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Board of Education Holds Annual Reorganization Meeting

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Newly-elected Board of Education members Brian Rock and Eric Stevenson were sworn in, Jennifer Tunnicliffe was named President, and Gary Rothstein was named Vice-President at the Annual Board of Education Reorganization meeting, held virtually Jan. 6.

Tunnicliffe read the Board Statement penned on Jan. 6 regarding the resignation of Superintendent Scott Cascone in April. The board has begun a search to seek out an Interim Superintendent, followed by the search for a permanent replacement for Dr. Cascone.

Board designations for the 2022 Calendar Year are as follows.

New Jersey School Boards Association: Gary Rothstein (Delegate), Brian Rock (Alternate)

Essex County School Boards Association: Gary Rothstein (Delegate), Jennifer Tunnicliffe (Alternate)

Legislative Chairperson: Brian Rock, Melinda Huerta

Negotiations Committee: Jennifer Tunnicliffe, Eric Stevenson

Policy Chairperson(s): Eric Stevenson, Gary Rothstein

Township Liaison(s): Melinda Huerta, Brian Rock

Public Relations Committee: Melinda Huerta, Jennifer Tunnicliffe

The members voted unanimously on the 2022 Board meeting calendar and  took turns reading the adopted Code of Ethics as per N.J.S.A. 18A:12-21 et seq. and West Orange Board of Education Bylaw 9271.00: 

The Members of the Board of Education recognize that they hold authority not as individuals but as members of the Board. In order to make a clear public statement of its philosophy of service to the pupils of the District, the Board adopts this Code of Ethics:

  1. I will uphold and enforce all laws, rules, and regulations of the State Board of Education, and court orders pertaining to schools. Desired changes shall be brought about only through legal and ethical procedures.
  2. I will make decisions in terms of the educational welfare of children and will seek to develop and maintain public schools which meet the individual needs of all children regardless of their ability, race, creed, sex or social standing.
  3. I will confine my board action to policymaking, planning, and appraisal, and I will help to frame policies and plans only after the Board has consulted those who will be affected by them.
  4. I will carry out my responsibility, not to administer the schools, but, together with my fellow Board Members, to see that they are well run.
  5. I will recognize that authority rests with the Board of Education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the Board.
  6. I will refuse to surrender my independent judgment to special interest or partisan political groups or to use the schools for personal gain or for the gain of friends.
  7. I will hold confidential all matters pertaining to the schools which, if disclosed, would needlessly injure individuals or the schools. In all other matters, I will provide accurate information and, in concert with my fellow Board Members, interpret to the staff the aspirations of the community for its schools.
  8. I will vote to appoint the best-qualified personnel available after consideration of the recommendation of the chief administrative officer.
  9. I will support and protect school personnel in the proper performance of their duties.
  10. I will refer all complaints to the chief administrative officer and will act on the complaints at public meetings only after the failure of an administrative solution.

Dr. Cascone noted that his departure was bittersweet and responded to a public comment question regarding the installation of trailers for the Preschool Program at Washington Elementary School. Cascone noted that the Life Christian Church extended the contract with the district for the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center and that the district wanted BMELC and Washington to house the pre-school program. The trailers would be used to house Preschool classes, which would be converted to full-time to qualify for federal funding. In the next year or two voters would be asked in a referendum to cover the costs of retrofitting Central Office to house the preschool program there.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Jan. 19, 2022, at West Orange High School with the public session beginning at 7:00 pm. 

BOE Reorganization Meeting

Top row (L-R) Melinda Huerta, Brian Rock, Eric Stevenson 

Middle row (L-R) BOE VP Gary Rothstein, BOE President Jennifer Tunnicliffe, Board Secretary Tonya Flowers.

Bottom row: Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone





Cynthia Cumming
Jan. 7, 2022