LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Members of the Passaic Valley Board of Education approved the hire of a new special education teacher, Justin Bronner, at its June 27 regular meeting. Bronner was formally introduced at the meeting by Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, superintendent.

Bronner is set to start on Sept. 1 for the 2017-2018 school year. He will begin his Step 1 Class 3 Passaic Valley Educational Association (PVEA) contracted salary in the amount of $50,059.

He previously taught at Basking Ridge Middle School, as well as Cliffside Park's elementary and middle schools. He holds a bachelor's and masters degree from Keene State University in New Hampshire. He is also certified for special education.

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"I just want to thank everyone here for this opportunity," said Bronner. "I'm really looking forward to it. It's a great honor and I won't let you down."

Also approved by the board was the hiring of Jacqueline Brody as reading intervention teacher. Brody will have the same contractual salary as Bronner and will also begin on Sept. 1.

Corporate Sponsorship/Grant Opportunities for S.T.E.M.

Board members also approved to pursue corporate sponsorship from Red Bull in order to support the implementation of the high school's S.T.E.M. explorations course. Cardillo said there is an opportunity for the high school to write a grant to Red Bull,  in order to help fund the course.

"Red Bull usually sponsors athletic programs," said Cardillo. "However, there may be a chance for academic funding from them."

Additionally, the board approved to pursue a grant from Lockheed Martin in the amount of $10,000 to support the course.

Superintendent's Report

In her report, Cardillo reflected on the recent commencement ceremony for the Class of 2017, stating that she appreciated the board's participation.

"The sound system was great, and we had some great feedback," she said. "All in all, it went well."

Cardillo also commented on the summer planning to help administrators prepare for September.

"On July 18 and 19 we have team building for administrators, and we're looking at data for support," she explained, adding that another administrative developmental session will take place in early August.

Superintendent Merit Goals

Cardillo was also approved for a merit bonus by the board for five merit goals attained. The first of the said goals were developed in curriculum and instruction for the expansion of S.T.E.M. programs, by developing the makerspace high school laboratory. The second goal was for developing curriculum and instruction in the humanities, with a middle school transition program. The third goal was also for curriculum and instruction for the regional development professional development day. Goal four was for operation with implementing human resources job descriptions. Goal five was for community engagement/strategic planning.

Cardillo's non-pensionable merit bonus is in the amount of $22,110 and is subject to approval from the county's superintendent's office that the criteria was reviewed, and the goals and objectives were met.

Security Upgrades

Board members also approved security door lock upgrades throughout the entire high school. Colin Monahan, business administrator and board secretary, recommended the purchase approval of the amount of $175 per unit at an approximate cost of $17,000 to Daval Hardware Associates, Inc., located in Totowa. The funding for the equipment was approved in the 2017-2018 capital projects budget.  The funding stems partially from the high school's recent land sale to Shop Rite, which is being designated for the security door locks, as well as a science lab and locker room shower ventilation system. 

Monahan said the uprades would take place over the course of the summer months.