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West Orange Board of Education Names Sandra Mordecai Board President for 2014

Cynthia Cumming

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 • 12:04am

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Board of Education January reorganization meeting saw the election of Sandra Mordecai as board president for 2014; the election of Laura Lab as vice-president, the swearing in of new board member Mark Roberstson, and recognition for Megan Brill as she left the board.

In addition, board members were appointed to various committees for the year.

After Mordecai and Roberston were sworn in as board members, Mordecai was nominated by Michelle Casalino as new board president, and Ron Charles nominated Laura Lab as vice-president. Nominations were seconded and both were voted in unanimously.

Mordecai told The Alternative Press, "Thank you to my colleagues on the board for their support and confidence in me. I am looking forward to serving as president of the West Orange Board of Education. Thanks to Mrs. Brill for her service to the students, district and community at large.  We wish her well in her future endeavors. Congratulations and welcome to Mr. Robertson as he begins his term on the Board."

Robertson provided the following statement after the board meeting: "I am excited, honored and humbled to join the Board of Ed. The opportunity to work as a team with my colleagues on the Board and make a difference is a privilege.

Feeling both a heartfelt thanks and a deep responsibility to my campaign team, the Parent Coalition and supporters who elected me, I am reminded of commitments I made to do my best in helping our school system achieve the very heights of competitive excellence in education. Our children deserve a world class, top-ranked education, and our tax payers deserve a premier school system that boosts property values.

Now that I am here, I rededicate myself to advocate for a focus on accountability and best practices in curriculum, budget management and revenue generation. We have to hear the voices and heed the calls of parents who are telling us clearly where improvements are needed.

To achieve these goals, I feel fortunate to work with a truly dedicated and seasoned team With Sandra as our new president; Laura as a policy leader, VP, and former president; Michelle as past president; and Ron, a multifaceted community leader in several sports and my Mountain Top Board Colleague and supporter, I feel that I am among friends and we can do so much together."

Committee Appointments are as follows:
 
Mark Robertson, Michelle Casalino, Alternate, NJ State Board Association
Sandra Mordecai, Michelle Casalino, Alternate, Essex County School Board Association
Laura Lab and Ron Charles, Legislative Chairpersons
Ron Charles and Michelle Casalino, Negotiations Committee
Michelle Casalino and Sandra Mordecai, Township Liaison Committee
Laura Lab, Policy Chairperson
 
Interim Superintendent James O'Neill provided an update on winter sports at the high school as well as an update on a complaint filed by Passe towards the State Department of Education. On Nov. 1, the school district received word from the NJ State Department of Education regarding the complaint originally filed against the West Orange School district by Renay Zamloot, Sue Freivald, and Alexandra DeRonde. NJSDOE found the complaint to be "without merit."
 
However, Freivald and DeRonde disagreed with the determination and filed a complaint against NJDOE. O'Neill reported that once again, NJDOE stood by its initial determination and determined their complaint was without merit.
 
The next Board of Education is scheduled for Jan. 27.
 
 
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