Florence “Peggy” Saslow, who was named the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Board Member of the Year in 2014, can add another achievement to her resume: The New Milford High School tennis courts were dedicated in her honor at an April 2 ceremony.
The event attracted about 100 people, including the mayor, a legislator, councilwoman, school superintendent, former students and others.
Saslow, who is 98, has spent about 70 years in the borough. When she was named NJSBA’s board member of the year at age 91, she was still playing tennis several times a week, according to an NJSBA article.
Mayor Michael Putrino, a former student of Saslow’s, attended the ceremony and issued a proclamation declaring April 2 Peggy Saslow Day. The proclamation notes some of her accomplishments; a 27-year teacher at the high school, mother of three, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of seven. She is also a longtime library volunteer in addition to her board service.
NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod applauded the community for recognizing Saslow’s long record of service. “She spent virtually her entire adult life helping students learn – both as a teacher and board member,” he said. “When you think of the qualities our Board Member of the Year award has come to exemplify, you can’t help but think of Peggy Saslow. She is a role model for all of us, and NJSBA congratulates her on another well-deserved honor.”
Admired by Many
Numerous others spoke at the ceremony, including Councilwoman Hedy Grant, Superintendent of Schools Danielle Shanley and District 38 Assemblywoman Lisa Swain, who came with an additional proclamation from the state Legislature. Shanley and Athletic Director Joseph Ricciardelli unveiled a sign that dedicates the school’s four tennis courts in Saslow’s honor.
Shanley read a speech honoring Saslow, noting, “She is a distinguished former NMBOE trustee and New Jersey School Boards Board Member of the Year; she has been a distinguished mentor and fellow colleague to other board members. Peggy is a distinguished supporter of public education; she is a distinguished advocate for necessary changes in educational legislation at the state and national levels, a distinguished supporter of our Holocaust Study Tour program, a distinguished supporter for meeting the needs of students with disabilities, a die-hard fan of our theater and arts programs, a distinguished proponent of good nutrition and healthy behavior, an advocate for fitness, and clearly a distinguished role model for our young tennis players – because Peggy can show you that a combination of good nutrition and exercise will allow you to play tennis well into your 90s.” She added, “Although I used to tell her that maybe she wouldn’t need so many sweaters and blankets if she just ate a good greasy cheeseburger once in a while!”
Shanley also lauded Saslow for her humility, saying she “remains shocked, stunned even, and humbled every single time someone or some group wants to recognize her for just being her.” She added, “She’s a model for lifelong learning, community involvement, and a leader to all of us, especially to young women in our school community.”
At the time Saslow was named the board member of the year, she had served 19 years on New Milford’s board, having taught home economics and middle school science at the district prior to her election. She was called a “consummate education lifer,” and a “tireless proponent for grass roots advocacy” when she was nominated for the award. Saslow has also been a delegate to the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, and the Bergen County School Boards Association. She is a previous Janet S. Lobsenz Award winner, an award given by the Bergen County School Boards Association, which recognizes excellence among school board members.
NorthJersey.com published an article highlighting the dedication and Saslow’s many accomplishments.
Jana Gallevo, a student filmmaker at New Milford High School, made a video highlighting the dedication ceremony.