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Empowering Elected School District Officials

Reclaim Control Over Budgets and Curriculum! 

Elected school district officials now have a resource devoted entirely to educating and empowering them to assert their lawful authority and be responsive to their electorate.

The School District Governance Association of New Hampshire (SDGA NH) has been created to establish a forum for past and present school district elected officials and others with elected fiduciary responsibility over a school district budget.

About US

Our Goals

  • to educate elected school district officials as to their proper role and responsibilities
  • to promulgate best practices in good governance and prudent budgeting
  • to formulate model school district policies so elected officials will have an independent, alternative resource
  • to propose and monitor legislation that enhances local control in education and openness in administration


Board Members


Jody Underwood, Ph.D.

Jody has served on the Croydon School Board since 2010 in various roles including Chair (2012-2016) Secretary (2011-12, 2016-17), and Vice Chair (2017-19), and is also School Choice Liaison. She shepherded a bill that clarifies the law to allow private schools to be included in town tuitioning agreements. She completed the withdrawal from an AREA agreement and put into place tuition agreements with the schools to whom Croydon tuitions their students after they leave the K-4 Croydon Village School. Dr. Underwood also oversaw the separation of Croydon from SAU43 (with Newport) and started their own, very small, SAU99.

Jody is also an Education Fellow at Granite Institute (http://graniteinstitute.org), where she has written research papers about how New Hampshire uses tax dollars for private schools and on how town tuitioning works in New Hampshire and New England. She has delivered presentations about town tuitioning and school choice around the state.

Professionally, Dr. Underwood has conducted research and development around the use of technology for learning and assessment in the classroom since 1988. She received her B.S. in computer science from Hofstra University, her M.S. in computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence from Rutgers University, and her Ph.D. in Education from The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

She and her husband moved to New Hampshire in 2007, where they live on a large off-the-grid property with their two dogs.

Vice President

James Johnson

I was employed for 35 years with the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare. My responsibilities included reviewing case records for errors, and interviewing clients who receive public assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid. I contacted third parties such as Social Security, Department of Revenue’s Child Support Unit and law enforcement to investigate and compile records on absent parents’ whereabouts so support could be collected for their children. I also conducted an audit of Medicaid vendors which resulted in thousands of dollars being recouped and jail sentences for guilty parties.

My one year of service on Brentwood’s Budget committee confirmed that board members are provided very little information to actuate an honest assessment of school budget actual needs.

I was educated at Stoneham High School and at Boston State. My lovely wife, Joann, and I moved to New Hampshire in 1993. We have two adult children. Meghan is married and living in Virginia Beach. Jackie Rose attends the University of New Hampshire.

Financial Officer

Timothy Jandebeur

Timothy Jandebeur had a long career in retail management and ownership before retiring.  He has been a member of the Northwood School Board and joint board of SAU44 for the last five years.  His experience in elective office in Northwood is extensive and includes service as a selectman, a budget committee member and on the planning board.  He was instrumental in making recommendations for the Town Administration Study Committee which looked at Northwood’s town government and facilities.  He sits on the committee for the town’s Bean Hole Bash, a popular annual celebration in which he enjoys taking an active role, most recently as an auctioneer.  Mr. Jandebeur’s degree in Forestry from the University of Montana has served him well in managing the large acreage he shares with his wife. They have three grown adopted children.


Diane Lachance

Diane Lachance has been a resident of New Hampshire since the early 1960’s, attended NH public schools and is a graduate of Pinkerton Academy and NHTI. She retired an 18 year career with E.I DuPont as a Senior Facilities Planner in order to raise her son. After three years in the public school, the family decided to homeschool. Diane has since been active in following education legislation and speaking to protect the rights of parents to choose their child’s education path. Along with her role as a homeschool parent, she has been a scout leader, Sunday school teacher, art teacher, church building committee member, volunteer to special needs church group, and newsletter editor/publicist for a variety of non-profits. Until 2007, Diane was active in the Hopkinton Contoocook Taxpayer’s Association seeking greater transparency and voter education around paper balloting, right-to-know, petitioning warrant articles, and making audio recordings of town and school meetings available online.

Seeing a recent rise in interest around greater transparency in public education, Diane has renewed her efforts to encourage parents and elected school board/budget officials to fully take the reins in their respective roles. It is apparent that all entities have been woefully under-informed, as well as discouraged, in seeking the knowledge needed to fully participate in important discussions and decisions around education and the funding of education.


What Our Members Say

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Jane Doe

Local School Board

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Arnold Smith

Finance Chair

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