Sylvia Petillo was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders on November 8, 2016. On January 3, 2017, Freeholder Petillo was sworn in as a member of the Freeholder Board.
Sylvia started her municipal service in 2004 by being elected to the Hopatcong Borough Council. She was elected as the first female Mayor of the Borough of Hopatcong in 2007. Sylvia served nine years as Mayor and in 2014, she was chosen as the "Mayor of The Year" by the Sussex County Economic Development Partnership. She is a member of the Leadership Council for Project Self -Sufficiency. Additionally, she has served as an active member for over 18 years with the Coalition for Healthy & Safe Families, a nationally recognized drug prevention coalition working to develop policies and practices that encourage safer and drug-free communities. Sylvia continues to collaborate with the Center for Prevention and Counseling to combat the opioid epidemic through promoting awareness of evidence-based prevention education, early intervention, treatment and recovery support services. Her dedicated and passionate spirit serves to decrease the stigma surrounding substance use disorder while offering hope to individuals and families. She utilizes her many community connections and collaborations to assist the organizations she serves to make a difference.
She is also Vice-President of Petillo Enterprises, a site-development company that she owns with her husband in Morris County, New Jersey.
Sylvia received her B.A. in Music Education from William Paterson University, New Jersey, and her M.S. in Education from Marywood University, Pennsylvania. She taught music and elementary education for over fifteen years in Newark, Garfield and Andover Township Public Schools and Northwest Christian School in Newton.
Sylvia's interest in serving her community started many years ago. She became an advocate for at -risk children and helped organize the "Helping Hands Program" in the early 1980's. During that time she also worked on recovery efforts for youngsters who had been abducted. She was asked to write and record songs that would tell the story of children that were missing. Sylvia volunteered her services to the Interstate Association of Stolen Children. She wrote and recorded a song for them entitled, "Where Can She Be." That song has been used to raise awareness about missing children throughout the United States.
During Operation Desert Storm, in 1991, she was inspired to compose a song entitled "Where Is That Love." The song was dedicated to the fallen soldiers and their families. Upon hearing her song, General Norman Schwarzkopf, head of the United States Command and Coalition Forces in the Persian Gulf, acknowledged and wrote, "I have received many original songs since the beginning of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, but yours touched my heart. Thank you for demonstrating your support for our troops. They deserve the thanks of a grateful nation. God Bless You!"
Through the help of General Schwarzkopf's office her song was distributed by the military to all the families of the fallen soldiers and our POW's. On the 20th Anniversary of Desert Storm, Sylvia was invited to take part in a Military Anniversary Ceremony in memory of those who fell and those who survived.
Sylvia was elected to the Hopatcong Board of Education in 1995, and served for nine years. She was the President for four years of her tenure. While on the Board, she was the recipient of the 2002 "Volunteer of the Year Award" for Sussex County for her work on behalf of the Hopatcong Municipal Drug and Alcohol Alliance. Sylvia also served for fifteen years as a mediator for Hopatcong's criminal court and the Board of Directors for American Christian School in Succasunna, New Jersey.
Sylvia and her husband "Ron" have been married for 42 years. They are the proud parents of two married sons and blessed with three grandchildren.
FREEHOLDER LIAISON APPOINTMENTS
Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Health, Board of Elections, Economic Development Partnership, Capital Projects, Child Advocacy Center, Sussex County Technical School, Technical School Board of School Estimate, Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council.