ROXBURY, NJ – Teachers and administrators in Roxbury schools should not be afraid of being criticized for trying new things, said Roxbury School Board President Leo Coakley on Monday.

Coakley, re-elected to the board in November - chosen Monday by his colleagues to serve a second year as board president - said innovative thinking must be embraced.

“We as board members … should encourage teachers and administrators to question how things are being done and look for ways to improve, to innovate,” said Coakley, entering his seventh year on the panel.

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He noted that change, while beneficial, “cannot be haphazard. It must be purposeful. It must be evaluated.”

However, Coakley stressed that “teachers and administrators should not have to worry about the gotcha aspect” of suggesting something different.

“They should be able to feel free to make changes and innovation that are in conformance with our board policies and the state regulations and law and make adjustments as they need, based upon realistic evaluation as they go,” he said.

Gathering No Moss

The names on the school board have changed substantially in recent years. Coakley referred to it as being a relatively “new board.” Also sworn-in Monday was newly-elected board member Kathy Purcell. The third newcomer, Danielle McCabe, could not attend the meeting and will be sworn-in at the next one.

“Times are changing,” Coakley said. “The needs of the workforce are changing. Students needs are changing. Education is changing. Here in Roxbury, we have new programs for students. More and more teachers are looking to provide innovative or more effective methods of teaching.”

He also urged parents to join with the teachers and administrators in fostering improvement.

“As we continue to go about preparing the children of today for tomorrow we wish to re-emphasize the importance of parent involvement in education,” Coakley said. “Key partners in a child’s education and achievement are the teachers and the parents.”


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