Board of Education Meeting January 7, 2019 Reorganization
At the historical Elizabeth Board of Education reorganization meeting on January 7, 2019 at Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy @ Msgr. João S. Antão School No. 31 , the meeting opened with the Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy School No. 26 Jazz Band performing three selections, including “Megadude” by Howard Rowe, “Tastes Like Chicken” by Kris Berg, and “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles and Rick Stitzel, and Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy School No. 26 Voices of Harmony performing selections from The Sound of Music by Richard Rodgers and Walter Ehret.
Outgoing Board President Maria Carvalho addressed the audience and thanked her fellow Board members and the community once more for their support and trust to carry on the duties of President of the Board. She also welcomed the new president and offered well wishes in guiding the Board during 2019.
The three Board members elected to seats in November were sworn in, starting with incumbent Charlene Bathelus who was sworn in for her third term on the Board by the Honorable Judge James Wilson. Ileana Chevres was sworn in next for her first term as a member of the Board, followed by incumbent Stephanie Goncalves, who was sworn into her second term on the Board, both by the Honorable Mayor J. Christian Bollwage.
Also sworn in to the Board was Nathalie Hernandez, who was chosen by the Board to fill the seat vacated by former Board member Jose Rodriguez. She was sworn in by City of Elizabeth Councilman-At-Large and Elizabeth Public Schools Chief of Operations Frank Cuesta.
For the selection of the new Board President, Board member Stanley Neron nominated Stephanie Goncalves, who was unanimously voted in as President. Diane Barbosa was selected for the Vice President seat, voted in unanimously following a nomination by Board member Jerry Jacobs.
The Board recognized the excellent support and contributions of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders to the Elizabeth Public Schools Professional Learning Community and the greater Elizabeth community. Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer gave a presentation to the Board and public, sharing highlights of the Freeholders’ work with Elizabeth Public Schools students and families as well as the Elizabeth community as a whole during the past year. Following the presentation, a plaque was presented by Hugelmeyer to 2018 Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados.
New President Goncalves addressed the public, noting in her remarks that, for the first time, the Board consists of a majority of female members. She also highlighted the importance of diversity to the Elizabeth Public Schools and the Elizabeth community, serving the community, and ensuring that all children succeed.
New Vice President Barbosa thanked her family and fellow Board members and emphasized the fire of leadership that each Board member has within them in serving the community as well as the passion to do what is right for the school district as the Board continues the progress that it has made.
Board Member Bathelus took time to acknowledge the many people who have supported her in all her endeavors, congratulate the newly sworn in Board members, and share that she will continue to strive for a fair and better tomorrow for all of Elizabeth’s children.
Board Member Chevres shared her excitement to serve the parents and children of the Elizabeth Public Schools and intends to bring her passion, knowledge, and experience to continue improving the school system and to make sure children have the same opportunities for all students, with her son serving as her inspiration.
Board Member Hernandez shared her eagerness to collaborate with everyone to ensure that each and every student is successful with a focus on the expansion of STEM programs for all schools, implementing new afterschool and weekend enrichment programs, and researching how the district can better advocate for its diverse community of students to provide an equitable and high quality education for all.
Board member Neron, in recognizing the significance of a female majority Board, stated that he was honored to be able to serve with the women of the Board, characterizing them as true examples of leadership, true examples of fortitude, and the foundation that our society is built on. He further shared that he was proud of the change that he is seeing throughout the country, the state, and locally for women to receive more opportunities to serve as well as proud of the support the Board has received from the community to get the Board to its current point as a diverse Board that will be an example for the nation and urban school districts in setting policy to address equity.