21-year-old board member from Northern NY named winner of Champion for Change award

FOR RELEASE: June 17, 2016

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell

The winner of the New York State School Boards Association's 2016 Champion for Change Award is a 21-year-old school board member who spearheaded initiatives in the Belleville-Henderson school district while simultaneously earning a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University.

John “J.W.” Allen has had a perfect attendance record at board meetings, held twice monthly, despite the fact that he had to drive four hours each way from Ithaca to Belleville, which is located near Watertown.

Allen ran for the district’s school board as a senior in high school and won 71 percent of the vote.

He has served as the board’s vice president for the past three years and has served as the district’s voting delegate at NYSSBA’s annual business meeting. According to Superintendent Rick Moore, Allen has had many accomplishments during his short tenure. “John has changed the culture and climate of the board from one of confrontation to cooperation,” in relation to contracts and bargaining agreements. “He led the district in creating, monitoring and evaluating district-wide goals,” Moore said.

“The focus of the award differs from year to year,” said NYSSBA President Susan Bergtraum.  “This year, NYSSBA decided to recognize a dedicated, innovative and effective first term school board member and Allen fulfilled this criteria.”

The Champion for Change Award is presented annually to a current school board member who, in the judgment of the NYSSBA Awards Committee, should be recognized for innovative and ethical leadership that brought about ground-breaking improvements in school district programs and operations.


Photo of John Allen:





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