By JULIA BONAVITACOLA
For Union County HAWK
GARWOOD – The Board of Education met for the first time this calendar year in order to swear in the newly elected board members. The meeting also saw the board elect a new president.
Four members of the Board of Education were elected in uncontested races this past November. Salvatore Piarulli, April Farrell and Jennifer Uva are new members to the board. Tracey Roland was elected after being appointed by the board in January 2021 to fill a vacancy. The meeting started with all four being individually sworn in before taking their place at the board table. The three new members of the board fill the vacancies left by Ralph Trentacosta, Maureen Scepkowsi and Denise Ridente.
All new members and current members were given a read through of the code of ethics for school board members. These included the reading of the chain of command and learning different functions of the Board of Education as well as making sure not to make personal promises that would compromise the board.
With the departure of former Board President Trentacosta, the board voted for a new president and vice president for the upcoming calendar year. Ms. Roland and Christine Guerriero were both nominated for the role.
“What I have to offer…I do believe I bring a positive energy that our team needs,” said Ms. Roland. “This is a team…we’re here for the kids, the school, for the community.”
Ms. Roland said that, if she was elected president of the board, she would make communication a top priority. “If you ignore issues, they become problems. We have to address questions proactively. For me, feedback is welcome, positive or constructive,” said Ms. Roland. “We need to challenge each other…We are not here to rule the school, we are here to make sure the school runs properly.”
Ms. Guerriero highlighted her experience on the board as an asset for the role of president. “I was on the board from ’90 to ’93 and again in 2005 and I’ve been on the board since then. I have a lot of experience, I have a lot of knowledge,” she said. “My goal has always been to work with the board members to give them information, to help them be the best board members that they can be.”
Ms. Guerriero said that she had experience in attending seminars and meetings that would make her a better board member. She said, ultimately, that everyone was here to take care of the kids in the school district.
After a 6-3 vote, Ms. Roland was elected the new president of the board. Voting in favor of Ms. Roland were Adrienne Barnes, Ms. Roland, April Farrell, Ms. Uva, and Mr. Piarulli. Voting for Ms. Guerriero were Ms. Guerrioro, Timothy Ryan and Vincent Vasciano. After Ms. Roland’s election, she took the president’s chair and conducted the rest of the meeting.
The role of vice president was also elected during the meeting. Board Member Ryan was the sole member nominated for the role. He was approved by a 6-3 vote. The vice president acts in the president’s stead if the president is not in attendance.
The board selected representatives for each committee. Mr. Piarulli was named the liaison to the Clark Board of Education. Ms. Uva will be the Garwood PTA liaison. Albert DelConte will continue his role as the Garwood Council representative. Ms. Barnes will be the Union County School Boards Association liaison. Mr. Ryan will continue to be the Union County Vo Tech liaison and will also be the representative for the Union County Ed. Services. Ms. Guerriero will be the liaison for the New Jersey School Board Association.
Committee appointments will be made at the next meeting after the board members submit their first and second choices for appointment to Board President Roland.
The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 18 at Lincoln School.
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