At the Thursday, July 20, Board of Education meeting, Sandra Alberti was elected board president.
Moorestown’s Board of Education convened in the district’s Administration Building on Thursday, July 20 to elect its new president. After more than two hours spent in executive session, the board elected Sandra Alberti to the position.
Alberti was the sole nomination at Thursday’s meeting. The motion carried via a vote of 6–2, with Brandon Pugh and Peter Palko voting “no” and the remainder of the board voting in favor of Alberti.
The election follows board President Kathy Goldenberg’s resignation at the June 20 Board of Education meeting. Goldenberg left to serve on the State Board of Education, which does not allow for local board of education service.
When Alberti heard about Goldenberg’s departure, she said she took a few days to consider running for the position. She said being a board president is “putting yourself out there,” but she knew running felt like the right decision.
“I think we’ve had probably the strongest board we’ve had here in Moorestown for awhile, and I just felt like bringing [experience] within that system,” Alberti said.
Alberti has previously served as assistant superintendent of the Eastern Regional High School district, director of academic standards at the state Department of Education and is the director of state and district partnerships and professional development for Student Achievement Partners. She has served on the Moorestown Board of Education for one year.
Alberti said she did not walk into Thursday’s election feeling confident. She said even a half an hour before the votes were cast, she was skeptical of her standing.
Looking forward, Alberti said her goal is to focus beyond the minutia of budgetary items and focus the board members on the reason they all joined in the first place: the kids.
Prior to the board going into executive session, supporters of Pugh made their case for the 24-year-old’s election.
Judson Van Dervort opened public comments with an impassioned appeal to the board.
“I would just like to encourage the board to either take its current vice president and elect him as president of the board, or to define some very good reasons why that wouldn’t be possible to do for the public to understand,” Van Dervort said.
John Logue echoed Van Dervort’s sentiments, taking the opportunity to praise Pugh’s experience in state and county level boards.
“To me, when I first of heard about this issue evolving, I’m thinking to myself this is a no-brainer,” Logue said.
Pugh said he was happy for Alberti and praised her background in education. He said his major motivation for voting “no” was he thought one year on the board did not constitute enough seniority to run for president. Pugh has served on the board since the age of 19.
Following the election, Pugh will remain in his role in his role as vice president. He said while technically speaking the president and vice president do not have any more power than any other board member, they do serve on leadership committees and get briefed on information the remainder of the board may not.
Pugh was serving as acting board president for the last month following Goldenberg’s departure. He did not receive a nomination Thursday night.
“Obviously, you always hope for a different outcome, but that will not take away from my dedication and passion for this district,” Pugh said.
In other news:
• The board appointed Mark Villanueva to fill the vacant seat. Villanueva said he has lived in Moorestown on and off for the last 40 years. With two of his children in the Moorestown school system and two about to enter, he wanted to get involved in his children’s’ education. He said when he saw the vacancy, he thought he’d give it a shot.
• The next Board of Education meeting will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at William Allen Middle School. The board’s next reorganization meeting will take place on Jan. 2.