Board of Trustees

Trustees are accepting applications for new members. If interested, contact trustee Kerry Barnett at the school.

harter schools in New Jersey germinate within the hearts and minds of Founders. These are ordinary people—parents, teachers, concerned individuals—who come together to vision an alternative and innovative form of public education.

Founders spend countless hours visioning, researching, strategizing, fundraising and organizing to complete the application to establish a charter school in New Jersey. These documents can be 200 pages. These ordinary people, with families, jobs and busy schedules, pull together to develop the school’s site, curriculum, staff and budget.

Once the charter application is approved, the work begins in earnest. Founders set up the school’s governing body, the Trustees, and in a few short months, they create a new public school.

Meet the Trustees of the Ridge and Valley Charter School

Kerry Barnett, Hardwick, NJ
Kerry Barnett is a resident of Hardwick and a founder and trustee of Ridge and Valley Charter School. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Centenary College, Hackettstown, and conducted her doctoral research on RVCS. Kerry has administered educational programs, taught, and tutored in England and Japan as well as in the United States. Her two children are RVCS graduates.

Julie Budzinski-Flores, Hope, NJ
Julie joined the Board of Trustees in 2019. She is an experienced public school educator, Sagefire Institute-trained nature-based coach focusing on ceremonies and rites of passage, as well as a literacy and mindfulness consultant through her firm, Hope Literacy Consultants, LLC. Julie studied at the College of New Jersey, where she received a BS in Psychology and a minor in Gender Studies, with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and at FDU for her post graduate teaching certification. Julie lives in Hope with her husband Rafael and their two children, who attend RVCS.

Cindy Calzaretta Calvano, Blairstown, NJ
Cindy Calzaretta Calvano joined the Board of Trustees in 2019. She is a Certified Professional Doula Trainer, Evidence-Based Birth Instructor, Certified Childbirth Educator, and the founder of Tree of Life Wellness Services, LLC. She volunteers as a La Leche League Leader, and is the Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Department Coordinator for LLL of the Garden State. Cindy holds a BS in Performing Arts, an MSEd in Elementary Education and is a NYS licensed K-12 teacher. In addition, she taught outdoor Tinkergarten Classes to children ranging from 6 months to 8 years old. She has four children who attend RVCS.

Jennifer Gurdak, White Township, NJ
Jenn joined the Board of Trustees in 2017.  She has three daughters who attend Ridge and Valley.  She has worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection since 2000 and served on Environmental Commissions in both White Township and Woodbridge, where she and her husband grew up.  She has a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a Master’s in Environmental Science.  She has been working on various grant and environmental designation applications for the school and serves on the Personnel Committee.

David McNulty, Hardwick, NJ
David McNulty is a partner in an e-learning, multimedia and web-production business. He directs a staff that includes 15 full-time employees and freelance staff. He holds a BA English degree with honors from the University of Chicago. He has also taught video and photography to at-risk youth in various settings, including a residential drug rehab facility in Newark, a high school for troubled youth in Newark and the Goshen juvenile detention facility in New York state. He and his wife have had two children graduate from Ridge and Valley Charter School.

Jessi Sohl, Hackettstown, NJ
Jessi Sohl joined the Trustees in the 2013-2014 school year. She is a resident of Independence Township and originally from Central PA. She has an MBA in Business Management and a BA in Business Communications and Marketing. Jessi is owner of Heart & Sohl Photography and previously worked in Ad Sales Research for various national television channels. She has served as a member of the Hackettstown Business Improvement District Board of Directors and volunteered with other local groups. Jessi and her husband Sean have two boys at RVCS.