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Elizbeth Board of Education Meeting December 15, 2022

At the December 15 Elizabeth Board of Education meeting at the Dunn Sports Center, the Board held a moment of silence to start the meeting for the passings of retired John E. Dwyer Technology Academy secretary Kathryn Huber, Sonia Sotomayor School No. 25 teacher Rosemary Grillo, and Christopher Columbus School No. 15 teacher Christine Lucia Da Silva, for which resolutions were presented by the Board recognizing their service to the Elizabeth Public Schools community. A resolution was also presented for former Nicholas Murray Butler School No. 23 teacher Nancy Simon, for whom a moment of silence was observed at the previous board meeting.

Following the moment of silence, the Pledge of Allegiance and Pledge of Ethics were led by two members of the Elizabeth High School Marching Band, senior Bryanne Rubio-Retana and senior Daniela Acosta, respectively. The Star-Spangled Banner was performed a capella by the Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy Choir.

Elizabeth Public Schools Superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer and Elizabeth High Schools – Frank J. Cicarell Academy Principal Michael Cummings introduced EHS – FJC senior Jessica K. Verma as a student representative to the Board of Education. Verma is the president of the school’s student government, an officer of the National Honor Society, and a member of the Key Club, and her combination of brilliance, hard work, and humility make her an excellent student to represent EHS - FJC on the Board.

The Board recognized several groups of students, including the Elizabeth Public Schools students who achieved perfect scores on their 2022 New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA), Elizabeth Athletics student athletes and coaches who earned all-conference, all-county, all-group, all-state, and athlete/coach of the year honors as well as teams that won conference championships in their respective sports, the Elizabeth High School Marching Band, including the 2022 USBands Group 4 Open National Champion Color Guard, which performed “Arachnidium Part 1: Lacrimosa/Danse Macabre”,  directed by Miguel A. Bolivar, at the meeting, along with EHS Marching Band staff and band parents, and the Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. Health and Public Safety Academy MCJROTC Drill Team.

Each student was presented a certificate from the Board and a citation from the New Jersey State Assembly, courtesy of NJ State Senator Joseph Cryan.

The Board also recognized the outstanding career and legacy of Director of Plant, Property, and Equipment Luis R. Couto who will be retiring effective January 1, 2023. His leadership during his 27 years serving Elizabeth Public Schools resulted in an unprecedented growth in school facilities, from 24 school sites in 1995 to 50 school sites in 2022. This amazing expansion of facilities included twelve newly constructed school buildings to the Elizabeth Public Schools within a twenty year period: Dr. Orlando Edreira Academy School No. 26 (1998), Frances C. Smith ECC School No. 50  (2001), Donald Stewart ECC School No. 51 (2004), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ECC School No. 52 (2005), Dr. Albert Einstein Academy School No. 29 (2006), Chessie Dentley Roberts Academy School No. 30 (2006), Monsignor Joao S. Antao School No. 31 (2006), Dr. Antonia Pantoja School No. 27 (2008), Juan Pablo Duarte – José Julián Martí School No. 28 (2008), Victor Mravlag School No. 21 (2013), Elizabeth High School – Frank J. Cicarell Academy (2016), and  William F. Halloran School No. 22 (2017). A video was presented in is honor, as was a resolution by the Board and a key to the Elizabeth Public Schools by Chief of Operations Francisco Cuesta.

Longtime Confidential Administrative Secretary to the School Business Administrator/Board Secretary Janet Forte was also presented a Board resolution as she prepares to retire from Elizabeth Public Schools after serving the district admirably for 26 years. In her role, she handled all correspondence connected with the Elizabeth Board of Education and prepared and maintained the permanent record of Elizabeth Board of Education proceedings and minutes for the agenda and regular meetings of the Board.