Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Notable Classmates

Carole Applegate Hedinger

Carole Hedinger, of the class of 1961, has distinguished herself as a pioneer in breaking the barriers for women in a male-dominated profession and as an advocate for equal treatment of women. This commitment and her gratitude to this town and school system have led her to make significant contributions to both education and to her community.

In eighth grade Carole Applegate met the woman who became her role model. Margaret Gaffield, her English teacher, instilled a sense of responsibility in her students and taught them that they could do whatever they wanted in life but that there would always be consequences and that they should make their choices knowing what the price would be. Carole perceived Ms. Gaffield to be a complete person, an independent, single woman who had a full and interesting life, and she wanted to grow up to be just like her. Whenever she has made choices, Carole says she has thought of Ms. Gaffield.

Although Ms. Gaffield had encouraged her to attend college and she had taken college preparatory as well as business courses, Carole found upon graduation that college was not financially feasible for her family, and therefore she became a secretary for an accounting firm, eventually working her way up to accountant. After marrying Leonard Hedinger and having two daughters, Cathie and Susan, Carole continued to work part-time and began to take courses at the new Ocean County College.

While working as an accountant, Carole first encountered the barrier against women. Because she was a woman, she received fewer opportunities for advancement and lagged behind men in pay. Realizing that completing her education was the key to rectifying this injustice, Carole matriculated and graduated from Ocean County and Georgian Court Colleges and became the first woman in Ocean County to become a Certified Public Accountant. She had broken the barrier in this male-dominated profession, which has recently recognized her achievements and honored her by naming her a Trustee of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Employed by the new accounting firm of Cowan and Gunteski, Carole developed and became the manager of the firm's litigation services department. In this capacity, Carole became the first and remains one of the few women in Ocean County recognized by the Superior Court as an expert in business and financial appraisals related to domestic dissolution. Carole had broken another barrier, for at that time the process of divorce in Ocean County was dominated by men. Males were the lawyers, the judges, the accountants, and, very often, the experts who determined business value and support issues for the divorcing parties. With Carole's presence, there was a female viewpoint to offer insight into sometimes overlooked issues and to provide women with an opportunity to interact with a female.

Carole is currently the Deputy Executive Director of the New Jersey State Lottery, a position in which she relies heavily on her accounting experience. Carole assists in the day-to-day operation of the lottery and directs all activities pertaining to the administration and financial management of the Lottery.

Her public service has been inspired by Carole's feeling that she has been lucky and that she has a responsibility to help others and to give back to the community. Because education has played such an important role in her own life, Carole has worked for the past ten years to promote education as a member and current chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Stockton State College. She has been an adjunct professor of accounting at Georgian Court College and a speaker at the Joint Meeting of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education of the New Jersey Bar Association and New Jersey Society of C.P.A.'s. Believing in education to give women choices, Carole is a Board member and treasurer for Family Planning of Ocean County.

Motivated by her need to help others, Carole has been a member of the Ocean County Mental Health Clinic. As chairperson of the Civilian Advisory Board of Health South, a rehabilitation facility, Carole has worked to insure that business has a presence and contributes to the community.

Carole Hedinger, who as a young girl, found a role model in a Toms River teacher, has become one herself. Her achievements demonstrate that, with determination and focus, an individual can overcome obstacles and correct injustices. For her personal achievements and for the services she has rendered to women in her profession and to the people of her community, we induct her into the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame.

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