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School Board Appoints Specht to Fill Vacant Seat

The Board of Education appointed a new member — Richard Specht of Belle Mead — to fill the seat vacated when Joanne Tonkin resigned in August.


Richard Specht

Specht is familiar with the Montgomery School District, having served on the Montgomery Township Board of Education from 2000 to 2006, including a year as board president.


Seven candidates were interviewed at the virtual Sept 29 board meeting for the one-year appointment, which will expire in December 2021. After a closed session to vote, board members returned to the online meeting and announced the winner.


Specht described himself as “a 30-year resident of Montgomery.” After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, “I moved here to work for Applied Data Research, the big white building at the corner of Orchard Road and Route 206. We did software products. That’s been my background throughout my career.”


He currently works as a principal development engineer for Access Information Management based in Fairfield, according to LinkedIn.


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“My association with the schools is: My wife and I have two daughters who went through the schools. I was involved in the schools in a number of ways,” he said at the September meeting.


Specht was “organizer” of Montgomery CARE, a grassroots community advocacy organization that oversaw successful adoption of $70 million bond referendum to build new high school.


“So I’ve got some real experience and know what it takes to be a board member,” he said.


Joanne Tonkin, who had a 29-year career as an administrator for the Montgomery School District, resigned on August 10 after serving seven months as president of the Board of Education.


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