Kristina Bertzos -- Andrew Souchet -- Rosemary Buetikofer -- Scott Swindells -- Elise Bowers
Dr. Bertzos grew up in Delaware County and, as the daughter of two educators, she learned the importance of a quality education at a young age.
She attended Saint Joseph’s University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her passion for ensuring the health and well-being of children led her to obtain her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Temple University where she specialized in studying youth anxiety disorders. She has authored peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and an evidence-based therapy manual for youth anxiety (the Coping Cat), which has been implemented globally.
She understands first-hand the mental health challenges our children face and how the school environment can impact, positively or negatively, a child’s development. Dr. Bertzos currently holds a position at Johnson & Johnson with the responsibility of ensuring the patient’s voice is heard and considered when developing new treatments for life-threatening diseases. This experience is directly applicable to public service and ensuring our stakeholder (student, teacher, parents, community) voices are heard.
Dr. Bertzos has resided in Souderton Area School District since 2015. She has been married for 16 years and has two children currently attending SASD schools. She has enjoyed being an active volunteer at school events and for local sports organizations. In her spare time, she supports her sister’s charity, Happy Soles, dedicated to preserving the fertility of those living with cancer, and enjoys gardening and watching her teens play sports.
Elise Bowers has a very firm core belief: We are all connected. And she also has a favorite quote that she refers to often; “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings….” (Hodding Carter). She uses these beliefs as her guiding compass and will continue to honor those beliefs if elected to the school board of Souderton Area School District.
Elise was raised in southeastern Ohio. After graduating from Kenyon College and attending medical technology training at Case Western University, she moved to the Philadelphia suburbs, living for a year in Bryn Mawr, four years in Norristown and finally settling in Harleysville where she has lived for over 30 years.
She started her career in medical diagnostics, but she moved into a successful financial planning business, in which she excelled for fifteen years. She retired from that career to raise her three children, all educated in the Souderton Area School District and all successfully fledged, living exciting lives and building their own exciting futures.
Elise cares very deeply for the community in which she has raised her family, and she has always been passionate about fairness, equality and social justice issues. Around 2007, she began to become more active in local politics, working first as Treasurer for (now Pennsylvania’s state house majority leader) Representative Matt Bradford. She ran for Lower Salford Township Supervisor in 2008, losing by a small margin. She stepped away from local politics for a time, again, to raise her children. Now that she is an empty nester and time is her own, she can focus anew on her passions in her beloved home community. In her spare time, she enjoys birdwatching, quilting and volunteering for professional golf tournaments when they are held in the local area.
Rosemary Buetikofer knows the value of public education. As a teacher herself and as a mom of two Souderton grads, she is dedicated to making sure every SASD student gets the best possible education to succeed. A longtime Souderton area resident, Rosemary taught Concert Band and Music Appreciation in three school districts for over 34 years. She spent most of her career in the Upper Dublin School District where she taught at Sandy Run Middle School for 29 years. She was very active in district committees, was a Curriculum chair, and served as a teacher-mentor.
After graduating from high school in Mechanicsburg, PA, Rosemary attended Penn State University Main Campus and earned a BS in Music Education. An All-State musician in High School, Rosemary played Clarinet and participated in numerous music ensembles, including the famous Penn State Blue Band. She marched in the halftime show when PSU won their first National Championship in the 1982 Sugar Bowl. She also earned a Master’s in Music from West Chester University. Rosemary was also a contestant on Jeopardy! in 1994. Though she did not win, she came in 2nd place and answered the Final Jeopardy question correctly!
Rosemary and her husband Cliff will be celebrating 34 years of marriage this year. They have two grown children who live and work in Montgomery County. Her hobbies include traveling to MLB Ballparks (only 5 left to visit!), playing musical instruments, cats, volunteering, and reading. She is in a book group that started over 20 years ago with Lower Salford Elementary moms in her neighborhood.
Andrew Souchet and his family relocated to Souderton because of the quality of the school district. He is a former resident of Souderton Borough and currently lives in Franconia. Andrew has many reasons for running for school board, one of which is to help improve student academic performance by understanding root causes and trends. He looks forward to being a part of visioning for the future and improving crisis/contingency planning.
He is married and the proud father of an adult child, a teenager and two pre-teens. His children attended/are attending district elementary, middle and high schools. Andrew is a U.S. military war veteran and is currently employed as a Process Improvement manager at a medical device company.
Andrew is a political independent. He holds a Ph.D. and regularly attends school district meetings and engages with his local and state representatives on legislative issues such as veterans’ affairs and school funding.
Andy’s community service activities focus on youth baseball, softball, scouts organizations and veterans’ organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
His hobbies include reading and chauffeuring his children to their extracurricular activities.
Scott Swindells is a parent of two SASD students, a longtime resident of Lower Salford, and a high school English teacher in his twenty-first year at neighboring North Penn School District.
During his campaign for school board in 2021, Scott had doorstep conversations with thousands of Souderton Area residents, helping to shape his vision for continuing to improve our district through communication, transparency, and ensuring a voice for all stakeholders. Scott has continued learning by attending meetings of the Montgomery County Movement for Black and Brown Lives, Coalition 4 Justice, and Montgomery County Democratic Black Caucus. He is currently part of a VNA Inclusion grant working with families of students at North Penn, Wissahickon, and Souderton. He joined Souderton Area for All in the summer of 2021 and now serves as a board member for SAFA, which is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan power-building coalition of residents working toward a more just, equitable, and compassionate community. It is not his only leadership role in our area.
Scott is a board member at Christ Lutheran Church where he serves on the cemetery committee and helps run audio at services on Sunday. He is a building representative for North Penn Education Association, serving on the technology committee. He is a democratic committee person for Lower Salford 5, volunteering at the polls on Election Day and working throughout the year to increase voter awareness and turnout. He has spent many years coaching youth sports in the Harleysville community, including baseball and soccer. Scott enjoys announcing for Harleysville and Souderton swimming events, and he puts his music background to use as a volunteer DJ for local sports and community events, as well as school district events.
In addition to music, Scott enjoys running, biking, swimming, and training for sprint triathlons. Above all else, he values time spent with his family, who enjoy hiking, skiing, doing escape rooms, and playing with their dog, Pickles. Scott is a deeply involved member of our community who has the experience and dedication to make him a strong asset to our school board.