The New Jersey School Boards Association’s board of directors met in-person and virtually on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. President Dr. Karen Cortellino presided over the meeting from the Association’s headquarters in Trenton. Immediate Past President Irene LeFebvre and Vice Presidents Dr. Tom Connors and Barry Fitzgerald also participated in the meeting from Association headquarters.  Executive Director Dr. Timothy J. Purnell provided his report to the board from headquarters.

The board of directors approved the following items:

  • Extension of payment of dues for BOD members’ boards.
  • Annual ACES grant request from ELFNJ.
  • Proposed transfer to Building Needs Allocation Fund.
  • Open session minutes of the May 5, 2023, board of directors meeting.
  • Legislative Committee appointments.
  • Resolution Subcommittee appointments.

Executive Director’s Report  Purnell addressed NJSBA activities and the progress made in enabling school districts to meet the challenges presented to them, so they can ensure that members continue to benefit from essential training, advocacy and direct service.

Workshop 2023 Update  As of Sept. 22, there are 500 districts and 4,788 individuals registered. Workshop will feature more than 200 training sessions, as well as an expansive Exhibit Floor, student performances and special events. The full agenda can be found on the NJSBA Workshop website as well as on the mobile app. The mobile app is available for download in the Apple and Google Play store by searching “NJSBA Workshop 2023.” All four courses of mandated training – Governance 1, 2, 3 and 4 – will be offered so members can fulfill their training requirements. The School Law Forum will also be held on Thursday, Oct. 26. A special session has been added on Monday featuring Gian Paul Gonzalez, founder and director of the Hope + Future Foundation. Other speakers include soccer legend, Carli Lloyd; the Acting Commissioner of Education, Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan; and the student representative to the State Board of Education, Nilanjana Gosh. The “Unsung Superheroes” award finalists have been selected and the winners will be honored at Workshop. There were more than 200 nominations for these awards, which will recognize school staff members who are typically overlooked. The Exhibit Floor will have many new interactive features to look out for, including a BOARDwalk, Power Skills Arena, Fireside Chats, and a Treasure Hunt.

NJSBA has launched The WorkSHOP, an online store offering limited edition Workshop merchandise and NJSBA-branded clothing, accessories and home living items. Workshop attendees can get their hands-on exclusive Workshop 2023 items to wear to this year’s conference, for the first time ever. These items are only available until Oct. 31.

NJSBA Finances For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, 91% of districts have paid their annual dues. This is on track with the pace of payments in previous years. The books for fiscal year 2022-2023 have been closed and generated a healthy surplus, driven largely by the high levels of attendance by members and sponsors at Workshop. The NJSBA auditors have completed their fieldwork for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and the Audit Committee, which met prior to this meeting, received a draft report. The board of directors will receive the final audit for approval at the November meeting.

Training Fall training sessions have begun. A full day of mandated training was scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23. County meetings have also started up again with many useful program topics. Throughout the summer, there were several webinars covering topics such as recent U.S. Supreme Court cases, what school board candidates should know about campaign finance information and disclosure, and effective cybersecurity in K-12 today. The webinars are archived and available on NJSBA website. There will be a one-day Fall Leadership Conference called “Everyone Moving Forward Together!” taking place on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Crowne Plaza in Plainsboro.

NJSBA Connection NJSBA Connection, the member-only online discussion and networking platform, continues to build traffic. There are close to 1,000 members. There are also more than 220 members of the Personnel Administrators Association, the NJSBA managed associate member group that includes school district human resources professionals. NJSBA Connection has been the site of online conversations on many interesting topics, including OEM use of school buildings, chronic absenteeism and a four-day school week. In the coming weeks, there will be a rollout of specific communities for each of the 21 county school boards associations. For those who wish to join NJSBA Connection, it can be found on the NJSBA website, under the “Our Services” tab.

Recognition of Retiring Members

The following retiring members were recognized for their service to the New Jersey School Boards Association and the students of New Jersey: Shane Berger, member for Essex County; Jonathan Castañeda, member for Hudson County; Haissam Jaafar, alternate for Hudson County; and Nancy Schwartz, member for Passaic County.

The following new members and alternates and re-elected members and alternates were introduced. All members attending took the oath of office.

New Members:

  • Atlantic County Member – Louis Della Barca, Egg Harbor Township Board of Education.
  • Atlantic County Alternate – Doris Rowell, Pleasantville Board of Education.
  • Bergen County Member – Michael Sprague, Norwood Board of Education.
  • Burlington County Alternate – Michael McClure, Maple Shade Board of Education.
  • Cumberland County Member – Brent Daly, Downe Township Board of Education.
  • Essex County Member – Benjamin Morse, Bloomfield Board of Education.
  • Hudson County Member – Hector Gonzalez Jr., Bayonne Board of Education.
  • Hudson County Alternate – Enrico Bolognino, Secaucus Board of Education.
  • Passaic County Alternate – Valdo Panzera Jr., Manchester Regional Board of Education.
  • Salem County Alternate – Timothy Hack, Pittsgrove Township Board of Education.
Re-elected Members and Alternates:
  • Bergen County Alternate – Michael Jacobs.
  • Burlington County – Erica Campbell (appointed to fill member vacancy from alternate position).
  • Essex County Alternate – Kathryn Weller-Demming.
  • Passaic County – Alan Paris (appointed to fill member vacancy from alternate position).

The board of directors also received reports from the president, vice president for county activities, vice president for finance, vice president for legislation/resolutions, and immediate past president, and detailed reports from NJSBA staff on advocacy and legislation and Workshop 2023.

Information items included Association Financials, Legal Case Summary, Member Dues Update 2023-2024, and written reports from officers.