Lenape Regional High School District Business Administrator wins distiguished service award
“Distinguished” is a word that describes Lenape Regional High School District business administrator/board secretary James “Jim” Hager, said LRHSD Superintendent Carol L. Birnbohm. Hager is distinguished, Birnbohm added, and he is very well respected and important to the success of the LRHSD district.
For his long-term, continuous and exemplary service, the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials recently honored Hager with a 2016 Distinguished Service Award.
“It’s nice to know that your efforts are appreciated,” Hager said about receiving the award.
“We are extremely proud of Jim’s award and grateful we get to share with our entire community just how valuable Jim is to the Lenape Regional High School District,” Birnbohm said.
The Distinguished Service Award is given to two business administrators in each section of the state — north, central and south — said John Donahue, executive director of NJASBO.
According to Donahue, more than 15 recommendations were made from various counties in the state. An executive committee reviews the recommendations and narrows it down to the six professionals who are recognized.
It was a hard decision, Donahue said, but Hager was able to stand out due to his years served and the number of times people have spoken highly about Hager over the years.
“The greatest thing was how highly recommended and well respected he was within Burlington County and as a school business official. Every county has its own county group, and he has always been a mentor to everyone there. I think that is why he floated to the top,” Donahue said. “He is just a great guy and couldn’t be happier he was recommended and accepted for this award this year.”
Hager has served as business administrator/board secretary for LRHSD since 2003. The Board of Education members at LRHSD nominated him for this award.
“It’s an honor for us as school board members to work with Jim, who does such a fine job for the district, year after year. The fact that now his colleagues statewide have honored him with this award speaks volumes not only about his qualifications and experience, but his impeccable character as well,” LRHSD BOE President Linda Eckenhoff said.
“He [Hager] is never reactionary, but thinks issues through when pressed or asked a question. He is so well versed in education/ school/district finance, not just evaluating the day-to-day finances of the district, but the future financial needs and growth of the district,” fellow board member Margaret “Cookie” Estlow said. “Jim also is very approachable and is an excellent communicator when explaining district business.”
Hager earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology from Gettysburg College, and a master’s degree in special education from Temple University. He also received the state’s Principal and Supervisor of Education Certificates.
Previously, he served as the business administrator/board secretary for Pemberton Township Schools from 2001 to 2003 and Bridgeton Public Schools from 1999 to 2001. From 1986 to 1999, Hager worked at the state Department of Education, moving from assistant manager of the Bureau of Program Approval in the Division of Special Education when he was first hired, to the Division of Field Services’ County School business administrator for Burlington and Gloucester offices when he left. Hager is also a trustee and finance committee member of the Burlington County Joint Insurance Fund.
“Jim is a valuable asset to LRHSD, and as a trustee and finance committee member of the Burlington County Joint Insurance Fund, he works to keep students and staff safe throughout the county, making him an asset to the entire county as well,” Birnbohm said.
Hager was honored to receive the award and also be recognized as an asset to the county. All of the business administrators in the county work together by sharing ideas and solutions to common problems, Hager mentioned humbly. He said his favorite part of being a business administrator is working with the district’s administrative team and the Board of Education.