WOODLAND PARK, NJ - At the March 3 Borough Council meeting, four women were honored in recognition of Women’s History Month for their contributions to the Borough: Barbara Wood, co-owner of Magic Years Pre-School; Sherry Van Dyk, a long-time local union official and Planning Board member; Linda Pinsky-Mauro, COO of Berkeley College, Woodland Park campus; and Dr. Michele Pillari, Borough Superintendent of Schools. Each has made invaluable contributions to the community, according to Mayor Keith Kazmark.
"I don't think we could have assembled four more deserving individuals to be recognized for this honor," Mayor Kazmark said.
Dr. Michele Pillari
Dr. Pillari has been serving the students of Woodland Park as Superintendent of Schools since 2013. Before coming to Woodland Park, she served in Principal positions in Haledon and North Haledon as well as Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Wyckoff School District.
During her years in Woodland Park, the District has seen immense student improvement on state testing. Dr. Pillari also oversaw the implementation of the District’s Technology Plan, which has resulted in a 1-1 student laptop program and upgrades to internal operating systems. Under her leadership, and working with the Board of Education and administration, the District has remained fiscally responsible to residents with its annual operating budget by providing the very best possible for the students with the least amount of financial impact.
"There was a lot of transition when (Dr. Pillari) inherited this School District," Kazmark said. We had gone through some tumultuous times, but (Dr. Pillari) steadied the ship and brought our District forward."
Pinsky-Mauro serves as Berkeley College Campus Operating Officer at the Woodland Park campus and Berkeley College Online with responsibilities such as overseeing day-to-day operations, finances, budgets, community partnerships and staff training and development.
Pinsky-Mauro also serves as the vice chairwoman for the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce and as an advisory council board member for Dress for Success - Northern NJ, supporting professional development for under-employed women.
"Berkeley and Woodland Park have had a long history of supporting one another," Kazmark said. "No one has been a better partner than Linda."
Barbara Wood arrived in then-West Paterson in May 1974, fresh out of Montclair State with her teaching certification for kindergarten and pre-school. Later, she went on to obtain her master’s in education. Wood was hired by Childcraft PreSchool at 377 Lackawanna Ave. as their head teacher. Back then, very few people knew about or understood early childhood education for children. In 1978, Wood and her husband Roger purchased the business and buildings and Magic Years PreSchool Learning Center Inc. was born.
Working to develop and maintain a high standard of care and education for the youngest students, they were able to make early childhood education a priority and necessity for children. Wood also taught kindergarten at Beatrice Gilmore School from 2001 to 2006. She had the honor to be named Teacher of the Year in 2006.
"What's striking is the rich tradition that exists there (at Magic Years). You will not find a more loving and nurturing environment," Kazmark said, noting that the Wood's 43rd anniversary of owning the business was this very same day.
Sherry Van Dyk
Van Dyk worked for Acme Supermarkets as a bookkeeper for 25 years and is currently employed at United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1245, now Local 360 in Little Falls, for the last 22 years. She is the Secretary-Treasurer of Local 360, which is nearly 10,000 members strong.
In addition, Van Dyk served for the last 15 years as a regional coordinator of New York and New Jersey for the UFCW Women’s Network and was elected this past year as the treasurer of the UFCW National Women’s Network. She served for several years on the local Zoning Board and served for over a decade as a Planning Board member. Van Dyk is also the secretary for the Woodland Park Democratic Organization.
"We really appreciate the partnership with our friends at the UFCW," Kazmark said.