It takes a special brand of dedication to attend a Bourne School Committee meeting from Russia, but that is exactly what departing board member Christopher Hyldburg has brought to the table for the past nine years.
Even though it is past midnight in Moscow when the meetings start locally, if his career as a pilot had him halfway across the world, he would still find a way to be present. Before remote meetings were common, Mr. Hyldburg would Zoom in and be present on an iPad screen in the Bourne High School library.
“I don’t think anyone else in the country has done that,” fellow board member Steven P. Strojny said.
Mr. Hyldburg’s dedication has extended well beyond having great attendance.
Chairwoman Emily Berry said he has worked on every possible subcommittee over the years: policy, budget, curriculum and the committee formed to prepare for the opening of the Bourne Intermediate School, to name a few.
His involvement in every aspect of the board has made him the person other members go to if they need a question answered.
“He’s just knowledgeable about every single thing when it comes to the schools,” Ms. Berry said.
The school committee is far from the only ball Mr. Hyldburg has had in the air. Mr. Strojny has asked him on a number of occasions why he invests so much time into the board, especially when he has other responsibilities such as family commitments and running his own business.
Mr. Strojny said Mr. Hyldburg’s response is always, “Because I’m part of the community and I should do something for the community.”
“He’s really an amazing guy in so many different ways,” Mr. Strojny said. “I’m a better person, honest to God, for knowing him.”
Ms. Berry said the only reason she felt comfortable taking on the position of chairwoman was because of Mr. Hyldburg’s support.
“He was such an amazing mentor,” she said. “He walked me through everything.”
She said that even though he decided not to run for reelection this year, he has offered to continue to help out however he can.
He has told her that it felt like a good time to step away from the board. The community is working well together and the district has come a long way, she said.
Ms. Berry said Mr. Hyldburg paved the way for the school committee, district and community to be in the place they are in now.
In addition to helping to open the intermediate school, Mr. Hyldburg was involved in the hiring of Superintendent Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou last spring. She said that in the year she has worked with Mr. Hyldburg, she has seen his devotion to students firsthand.
“Although I have only known Chris for a short time, it is clear to me that he always had the best interests of the district and our students at heart,” she said. “During an incredibly difficult year in education, Chris has supported the district as both a leader and a listener. His presence on the school committee will be missed.”
Former superintendent Steven Lamarche said that while anyone serving on the school board for as long as Mr. Hyldburg has can look back and feel a sense of accomplishment, Mr. Hyldburg is leaving knowing for a fact that he has made a difference. He said that Mr. Hyldburg should be proud of the accomplishments made during his tenure.
“Early in his tenure, and long after his children graduated from the Bourne Public Schools, Chris committed to countless hours of work cultivating the best that is Bourne,” Mr. Lamarche said. “What was remarkable through all of these endeavors was his steadfast steadiness, reasonableness and genuine commitment to the community of Bourne.”
As an administrator who also had Mr. Hyldburg’s children as students when they were at Bourne High School, Business Director Jordan Geist said Mr. Hyldburg and his wife raised their children with the same principles that he himself has brought to the board over the years.
“They were incredibly respectful, responsible and hard-working students,” Mr. Geist said. “Mr. Hyldburg served the school committee for years with these same guiding principals to the benefit of the staff, students and families of Bourne Public Schools.”
With the June board meeting being his last as a member, Mr. Hyldburg will be missed for his knowledge, his ability to diffuse any tense situation and his dedication to the students of Bourne, school officials said.
“He doesn’t realize how much he means to the Bourne Public Schools and to the school committee,” Ms. Berry said.
Mr. Strojny said it may sound like hyperbole, but Mr. Hyldburg truly is a gentleman and a scholar.
“Chris’s departure from the school committee will certainly leave a void that no one person could ever completely fill,” Mr. Strojny said. “Chris is an amazing school committee member, father, husband and friend to all. He will be incredibly missed.”