Education

Changes in Store for Montville Schools' Administration

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Board Member Michael Johnson, Board Administrator James Tevis Credits: Melissa Benno
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Board Member Michael Johnson Credits: Melissa Benno
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District Administrator Jim Tevis Credits: Melissa Benno
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Supervisor of World Language and English as a Second Language Lisa Howard Credits: Melissa Benno
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Board Member Michael Palma Credits: Melissa Benno
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Rishi Meswani Credits: Melissa Benno
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Board President Matthew Kayne Credits: Melissa Benno
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District Administrator James Tevis Credits: Melissa Benno
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MONTVILLE, NJ – Several changes in district administration were detailed on the Montville Township Public Schools Board of Education meeting agenda on May 2, although they were not technically announced.

Business Administrator James Tevis will retire on July 1, and Supervisor of World Language and English as a Second Language Lisa Howard’s resignation takes effect July 1. Board Member Michael Johnson announced that he will not be re-running for office at the meeting. Board President Matthew Kayne indicated to TAPinto Montville that he is running for one of the two open seats on the Montville Township Committee (as of Jan. 1, 2018). Board Member Michael Palma told TAPinto Montville he will be re-running for his position. All three board of education positions will expire on Dec. 31.

This is in the wake of the April 18 BOE agenda, which indicated Lazar Middle School Principal Sharon Carr’s retirement.

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Board Member Charles Grau wished Tevis well, and said, “I can remember when you took office in 2008 when the board was having some problems, to put it mildly. I would like to thank you for all you have done for the children of Montville Township. We’ve had disagreements, which is normal, but you’ve always had the children in the forefront. I think you can leave here very proud of the work you’ve accomplished. Enjoy your retirement, it’s well deserved.”

Board Member Dr. Karen Cortellino said, “Not to rehash, but it was a big mess when you came on board. I served as board president for five and a half years, and I got to know you better. I think of your high standards, integrity, honesty and work ethic. I have never seen anyone surpass it. All the best.”

Palma recalled all the late nights he would drive past the board office and notice Tevis’ light on in his office. He said the district owes him a debt a gratitude for his service.

Kayne said the audits of the district had hundreds of problems before Tevis arrived and Tevis “changed the course of the district from a financial perspective.” Kayne praised Tevis’ professionalism.

Tevis thanked the board for their support, especially from the Finance Committee.

Interviews

According to a statement later issued by Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar, “We have had many highly qualified and exciting candidates apply for the positions of business administrator and world language supervisor. Initial screenings are well underway for both positions.

“In anticipation of interviewing final candidates for the position of business administrator, the Board of Education has scheduled a special closed-session meeting for May 23. Therefore, in preparation for that meeting, it is anticipated that initial screenings for the business administrator position will be completed next week.

“Additionally, next week we will continue to conduct initial screenings for the position of world language supervisor,” Rovtar concluded.

Johnson Single Term

Johnson told the board that he will not seek re-election, and said he shared the news with a mixture of “excitement and remorse.”

“Being unable to wholly commit myself to another three years of service with this body, I will be stepping aside so that other dedicated members of our community might step in to play their part,” Johnson said.

Johnson called his time on the board an “unforgettable experience.”

Cortellino said Johnson has made “such a positive impact on our board.” Kayne said Johnson had impressed “all of us, and members of the community.”

“It’s been an amazing experience [serving with you]. Wherever you go, you will be successful,” Kayne said. “Your impact on others is very strong. We’re so glad that you touched the school district for these three years.”

World Language

Howard was at the helm for the world language forum which former Superintendent of Schools Paul Fried convened, and the presentation that the resulting task force gave in the spring of 2015. The schools continue to make world language a priority, as seen in their 2016-2017 goals.

Essay Contest Winner

Tenth-grader Rishi Meswani was honored at the meeting as one of five finalists in the annual President John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage essay contest, sponsored by the JFK Presidential Library and Museum. Meswani wrote his essay on Senator Joseph H. Lehman (D-NY), who spoke out against Senator McCarthy in the 1950s. Meswani won $500, a copy of JFK’s book and a certificate.

Budget

The budget was reviewed and approved by the county superintendent, Rovtar said. Tevis said the budget would represent an increase by $149 in taxes for the average assessed house of $528,520. The budget was discussed in this article: budget and can be seen in a power point slide show on the district website here.

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