At its Jan. 11 monthly meeting, New Jersey’s State Board of Education marked School Board Recognition Month by unanimously approving a resolution that commends the hard work and dedication of the state’s nearly 5,000 local school board members.

“New Jersey’s locally elected and appointed boards of education play a vital role in ensuring that their local school districts meet state standards and adhere to state and federal education statute and regulations, with the goal of preparing all students for college and the workplace, thereby enabling them to compete in a global economy,” the State Board resolution states. “The efforts of local boards of education, in conjunction with state education officials and local educators, have built a foundation of success that has led to New Jersey’s status as a leader in student achievement.”

Officials with the New Jersey School Boards Association expressed their appreciation for the recognition. “I thank the State Board for joining the New Jersey School Boards Association in recognizing the commitment of local boards of education,” said Irene LeFebvre, NJSBA president, who accepted the resolution. “Together we are advancing the quality of public education for all children in New Jersey.”

NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Timothy Purnell noted that the last few years have been difficult for everyone involved in public education, including local board of education members and the State Board of Education. “Local boards had to endure the uncertainty that came with COVID, and had to make difficult decisions on budgeting, policies, COVID mitigation strategies and how to create a safe environment for student learning,” he said. “In recent years, board members have also had to contend with being the target of hostility from an increasingly polarized public – as has the State Board of Education. We thank board members for their service, and we also thank the State Board members for their service.”

State Board President Kathy Goldenberg, who was a member of the Moorestown Board of Education prior to her appointment to the State Board, noted that three members of the State Board served as local board members. Dr. Nedd James Johnson was a member of the Pittsgrove board from 2007 to 2010, while Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi served on the Township of Ocean board from 2010 to 2017. Goldenberg also expressed her appreciation of the NJSBA. “I learned so much from NJSBA’s valuable training programs,” she said.

New Jersey’s local school boards oversee the operations of the public schools that serve about 1.3 million students, according to NJSBA, a sponsor of the recognition month in the state.

The National School Boards Association began School Board Recognition Month in the early 1990s, and various states dedicate a month to recognize the contributions of local school board members. 2023 marks the 22nd year that School Board Recognition Month has been celebrated in New Jersey.

Information to help communities honor the work of their local board members is available through NJSBA’s website here.