The Jefferson Township Board of Education began 2021 by swearing in its elected officials on Monday night. Proceedings were held in-person at Jefferson Township High School and were overseen by President pro tempore Rita Oroho Giacchi, who administered the oath of office.
Jill Small, Stacey Poulas, and Diane Perez were sworn in to three-year terms, while BOE President Matthew Millar accepted his third term. Poulas, a Lake Hopatcong resident, will serve as Vice President.
Both Millar and Poulas said that they were honored that both the community and their peers on the BOE entrusted these vital duties in the midst of unprecedented circumstances. In addition to the ongoing health crisis, the BOE has been dealing with budget issues, challenges that the pair plan to battle head-on.
“We have to do what we can, we have to be fiscally responsible, especially with these trying times. (COVID-19) just adds to it,” Millar said. “You have to embrace it. You have to be creative, and you can’t really dwell on it. You can’t dwell on the budget cuts that the state has given us. As a Board, we’re a team, with the Superintendent with her recommendations. We’ve made the decisions that we feel are best for the community.”
“I’m very thankful to the community for putting their faith in me again,” said Poulas, who has been on the Board since 2011. “I do enjoy serving on the Board. My kids are still in school, so I am still very invested in them. As far as Vice President, I love working with Mr. Millar and the entire Board. I think we had a lot of obstacles to overcome this past year. We have a lot more obstacles to overcome going forward, but I’m confident that, as a Board, we’ll do it.”
Poulas and Small each appeared on November ballots, while Perez ran a successful write-in campaign. Perez has also served as the Chair of the Jefferson Township Special Education Parent Advisory Group founded in 2019. Small, hailing from Oak Ridge, also has extensive special education training, and has also volunteered in Jefferson Township’s youth baseball program, Teen Scene, and Junior Women’s Club.
The Board will next meet on January 18. The full schedule can be viewed below. Public portions will all begin at 7:30 p.m.
|January 18||Jefferson Township High School|
|February 15||Jefferson Township High School|
|March 15||Jefferson Township High School|
|April 19||Jefferson Township High School|
|May 17||Jefferson Township High School|
|June 21||Jefferson Township High School|
|July 19||BOE Central Office (Lake Hopatcong)|
|August 16||BOE Central Office (Lake Hopatcong)|
|September 20||Jefferson Township High School|
|October 18||Jefferson Township High School|
|November 15||Jefferson Township High School|
|December 20||Jefferson Township High School|
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags