PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Holyoke Public Schools Thanks Long-Term School Committee Members for their Exceptional Service
HOLYOKE, MA – The Holyoke Public Schools would like to extend appreciation and gratitude to its outgoing School Committee members – Dennis Birks and John Brunelle. The two hard working members have served the City of Holyoke, representing wards three and five, respectively – making a difference for students, families, and community members.
“We would like to thank Dennis Birks and John Brunelle for their service as members on the Holyoke School Committee,” stated Holyoke Public Schools Receiver/ Superintendent Dr. Stephen Zrike, Jr. “We are grateful for their extraordinary dedication to the students, staff, and families of Holyoke. Their selfless commitment and hard work advocating for policies, reforms, and student learning are remarkable and have made the City of Holyoke a better community.”
DENNIS BIRKS has served as the Ward III School Committee representative since March of 2008, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Committee. He is currently the second longest serving member on the School Committee and he is a Massachusetts Association of School Committees All-State Committee Honoree.
Dennis has served on just about every subcommittee over the years, including Chair of Finance, Rules & Policies, and Curriculum & Instruction, Leadership, Accountability and Measurement, Educator Negotiations, Superintendent Evaluation, Communications and Policies. He has also served in multiple district advisory committees, including, most recently, the Middle School Redesign Committee, the City’s School Building Advisory Committee, the District Parent Advisory Committee, District Equity Coalition, and many more.
Additionally, Dennis has been a public school teacher in the region for 20 years.
“Dennis’s strong, steady leadership will be missed on the Committee,” stated Ms. Mildred Lefebvre, School Committee Chair. “He’s always ready to pitch in, no matter the task, to add a strong voice for children and families.”
JOHN BRUNELLE was elected to the School Committee in the fall of 2013 and began serving his term in January of 2014. He was elected to the City Council in 2000 and served 5 terms.
John is also a life-long Holyoke resident who was educated in the Holyoke Public Schools. He is a business owner and father of three Holyoke High School graduates.
John has served on the Resources and Capacity Building Subcommittee, the Joint City Council/School Committee Subcommittee, which he also chaired. He has also served on a variety of advisory committees and established Holyoke’s Athletic Hall of Fame, which inducts and celebrates former Holyoke athletes each year.
“John’s grit and determination on the tough issues has always been appreciated on the Committee,” stated Ms. Lefebvre.
Effective January 6th, the Holyoke Public Schools will be welcoming two new school committee members, Rebecca Birks and John Whelihan, who will be serving wards three and five, respectively.