Two Chester residents are the newest members of the Pinkerton Academy Board of Trustees.
Bonnie Eckerman and Edward Karjala will be formally introduced as trustees to School Board members and superintendents from the sending districts at the first group meeting of the school year between Pinkerton and its partner districts Thursday, Nov. 7, at Pinkerton Academy.
According to a press release, Eckerman is a professional in the health care industry with a specialty in management of disabilities. Currently with The Children’s Pyramid, she has a Doctorate and a Master’s in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is a Pinkerton alumna of the Class of 1993.
Working for Pinkerton in her spare time is a natural for Eckerman – she’s been involved with the school since her freshman year. She was a class officer and on Student Council. Now she serves as correspondent for her class and organizes its reunions.
“I felt this was a way I could continue to serve Pinkerton,” Eckerman said of the trustee appointment. “I thought the education I received at Pinkerton was phenomenal. I used every resource I could – it was such an opportunity. It’s so important to continue to be involved, even after graduation.”
Eckerman learned leadership skills at Pinkerton, which served her well in “college and beyond.” She did her undergraduate work at Simmons College in Boston. She has four children, 11, 9, “almost 7” and 5, and they are looking forward to their own Pinkerton years, she said.
Eckerman isn’t sure yet where her specific skills will fit in. She’s traveled extensively and is fluent in French, so she speculated that perhaps she’d be involved in Pinkerton’s international initiatives.
The press release describes Karjala as a professional with an extensive background in high technology. He is Director of Enterprise Infrastructure, Distributed Hosting with Fidelity Investments. At the Berklee School of Music, Karjala studied Arrangement and Composition. He is an alumnus of Pinkerton’s Class of 1986.
Karjala, a native of Derry, attended Pinkerton and so did most of his friends and relatives, he said in a phone interview. He’s no stranger to volunteering, helping out with field trips and such when his children were in school.
When Karjala’s youngest child graduated last year, his “immediate personal attachment” to the school was gone. When asked to be a trustee, he said, it gave him a different way to help. “I like to be involved in the community,” Karjala said, “and I appreciate the educational opportunities a unique institution like Pinkerton provides.” Hallmarks of that uniqueness include a sense of tradition and legacy, he said, along with a “vast array of educational options.
“Having come from there, it’s appealing to me to be able to spend a small amount of time to help perpetuate that legacy,” he said. He thinks he may use his skills in helping further Pinkerton’s technology programs.
But whatever he does, Karjala said, “it’s a chance to be involved in something that’s already great.”
Board president Harry Burnham said of the appointments, “The appointment of Bonnie and Ed strengthens the perspective of Chester on the Board of Trustees. They also reinforce the Academy’s orientation to students and technology. We look forward to their contributions as new board members.”