The 49th annual Citizen of the Year ceremony, hosted by the Haddonfield Lions Club on Jan. 26, was the first of its kind to be solely broadcast online. And the distinction of being the first winner to be honored in the virtual realm was granted to Joe Serico.
Serico spent two decades as an educator and administrator with the Haddonfield School District, including stints as principal of Haddonfield Memorial High School and assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum. Having previously spent time as a trustee of the Haddonfield Educational Trust, Serico now acts as President of the Haddonfield Alumni Society.
Mayor Neal Rochford, in particular, hailed one of Serico’s ideas, the creation of a virtual beer tasting event for younger HMHS alumni.
“We are fortunate that Joe continues to serve Haddonfield in many different capacities after his retirement from the district. We are grateful for the chance to experience, first-hand, his leadership, vision and generosity,” said Rochford.
Serico obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from City College of New York, and received his doctorate from Temple University. Upon departing the borough in 2005, he joined the Rutgers University Camden Department of Public Policy and Administration, where he continues to provide instruction in the Masters of Public Administration program.
“I’m so honored to be among an incredible group of people who have already won this award,” Serico stated. “I couldn’t get greater pleasure from the good groups of people that have surrounded me. When you get older, you want to have some purpose and meaning in your life.”
In recognizing the cancellation of the annual Mayor’s Breakfast, at which the award would be presented by him, in person, Rochford revealed his small ode to the tradition.
“This morning I had a sausage and a hash brown with my eggs, just to reminisce,” he noted.
Under normal circumstances, the breakfast would have been held on Jan. 16 at First Presbyterian Church.
Serico received congratulations from the three previous COTY winners, Stuart Harting (2020), Marie DiMatties (2019) and Bob Turner (2018).
Stay tuned to the Sun for a feature piece on Serico in future print and online editions.