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Appointment of Jennifer Montesano Superintendent

On December 22, 2016, at a Special Board of Education Meeting, the Board approved Leadership Advantage, a professional consulting service to conduct the search for a Superintendent. The consulting firm began an extensive process in January 2017, meeting with Principals, Directors, Supervisors, Central Office Staff, Teachers, Paraprofessionals, Parent Teachers Associations, as well as representatives from the Teachers Union and Board Trustees. Input from the community was solicited through an open forum as well as an online survey to assist in developing the essential criteria needed in selecting a Superintendent for our District. The consulting firm then analyzed all the data and presented to the Board a profile of the qualities the community was looking for in our Superintendent. Leadership Advantage received a total of 27 resumes that were presented and reviewed in detail by the Board. The Board then began the interviewing process, and on July 20, 2017 the Board appointed Ms. Jennifer Montesano as our new Superintendent. Ms. Montesano officially began her employment in District on November 1, 2017 after fulfilling her contractual obligation to the Haworth School District as Superintendent.

Ms. Montesano began her career in education 17 years ago. For the past 17 years, Ms. Montesano has been an educational leader teaching middle school students, coaching high school varsity athletes and as well as providing administrative leadership as a Middle School Vice-Principal, Middle School Principal, Elementary Principal and District Superintendent. Throughout the interview process, Ms. Montesano has demonstrated to the highest level, all the qualities and qualifications that the District was looking for in a Superintendent.

On behalf of the Secaucus School District, please join me in welcoming Jennifer Montesano to the District as our Superintendent.
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World Trade Center Rescuers and Survivors Present Primary Source Accounts of 9/11

Among the guest presenters at Secaucus High School’s Third Annual Day of Respect, Remembrance, and Reflection were four rescuers and survivors from the World Trade Center on 9/11, and each shared their harrowing ordeals with the impressionable ninth through twelfth graders.

Secaucus resident and Port Authority Police Department Sergeant Robert Stone was a rescuer on both the occasion of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. On the occasion of the World Trade Center bombing, Sgt. Stone was the only police officer injured, being blown across the room from the impact. Elia Zedeno was trapped in an elevator during the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, eight years later she made a harrowing escape from the 73rd Floor on 9/11. Brian Branco escaped from the 78th Floor of the World trade Center’s South Tower on 9/11, experiencing a difficult ordeal during which time most of his work colleagues perished.

Will Jimino, subject of the 2006 movie “World Trade Center” enthralled all in attendance with his captivating talk about being buried alive for 13 hours under 30 feet of rubble before finally being rescued. After his rescue, Will required 13 separate surgeries.

In the photograph above, the four World Trade Center rescuers and survivors pose for a group picture outside the Performing Arts Center. Pictured from left to right are Brian Branco, Will Jimino, Elia Zedeno, and Robert Stone.
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Mother Jane Clementi Shares Tyler's Story with Secaucus High School Students on Day of Respect

Mrs. Jane Clementi, a native of New Jersey and devoted Mother of three sons, addressed the entire student body at Secaucus High School on the Third Annual Day of Respect, Remembrance, and Reflection. Jane’s mission is to make sure that our society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son.

During her 55 minute presentation, Mrs. Clementi shared Tyler’s story, a recollection of a child surrounded with unconditional love that ultimately ended on a tragic and unnecessary note and ended in heartbreak. As a freshman at Rutgers University in the Fall of 2010, Tyler became the victim of cyber harassment at the hands of his roommate as a result of his LGBT orientation. Sadly, several days later Tyler Clementi ended his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. He was 18 years old.

Mrs. Clementi extolled the high school students to become upstanders when witnessing bullying behavior. The first step toward ending bullying is to make a personal commitment to stop it, report it, and reach out to the victim with support.

In the photograph above, Secaucus High School students Jordan Raia, Sally Rizzo and Lizbeth Perez pose for a picture with Jane Clementi at the conclusion of her well received school-wide presentation in the Performing Arts Center.
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Secaucus High School Hosts Third Annual Day of Respect, Remembrance, and Reflection

Secaucus High School held their Third Annual Day of Respect, Remembrance, and Reflection on Friday, October 20th. On this day speakers who have experienced personal tragedy and those who have lived through catastrophic events of the 20th and 21st Century, yet have resolved to make the world a better place address our students.
A number of presenters experienced the horrors of the Holocaust and shared their stories with the impressionable high school students. Alan Moskin, a member of General Patton’s Army, described his experiences as his company liberated the Gunskirchen Concentration Camp; Dr. Norbert Bikales shared his story of being expelled from school for being Jewish and leaving Germany as a 9 year-old through Kindertransport, although his parents were sadly murdered in a concentration camp. His wife, Gerda Bikales, shared her ordeal of witnessing the terror of Kristallnacht in 1938 and fleeing Germany with her Mother through Belgium, France, and Switzerland to escape the Nazi Regime. Ray Fishler spoke of being held in the concentration camp Krakow-Plasrow, the setting for the movie, “Schindler’s List.” Out of eight family members, he was sadly the only one left after the war. Rosa Sirota shared her harrowing ordeal of hiding out under assumed names with Ukrainian peasants as a Hidden Child of the Holocaust, and Maren Friedman, one of the few surviving Jews in Germany during the holocaust, spoke of the hardships she faced as a child of mixed heritage, with a German Father and a Jewish Mother.
In the photograph above, guest presenters Gerda Bikales, Dr. Norbert Bikales, Alan Moskin, Ray Fischler, Maren Friedman, and Rosa Sirota pose for a picture prior to their presentations with Board of Education Members Jack McStowe, Kathy O’Connell, Ruby Pantoliano, and Sharon Dellafave.
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Clarendon School Second Graders Learn a Lesson in Character and Good Sportsmanship From Major League Pitcher Pat Light

CLARENDON SCHOOL SECOND GRADERS LEARN A LESSON IN CHARACTER AND GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP FROM MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHER PAT LIGHT

Major league baseball pitcher Pat Light delighted Second Graders at Clarendon School this past week with a visit to their classroom. Mr. Light’s visit was coordinated to take place during the Week of Respect. Light read a motivational story to the second grade students and discussed the importance of good sportsmanship. A key topic that were highlighted throughout the presentation was how hard work and determination will allow a person to achieve any goal they set for themselves. After reading the story aloud to the class, Light fielded questions from his captivated audiences on a wide range of topics, ranging from how he would handle bullying to his biggest challenge on the baseball field. After his well-received presentation, Light joined his young charges on the school’s baseball field where he posed for a picture with the second graders, their teachers and aides, and administrators.
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Sisters Brianna and Hailey Hawxhurst Honored for the Donation of their Hair for Cancer Patients at the Board of Education's Showcase of Success

Sisters Brianna and Hailey Hawxhurst were honored at the Secaucus Board of Education’s Showcase of Success on September 21st, in honor of them donating their hair to cancer patients through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths charity program.

Both Preschooler Hailey and her big sister, Eighth Grader Brianna, donated 10 inches of their hair so that wigs might be able to be made from their hair for cancer patients. This is the second time that Brianna has made the donation of her hair.

While introducing the sisters, Interim Superintendent Kenneth Knops praised the young ladies for their altruism, compassion, and empathy. Brianna then came to the microphone and shared a heartfelt message, reinforcing her belief and commitment to the cause of donating her hair to cancer patients, as part of her desire to help those less fortunate. At the conclusion of her poignant remarks, all in attendance at the Board of Education Meeting gave her a rousing standing ovation.

Afterwards Hailey and Briana were presented with Certifications of Appreciation by Secaucus Board of Education President Jack McStowe.

Photograph: In the photograph above, Showcase of Success Honorees Hailey and Brianna Hawxhurst pose for a picture with their parents, Lieutenant Austin Hawxhurst and Mrs. Amy Hawxhurst; Board of Education President Jack McStowe, Secaucus Middle School Principal Rob Valente, and Clarendon School Principal Steve Viggiani after being honored at the Board of Education’s Showcase of Success.
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Mr. Raymond Dorso Appointed to the Position of Interim Director of Special Services

At the Board of Education Meeting of September 21st, the Secaucus Board approved the hiring of Mr. Raymond Dorso as the Interim Director of Special Services. Mr. Dorso will be replacing former Director Susan Smahl, who is retiring as of September 30th.

Mr. Dorso received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Stockton College and a Masters Degree from Rutgers University in Social Work. He subsequently earned certifications as a School Social Worker, a Supervisor, and a Principal. Mr. Dorso spent the first six years of his career working in the role of a Child Study Team School Social Worker, and later worked in the capacity of Child Study Team Supervisor. From here he worked as the Supervisor of Asbury Park Alternative Middle School and after this as Supervisor of Alternative Education with the South Brunswick School District.

Mr. Dorso was appointed the Director of Special Services of the New Milford School District in July of 2009. During his time as the Director in New Milford, he brought numerous innovations into the Special Services Department, most notably the researched-based program “Inner-Bridge Crossing” to serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Mr. Dorso also served in the capacity of Director of Special Services in both the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District and the Lakewood Township Public Schools.

In the photograph, Mr. Raymond Dorso is welcomed to the Secaucus School District by Huber Street School Principal Linda Wilhelm, Secaucus High School Prinicpal Dr. Robert Berckes, Clarendon School Principal Steve Viggiani, Secaucus Middle School Principal Robert Valente, and Director of Curriculum Dr. Daniela Riser.
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"An Overview of the Secondary Science Program with Dr. Jerome Kaiser" Coffee to be Held on October 10th at Secaucus Middle/High School

Parents and guardians of Middle and High School students are all invited to join us for the upcoming Coffee with Science Supervisor Dr. Jerry Kaiser and members of the Science Team. The topic of the Coffee is "An Overview of the Secondary Science Program with Dr. Jerome Kaiser" and will be held on Tuesday, October 10th at both 9:00 in the morning and 7:00 in the evening in the High School and Middle School Media Center. We hope to see you there!
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