BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Thursday night's meeting of the Berkeley Heights Board of Education was the final one for Paul Beisser, whose seats will be taken over by Bill Cassano. Beisser sat on the board for 19 years, serving four as president.

Superintendent Judy Rattner, current and former Board Members [Ciro Scalera, Ted Romankow, Donna Boyd, Mayor Joe Bruno, Dr. Richard Bozza, Frank Geiger], along with Beisser's wife Lollie, son Brandon and brother were in attendance.

"You are the kind of person that listened carefully and asked thoughful questions," said Rattner. "Hopefully because of that, things in the district are done just a little better as a result of that. And I thank you for that."

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Beisser's involvement with the board spanned the period of time of the reopening of Hamilton Terrace School [Mary Kay McMillin]; deregionalization of Gov. Livingston High School; the addition of athletic programs including boys and girls lacrosse, fencing, hockey and girls volleyball; facility construction projects to all six of the district schools including the GL auditorium, Columbia gym, installation of the turf field, and most recently the construction of the Columbia "B" wing.

"We could count on his knowledge, insight and leadership," said Board President Helen Kirsch.

"He has an ability to articulate his position and compromise amongst the board," said Board Member Doug Reinstein. "His passion for doing what is right for the students never waivers."

Reinstein credits Beisser for being behind the recent focus on measuring student achievement. 

"We developed a comprehensive student achievement dash board that sets us apart from other districts," said Reinstein. 

A plaque was presented to Beisser for his years of dedication. "He was tirelessly committed to improve the district. He will be missed as a valued member," said Reinstein.

Beisser, grateful for  the special recognition, thanked his friends, family and past board members who attended. 

"Being on the Board has enriched my life and I should be thanking you," said Beisser, of the many friendships made through the years. "It was a great experience. I encourage people to run [for a board seat]."