WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Special Education Parent Advisory Council (WOSEPAC) recently held its first meeting of the school year at Liberty Middle School and the Meet and Greet proved enthusiastic and informational for participants.

Chair Ellen Gilio welcomed attendees, which included West Orange Board of Education President Sandra Mordecai, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and Child Study Team members.

Newly appointed Director of Special Services Kristen Gogerty introduced herself and staff members in attendance.

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“I have always been amazed at the team effort and partnership between school staff and parents/guardians in working to ensure that each students' individualized needs are being addressed,” said Gogerty. “I think we can all agree that we are all sitting in this room with one common interest, which includes the students of West Orange.”

Gogerty also emphasized the importance of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council and its role in establishing a partnership between parents/guardians and the school district.

“It is my hope along with members of SEPAC to establish a positive advisory organization, which provides resources and educational opportunities to our staff members and parents/guardians in the West Orange community,” she said.

School Liaison Jason Davidson agreed, stating that the group is non-adversarial.

“We are here to work with the school district,” he said.

Resource Chair Gina Velazquez discussed the upcoming meeting on Nov. 16, which will be held at Edison Middle School and be an educational events with various providers. A special Statewide Parent Advocacy Network START Project roundtable meeting will also be held on Nov. 28 in the Liberty Middle School Cafeteria from 7-9 p.m.

Recording Secretary Amber Newsome discussed the purpose of WOSEPAC and the benefits and goals they hoped to accomplish. She also discussed the difference between an individual issue, such as a child, and a systemic issue, which would impact a broader spectrum of students.

WOSEPAC leadership roles for the year are:

Chair: Ellen Gilio 

Co-Chair and Chair of Educational Events: Joanne De Simone 

Recording Secretary: Martha Singer 

Chair of the Web Committee: Gina Fondetto 

Resource Chair: Gina Velazquez

School Liaison: Jason Davidson

Corresponding Secretary: Amber Newsome

To see all the photos from the WOSEPAC meeting, click here.

Read more about WOSEPAC here.