Georgine Hyde (1927-2015)
Georgine Hyde was first elected to the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District in 1969. She was reelected to ten consecutive three-year terms. In 1993 she was elected president of the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA). A survivor of the Holocaust, Hyde devoted her life to education and ethical values. “Education without values does no one any good,” she said. She was instrumental in establishing standards for basic ethical values to be stressed in public education in East Ramapo and throughout the state. As a result of her efforts in this area, Hyde was part of a select group chosen to participate in the Second White House Conference of Character Building for a Democratic Civil Society.
Hyde was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and spent 1943-1945 in Nazi concentration camps. Her parents were victims of the infamous gas chambers at Auschwitz. “We prayed for the free world to destroy Auschwitz and end the suffering. All we worried about was whether the outside world would know we died there,” she said. “It’s the obligation of the survivors not to dwell on the past but to keep the historical significance of the Holocaust alive and make a positive contribution to the future.” Hyde does that by speaking to students and giving public lectures about the Holocaust throughout the Hudson Valley. She was a co-founder of the Rockland Center for Holocaust Studies; she also served as co-chair of the Rockland County Commission on the Holocaust and a member of the New York State Holocaust Memorial Commission.
Hyde was an active school board member, speaking out as an advocate of the students. “We need to work together to protect our investment: the children of New York State. One of our most vital resources are the parents of our students,” she said. “I strongly believe that parents must be active partners in their schools and supporters and cheerleaders for their children. And they must be role models. We are in this education world together. If we really care deeply about children and education, we must make it a priority.”