Committee and appears on both parties' ballots, also wants to prepare T/E's students to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy."
Primary Election Coverage at WayneSuburban.com:
Seven candidates vie for seats on Tredyffrin/Easttown School Board, WayneSuburban.com
Young perspective (Letter to the Editor- May 2007)
The word "balance" has been tossed about recently in these editorial pages, particularly as it relates to the T/E School Board. If "balance" is a concern of this community, there is no better candidate to diversify our school board than Debbie Bookstaber.
Like many young couples, she and her husband moved here specifically for T/E's exceptional combination of outstanding schools and reasonable taxes. The views, concerns, and experience of Generation X are not yet represented on our school board.
As a successful dot-com entrepreneur, Debbie Bookstaber adds a fresh perspective to the issues facing our school district. She has a firsthand perspective on the way technology and globalization are impacting the economy. When she worked at Travelocity, Debbie saw many of the programming and call-center jobs outsourced to India, so she appreciates the need for students to have the preparation and training necessary to compete in a rapidly changing job market. And she will bring valuable expertise in technology to the board.
Only 11 years out of high school herself, it's obvious from her volunteer work that Debbie feels a strong connection to the students in this district. I've heard her speak about the stress students feel due to college admissions and over-scheduling as well as the impact of bullying and relational aggression on students. The contributions and "balance" Debbie would bring to the T/E School Board will serve to make a great Board even better!
Peggy Layden, Berwyn
Light turnout leads to an uneventful primary, MainLineLife.com
"In the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District:
Karen Cruickshank and James D. Bruce will appear on the Democrat ballot for Region 1, and Art Post and Deborah Bookstaber will appear on the Democrat ballot for Region 2. James Bruce and Kevin C. Grewell will appear on the Republican ballot for Region 1 and Deborah Bookstaber and Kevin B. Mahoney will appear on the Republican ballot for Region 2. Peter Motel will run unopposed for Region 3."