Clark Board of Education Pauses to Remember Caitlin Nelson

Clark Board of Education President Jill Curran, center, paused to remember Caitlin Nelson, a 2014 Arthur L. Johnson High School graduate who died on Sunday. Credits: Kristen Busch
Clark Superintendent of Schools Edward Grande. Credits: Kristen Busch

CLARK, NJ – Its monthly meeting started on a somber note Tuesday night, as the Clark Board of Education took a moment to remember Arthur L. Johnson High School graduate and Clark resident Caitlin Nelson. Nelson died earlier this week after choking at a sorority dinner at Sacred Heart University last Thursday.

“On Sunday, our community suffered the loss of one of our graduates, Caitlin Nelson,” Board President Jill Curran said.  “She was 20 years old.  Caitlin was a genuine, beautiful and kind young lady who made a positive impact on our schools and on our town.  She will be missed by so many.”

Before moving on to the agenda, Curran asked the public to join the board in remembering Nelson with a moment of silence.  

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After the approval of the minutes, the board then went quickly through the evening’s agenda. 

During his report, Superintendent Ed Grande reminded the public that the district’s spring break begins Monday, April 10, with students and faculty returning April 18.  Grande explained that school will remain closed on April 17, a designated snow “give back” day that was not used during the winter months.

Grande welcomed two new personnel to the district.   

Gregory MacArthur was appointed as a maternity leave replacement music teacher at Carl H. Kumpf Middle School.  “We are excited to have Greg join our family,” Grande said.

“Stacie Miller will also be coming aboard when we return from spring break as a school psychologist maternity leave position,” Grande said.  “We welcome her aboard.”

Grande expressed his thanks for three donations that were accepted by the board on Tuesday evening.  ALJ student Holly Zarzecki donated an iPad to the Department of Special Services.  Mrs. Price donated school supplies for use at Valley Road Elementary School.  Lastly, the Frank K. Hehnly PTA donated 300 black folding chairs to be used at the school.

“Looking back at the past few weeks, PARCC began at Arthur L. Johnson and Valley Road schools," Grande said. "It is moving to our other two schools, Hehnly and Kumpf, in late April and May. We are proud to say it has been going smoothly so far.”

On March 23, ALJ Senior Matthew Gallo represented Clark at the Union County Unsung Heroes Recognition Program, a program sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association.

“Matthew is beyond a well-deserving candidate for this recognition,” Grande said.

Looking ahead, the district-wide Band Bonanza is scheduled for Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the ALJ lower gym. 

“Its always great to see the four schools come together for this musical performance,” Grande said.

The board concluded the evening with various recognitions.  Story to follow.

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