Education

Fair Lawn BOE Bids Retirees Adieu

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FAIR LAWN, NJ – The school district will lose six longtime members of its faculty to retirement at year’s end, the majority of which served at least 30 years in the district.

On Jan. 18, board trustees accepted the retirements of teachers Lynda Saffer, Elizabeth Minichetti and Christine Hildebrandt; paraprofessionals Kathleen Serio and Patrice Barwick; and school nurse Kathleen Binetti.

“I had the privilege of working with several of these people and can certainly attest to their dedication,” Trustee Mary Wallace said.

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Saffer, an ancillary teacher serving in the Fair Lawn School District since 1986, “guided her young students in those basic educational skills so necessary to better meet the challenges in later life,” and “has endeared herself to students, parents, and colleagues alike,” according to the resolution.

Hildebrandt taught at Westmoreland Elementary since 1987 and was someone who “instilled in her young students a greater appreciation, awareness and understanding of the world around them.”

Minichetti taught math at Lyncrest School as well as Memorial and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools since 1985, and in that time “has through warm-hearted motivation encouraged many young students to widen their intellectual horizons and broaden their interest through participation in the field of mathematics.”

Trustee Mike Rosenberg said both Hildebrandt and Minichetti were “fixtures at their schools.”

The board celebrated Binetti, who worked as the school nurse at Thomas Jefferson Middle School since 1994 and was someone whose duties the district felt “reflected a genuine warmth and understanding to the individual needs of each child, and has at times exhibited a profound concern for health, safety, and welfare of students, staff, and the public at large.”

“I worked with her for 10 years,” said Wallace. “I always was in awe of a school nurse. I don’t think people really fully appreciate what a school nurse does… And we have some severely handicapped children in our schools in Thomas Jefferson and the school nurse really has to take a tremendous amount of care and attention.”

The district also had something to say about their paraprofessionals, Barwick and Serio, who served in the district for 21 and six years, respectively. Rosenberg said he attributes the Special Education’s function to the paraprofessionals and praised the “warmth they show our kids.”

“I wish Serio and Barwick a happy retirement,” he said.

Board President Ron Barbarulo and Trustee Mark Spindel agreed the employees’ longevity in the district is a testament to the Fair Lawn Board of Education and to their love of their job.

“I hate to see us losing so many good people,” Wallace said. “It is a loss to the district. Many wonderful young people will take their place, but here we have years of dedicated service. So I wish them a wonderful, wonderful retirement.”

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