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Scores of board members, lawyers and school leaders attended the New Jersey School Boards Association’s inaugural Labor & Employment Summit on Sept. 28.

Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director of NJSBA, greeted the speakers and attendees to the virtual forum, taking time to thank Association staff that worked to make the event a success.

“I know many school districts are struggling and grappling with teacher shortages, and I’ve spoken to many board members who’ve indicated they are struggling to find bus drivers and nurses,” he said. “Today will provide you with tools and the knowledge to help boards of education to manage these difficult times.”

Kicking off the program and serving as its keynote speaker was Robert Asaro-Angelo, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In his opening remarks, he noted that he knows it’s been incredibly tough being a public servant over the past few years, which includes serving on a school board or working for a school board. “The vitriol aimed at public employees – especially ones that are public facing – has been unprecedented,” he said, adding that he gives public servants credit for “sticking through.”

Asaro-Angelo and other leaders in the labor and employment field spoke about a variety of topics, including recruitment and hiring; diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace; avoiding workplace discrimination claims; fostering employee morale; workplace investigations; negotiations tactics and strategies; and recent legislation in the labor and employment field.

In addition to the commissioner and Purnell, the summit included:

  • Katrina T. McCombs, superintendent of the Camden City School District.
  • Dr. Suzanne McCotter, dean, School of Education at The College of New Jersey.
  • J. Kenyon Kummings, superintendent of Wildwood Public Schools
  • Dr. Jeanne DelColle, executive director of the Center of Future Educators at The College of New Jersey.
  • Kathleen Asher, senior manager, Legal and Labor Relations at NJSBA.
  • Charity Comella, director of human resources and affirmative action officer at West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.
  • Vince DeLucia, educator in residence at NJSBA.
  • Dr. Charles Heckscher, distinguished professor, Labor Studies and Employment Relations, and director of the Center for the Study of Collaboration in Work and Society at Rutgers University.
  • Katrina Homel, legal counsel at NJSBA.
  • Dr. Claudine Keenan, dean of education at Stockton University.
  • Perry Lattiboudere, founding member of the law firm, Adams, Gutierrez and Lattiboudere LLC.
  • Brenda Liss, general counsel at Newark Public Schools.
  • Jonathan Pushman, director of governmental relations at NJSBA.
  • Sandy Raup, business data analyst and project manager at NJSBA.
  • Kurt Rebovich, senior manager, member services and strategic partnerships at NJSBA.
  • Dr. Saul A. Rubinstein, professor, School of Management & Labor Relations, and director of the Collaborative School Leadership Initiative at Rutgers University.
  • Elizabeth Scott, director of human resources and community relations at Burlington Township School District.
  • Dr. Brian Zychowski, vice president, entrepreneurial education initiatives at Kean University.

On-demand programming Labor and Employment Summit registrants will have access to the conference for 60 days following the live event.