August 31, 2015 Georgine Hyde was a remarkable woman. She was totally dedicated to the welfare and education of children. What may not be appreciated is how tough she was. Georgine would not give up, and as it became increasingly difficult to pass school budgets, she spent days on the phone rallying the troops and calling people to remind them to vote.
The earlier years of her time on the board were a time of enormous growth in Ramapo. New schools were being built almost every year, and a full-time demographer was employed to predict where and when new schools should be built. Perhaps less well known was her commitment to social and racial integration. She supported a policy that was successful for many years. Her school board believed that effective education and protection from white flight required racial balance, and her board was committed to redistricting at least as often as every five years, if required.
One of her favorite expressions was, “I think with my heart.” And she was indeed the heart of the school board. After my father, Irwin Rhodes, retired as president of the board she tried to recruit me, but I was not as tough she was and declined. Little did I know how truly difficult it would become to act with integrity as the board declined.
After Georgine was defeated in an election, a special meeting was held in the East Ramapo Board Room to honor her service, and to name the room after her. Each member of the board who had served with Georgine was invited to say a few words in her honor. And all did, except the Hasidic members of the board who apparently had nothing to say.
Robert I. Rhodes
Chairman, Preserve Ramapo