BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater-Raritan board of education members Pat Breslin and Aaron Kurdyla, and superintendent Victor Hayek were honored for service during their final board of education meeting Dec. 15.
Breslin and Kurdyla did not seek re-election to the board this year, and Hayek submitted his resignation earlier this school year.
“In January, this board will be very different, I just want to say goodbye,” board president Ann Marie Mead said.
Hayek was the first to receive the board's farewell.
“We wish Dr. Hayek luck in the future,” Mead said.
Hayek served the district for 16 months, and submitted his resignation letter in September. He said he got a job at a district in California and will be relocating there with his family.
“You are one of the few that can make change happen,” Mead said. “I believe the district is much better off today than it was a year ago.”
Breslin, who has been a board member since 2009, served a total of six years for the Bridgewater community.
“Fellow board members, we’ve agreed and disagreed about a number of issues, but I’m glad this district attracted people with your enthusiasm,” he said.
Mead expressed her gratitude to Breslin as a board member, and said he will be missed.
“I was a new board president this year, and I did not have a firm idea of what this job entailed, but you had the time to give me a solid answer,” she said.
Kurdyla was also praised for his time spent on the board. He served one three-year term.
“You more than anyone have pushed us to be more transparent,” Mead said. “Personally, I would’ve never thought two years ago I would have been sorry to see you leave, it was bad and you can attest to that, but I am grateful for your support this year.”
Kurdyla agreed with Mead that their relationship on the board was not exactly a friendly one, but said they were able to get over their differences.
“Ann Marie, saying we wanted to beat each other over the head is an understatement, but you’re a very tough, smart person and we had some great discussions,” he said. “You’ve done a great job with the board despite everything going on.”
Each of the leaving board members offered suggestions for 2016.
Breslin said the board had some complications with conducting certain business in the public, and added that internal quarrels kept them from making progress.
“I’m least proud that we’ve tolerated factions within the board," he said. "These have distracted us and denied the people the right to have public business proceeded in public. I’m pleased to see that diminished this year, but we need to focus far less on making rules and more on making opportunities.”
Breslin, Kurdyla and Hayek also received gifts from the board and plaques to commemorate their service to the Bridgewater-Raritan community.
“If there are a few words to sum up this district, there’s a sense of spirit that is unparalleled,” Hayek said.