LIVINGSTON, NJ - The last Livingston Board of Education meeting of 2012 took place Monday night, Dec. 10, and it was filled with emotion as residents and board members said their goodbyes to Board members Charles Granata and Bonnie Granatir whose terms expire in January.

In addition to their colleagues speaking highly of them, residents and Mayor Stephen Santola praised them for their efforts. Granata was unable to attend the meeting, but Granatir spoke with The Alternative Press about her time on the board.

“The beauty of this community is that it is committed to the education of its kids,” Granatir said. “I feel very lucky that my kids were raised in a community that supports education.”

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Granatir moved to Livingston in 1986.  Two of her children went through the school system and the other two are in high school. She was involved in the PTA for 12 years and regularly attended board meetings, so she said it seemed like a natural progression to become part of the Board.

“I felt eager to contribute on a bigger level,” Granatir said.

She spent almost a decade serving the district and is grateful for her time on the board. Some of her accomplishments include bringing Superintendent Dr. Brad Draeger to Livingston because his hiring led to strategic leadership, two referenda and solar panels at the schools. She said she is also pleased with the great relationship between the Town Council and the Board of Education.

When she began on the Board she said there were issues with board governance, but today things are more cohesive and transparent. Granatir said the roles, responsibilities and interaction between members have changed greatly, as well.

“I think this board has really moved forward,” she said. “I think it’s been a learning experience.”

After discussing her departure a year ago with her family, she knew it was time to step down and give someone else the opportunity to help the community. She said she is ready to take on new adventures in life and it will definitely be nice to be home for dinner on a Monday night.

Board President Leslie Winograd said Granatir is a great person and she will miss serving on the board with her. Winograd said Granatir was dedicated and committed to furthering the education of the Livingston students and her shoes will be tough to fill.

“Bonnie is fantastic.  She’s such a classy person,” Winograd said.

In other business, there was a Strategic Plan presentation dealing with honors and advanced placement classes where the board was informed that in Livingston, 70 percent of the students by their junior year are in a honors or AP classes and 95 percent score a 3 or higher on the AP test, which is 20 percent higher than the state average. Draeger also spoke about the new teacher evaluation module and how each educator will be assessed.

The reorganization meeting will take place on Jan. 7 and on Jan. 16 there will be a budget referendum meeting.