In the state, there are more than 600 boards of education that govern each school district. Each board is divided into categories based on the amount of training it has gone through. The categories include level one, an uncertified board of education, level two, a certified board of education and level three, a Master Certification, the highest level attainable.
On Thursday, May 16, the Delran Board of Education received the Master Certification award from the Burlington County Chapter of the New Jersey School Boards Association. The Delran board is comprised of President Glenn Kitley, Vice President Joseph Biluck Jr., and board members Mark Chierici, Dawn Flanagan, Mary Melvin, Mark Oberg, Amy Rafanello, Colin Rafferty and Eileen Wachter.
“I’ve been on this board for seven years,” said Kitley. “This collection of people is the best that I’ve been around. I am very proud of the work they do every day and the hard work they do for the district, staff and students. This certification shows their commitment to the district, and it’s not easy to do this.
“We put in two, full eight-hour days to be able to attain the certification,” Kitley continued. “That may not sound like a lot, but we have families, jobs and other commitments, so to put aside that time shows our level of commitment and respect that we have for each other and the district.”
According to Kitley, out of the 600 boards in the state, only half are certified and less than 5 percent have their Master Certification. Kitley believes the diversity of the group and the level of passion the Delran board has are the reasons it was able to achieve this honor.
“This board is second to none,” said Kitley. “It’s a great bunch of people who all come from different backgrounds. That’s really important. We have a guidance counselor, an IT guy, business owners, among other fields. This difference in backgrounds helps us look at things differently, and the differences have kind of manifested themselves into the board wanting to achieve this certification because we believe that this district deserves nothing less.
“The way it kind of happened was a perfect storm between me and the rest of the group,” Kitley continued. “As a county, we meet three to four times a year, and one time while we were there another board got their Masters. At the time, we had just gotten regular certified. I looked to the rest of the members and said, ‘that’s what we’re going to do next,’ and everyone was on board with it.”
While at the meeting, Kitley texted an association representative to figure out how Delran could achieve the Master Certification. The process would normally take about a year from that September date, but the Delran board wanted to get it done by the spring.
To achieve the Master Certification, the entire board of education must go through a minimum of 15 hours of training through seminars and professional development. The board and the state put together a comprehensive education based on training that all board members must have, as well as curriculum based on topics that the board itself wants to know more about. The Delran board elected to train on the topics of student safety. curriculum and how the board works with it, legal requirements, policy and new trends that are affecting today’s kids.
“I’m genuinely very proud of all of these terrific people,” said Kitley. “I am fortunate to be a part of this group. Most of them I didn’t know prior to being on the board, and I can say they have truly grown to be real friends. We work hard and are very serious about the district, and I hope people see that.”