Haddonfield board of ed members-sworn in for new year

District goals are belonging, engagement, positive school climate

At the Jan. 5 reorganization meeting, Haddonfield School District swore in three members: Greg Esemplare (left), Board President Jaime Grooket and Linda Hochgertel (right). (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

During its brief reorganization meeting last week, the Haddonfield board of education swore in Jaime Grookett, Linda Hochgertel and Greg Esemplare for second three-year terms, with Grookett elected president and Hochgertel vice president. 

Incoming board member Mike Nuckols – who is filling former board member David Siedell’s open seat – was absent.

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The board passed a number of resolutions: 

  • Assistant school Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo was named Affirmative Action Officer, liaison for Homeless Children and Youths, and school district policy coordinator.
  • Dr. Carmen Henderson was appointed coordinator for Section 504 of the National Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Board member Michael Catalano was named Public Agency Compliance Officer, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Officer, School Wellness District Coordinator, District Purchasing Agent, District “Right to Know” Officer and Custodian of Records.
  • Richard Sparks was appointed the Integrated Pest Manager Coordinator.
  • Facilities Director Tim McFerren is now district Asbestos Management Officer, Indoor Air Quality Designee, Chemical Hygiene Officer, Toxic Hazard Preparedness Officer and Ahera Coordinator.
  • Sandra Horwitz was named district Safety and Health Designee.
  • Kristin Latigona became district Alternate Custodian of Records.
  • Shannon Simkus was appointed district Liaison to the Department of Children and Family.

As discussed at a fall meeting last year, the district’s goals for 2023 goals are belonging, engagement and school climate change. Priolo explained that while the board is required to approve goals at the beginning of each new year, it has gotten into the habit of approving them at the previous year’s September session, since the board does its planning in the summer and wants to have the goals approved transparently.

“We put it in again as part of the reorg for checks and balances,” Priolo explained. “ … Essentially, what we tried to do was we tried to be more explicit and purposeful in how we’re carrying out the strategic goals, because if you look at the strategic goals, sometimes they can get a little wordy and up for interpretation.

“So what we worked on over the summer is, ‘What do we mean by social and emotional learning? What do we mean by being culturally responsive?’ And what it really boils down to is belonging, engagement and having a positive school culture.”

Following the meeting’s agenda items, school Superintendent Chuck Klaus gave an overview of what to expect regarding discussions on the upcoming bond referendum. 

“(In January,) we’ll talk about early-childhood education and what the value of that is,” he pointed out. “Once we’ve established our needs, we’re going to have the architect come in and talk about general scope of work.

“The challenge is when we talk about scope of work, you need to know the cost, and until we get the DOE’s (Department of Education) approval of things, we can’t talk about costs.”

Once that is decided, Klaus said, he anticipates more informal meetings with PTAs and the community. He also suggested combining the board’s first work session with the reorganization meeting for next year, though no action was taken. 

The full board discussion regarding the goals can be found at https://bit.ly/3IsxqnO

The next board of education work session will be on Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. 

 

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