She taught home economics and eighth grade science to schoolchildren in her Bergen County hometown.

She was elected to her local school board; represented her district in Washington, D.C. at the National School Boards Advocacy Institute; and earned Master Board Certification through the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Board Member Academy.

To that list of accomplishments, New Milford Board of Education member Florence “Peggy” Saslow can now add another: She is New Jersey’s School Board Member of the Year.

An energetic, tireless advocate for public education, who also survived cancer, taught driver safety to senior citizens, and, at age 91, still plays tennis several times a week, Saslow was presented with the award during NJSBA’s Centennial Workshop 2014. Her daughters surprised her, travelling to Atlantic City to join in the celebration.

Saslow said she was thrilled by the honor.

A 19-year member of the New Milford board, Saslow taught home economics and middle school science in the district before winning election to the board. Called a “consummate education lifer,” and a “tireless proponent for grass roots advocacy” when she was nominated for the award, Saslow has been a delegate to the NJSBA Delegate Assembly, and the Bergen County School Boards Association. She was also previously named the Janet S. Lobsenz Award winner, an award given by the Bergen County School Boards Association, that recognizes excellence among school board members.

“Peggy always lets everyone know what is the right thing to do for kids,” said NJSBA Past President John Bulina, who called Saslow an “outstanding” board member.

NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod described her as the “ideal board member.”

“As a former teacher and long-time board member, most of her adult life has been child-centered. Her decisions center around what is best for kids,” he said. “She is a true role model for all of us. I congratulate her.”

As a board member, Saslow said she enjoyed most representing her district in Washington, D.C., at the National School Boards Advocacy Institute, and her proudest accomplishment was encouraging New Milford parents to become active in their children’s education.

While Saslow did not seek re-election in November, so her board role is about to end, she said she does not plan to fade away.

“I’m going to stay active. You don’t have to be a board member to be in touch with your legislators,” she said. “I’m still involved. I’m going to go to board meetings. I care that much about children.”

Given annually since 2005, the School Board Member of the Year award honors an individual board member who makes significant contributions; exemplifies leadership in the field of education with a strong commitment to the children of New Jersey; demonstrates a strong commitment to his or her personal and professional development as a board member; and shows active involvement in school governance at the local, county and state levels.

Nominations were judged by an independent panel from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

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