At its first gathering of calendar year 2021, three members of Haddonfield’s board of education took the oath of office to formally commence their tenures with the nine-member body following the November election.
Heather Paoli, Lynn Hoag and Thomas Vecchio all were sworn in by Board Secretary Michael Catalano during the board’s annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 7, officially beginning their three-year terms.
Hoag currently serves as chair of the policy committee, of which Paoli is a member. Vecchio is head of the negotiations committee as well as a member of the finance and facilities committees.
Thanks to unanimous votes, the power structure at the head of the board remained intact from 2020 into 2021, as Adam Sangillo and David Siedell were approved for board president and vice president, respectively. No other board members were nominated for either position.
On a more serious note, Superintendent Chuck Klaus revealed his state of mind following the breach of the United States Capitol by hundreds of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump the day before the meeting..
“I haven’t seen anything like it. We feel it. The teachers are feeling it and we know our children are feeling it,” he began. “The question is, ‘What do we do?’ Our ultimate charge is to try to help these kids. We have to navigate through something nobody knows how to navigate.”
Klaus also expressed frustration that district teachers, whom students look to in times of stress, will have no answers to allay their fears.
In all my years of teaching, I can think of three or four times, maybe, when I didn’t know what to say,” he continued.
While acknowledging the day was a sad one, where processing of emotions was necessary, Klaus expressed hope that the following days would bring more discussions between parents and children, and teachers and children, toward more solutions.
“We’ll work through this,” he reasoned. “We will need some time to process. We have great teachers who are thoughtful and kind. We’ll have these conversations we need to have, and we’ll move forward.”
In other news:
- Having formally adopted the 2021 meeting schedule, the board will gather two more times this month: a work session on Jan. 21 and its regularly scheduled monthly public meeting on Jan. 28.
- The board approved several appointments, among them Catalano as the district’s public agency compliance officer, designated HIPAA officer, school wellness district coordinator and custodian of records. Assistant Superintendent Gino Priolo was approved to also serve as district liaison for homeless children and youths and school district policy coordinator. She will share the position of affirmative action officer with Haddonfield Middle School Principal Tracy Matozzo.