BOE holds reorganization meeting

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Isabella Zuluaga

Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education held a reorganization meeting followed by a regular meeting in which they discussed the mascot selection process, PV’s principal search, and PV’s school closing.

Isabella Zuluaga and Ilmie Xhaferi

Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education Secretary Yas Usami swore in four new BOE members during Monday night’s BOE meeting held in Pascack Valley’s cafeteria and on Zoom. The new members are Kelly Blundy of Woodcliff Lake, Michael Weaver of Montvale, and Kristin Martin and Gini Varghese of Hillsdale. 

“Out of the four new board members we have two educators and two health professionals,” district Superintendent Erik Gundersen said. “I think it’s perhaps a bit ironic, but certainly very helpful to us as a board of education to have that level of expertise.”

Tammy Molinelli and Janet Bissinger were certified as BOE President and Vice President, respectively, during the meeting. Molinelli and Bissinger were also the only people nominated for their positions. 

“I have so much gratitude and passion for the school district and the team of people that make choices on behalf of the kids,” Molinelli said. “I want to share the [inclusivity and equality goals] for the district and for the Board so that everyone knows that we are all on the same page with how we want to help shape the kids into leaders of the future.”

Gundersen said that the district may add additional period assignments for teachers so that they can interact with students who are in need of additional assistance. 

“Although the majority of our students are doing well [in school], there are a significant number of students who are struggling,” Gundersen said. “This is a tough time for our students and we’re here to support them and provide the tools that they need to be successful.”

Gundersen said that the BOE will see a “brief” presentation regarding the mascot selection process by one PV student representative and another Pascack Hills student. 

“We can expect the final recommendation from these two student groups by the second [BOE] meeting in February,” Gundersen said. “The goal is moving forward, and we’ll get a little bit more of a comprehensive report at our next Board meeting from the [PH and PV students] themselves.” 

The PV principal search process will be shared during the next BOE meeting, according to Gundersen. 

“The goal of mine is to have a recommendation for this board of education by the end of April so that we can appoint a new principal for Pascack Valley High School for next school year,” Gundersen said. 

Gundersen announced that PV will shift to remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday for contact tracing due to two large New Year’s Eve parties – one in Hillsdale and one in River Vale. 

“It’s become difficult for us to determine who was at those parties so that we can inform those students and their parents that they need to quarantine,” Gundersen said. “It’s for the benefit of the community that [anyone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 is] fully transparent with us so that we can open up our schools again for the students.”