RANDOLPH, NJ- Chris Treston has resigned from the Randolph Board of Education Tonight. Treston was elected to the Board of Education in 2017.
He read the following statement at the end of the Tuesday night meeting:
"Tonight, I am asking the board to accept my resignation effective at the end of tonight’s session. I am sure there will be questions and theories about why I’ve made this decision. I’ll speak just a little about that in a minute, but first I want to acknowledge the members of the board.
As most people know, no board can operate as nine individuals. Certainly, we bring to the table our individual skills, and individual viewpoints, formed from individual experiences. But we act collectively. That’s what I think goes unnoticed most of the time, and so I want to make sure I recognize it here tonight. As a group, we listen to one another in committees and build consensus. It isn’t always a clean and easy process. We disagree sometimes, we get on each other’s nerves once in a while. But we work through it, and we do usually achieve a consensus. And even more importantly, once a decision is made, we honor the collective will of the board. What’s done, is done. We move on to the next item.
That’s how a high-performing team operates. It’s how the district has been able to sustain a 5-year trend of below-inflation budget increases. It’s how the district could achieve public support for a referendum to fund expanded and modernized facilities. And it’s how the district can pull together the people and resources it takes to establish innovative projects in the sciences, award-winning programs in the arts, and inspirational advances in special education, and ultimately be recognized for the very high quality of the educational program. Certainly, the faculty and administration are making the biggest impact, day in and day out. But it’s the hard work and cooperative spirit of these individuals here that provide our people with a firm foundation on which to build.
Personally, I have been grateful to all of you for your dedication: your availability, your candor, your collaboration, and your fellowship. When I came here, I said there were three things that I wanted to help do. They’re all getting done, and it’s because of all of you and the work you put in. You’re fostering a culture that attracts and retains great educators, by resolving some long-standing issues and creating new avenues for dialogue. You’re ensuring that our facilities and technology are state-of-the- art by making smart investments that build us up without breaking the bank. And you’re starting to build an environment in which the excellent work of the students is more visible and accessible, making our schools a place of community engagement and pride. You are doing all of these things, and my hope is that I have helped do my part.
So then, why am I leaving? The immediate speculation will be that I am doing this to somehow stop the ethics complaint that started about a year ago. I am not going to go into detail, but I will simply say that ethics proceedings do not get dismissed simply because a board member resigns. I am hopeful the case can be amicably resolved, but if not, I will continue to pursue my defense.
Here’s why I am resigning. In part, it is an acknowledgement that this has become a publicity circus, and I know it’s weighing on all of you and distracting you from the good work you’re doing. But in larger part, I am stepping down to restore some measure of normalcy to my family. You know me, I am not easily ruffled. I love a good debate, and I’m not afraid of criticism. But, my wife and my children have paid a heavy price. It might surprise some of you to know that my kids asked me to step down last September, even before the last campaign heated up. I didn’t listen to them. And for the last 20 months they have withstood some pretty unbelievable cruelty. I would like to look them in the eyes and tell them that it has all been worth it.
But the fact is, whatever I may have contributed in my time here, I know that there are others who are equally capable in their own ways. Where I am needed most is at home. And so, colleagues: I thank you again for your hard work and dedication to the students and faculty of this district. But more than that, I thank you for your willingness to do a job that I now know is far more thankless than I imagined two years ago. I feel certain that many, many people appreciate the work you do; perhaps silently, but more than you know."
When Treston was finshed, Anne Standridge stated, “With regret, I will make a motion to accept Mr. Treston’s resignation.
Each board member commented on the resignation and addressed Treston directly. Tammy Mackay even injected a bit of humor in her comments.
“Thank you for your contributions, I understand based on some of the things that have been going on,” said Mackay. “I hope you enjoy your family, and hey, you can still come here and go to the other side of the podium which might be even more fun.”
The other Board members echoed similar sentiments, all wishing Treston well and thanking him for the time, effort, and contribution he made to the Randolph community.
You led policy so well,” said Susan DeVito. “The time that committee takes, to do the email alerts and do it all well, is super intensive. You were great, and you will be missed.”
“I have noticed your contributions here on the board,- not only on the policy committee but behind the scenes, - you have brought a perspective that was important to all of us and you are clearly very intelligent,” said Jeanne Stifelman. “I always say family must come first, and being a board member sometimes that can be difficult. I am sorry that circumstances are such that you cannot find a way to finish your term.”
Gerald Eckert then added, “Your knowledge of Roberts Rules and the whole order of how meetings should be put together; those are some serious skills that we will be missing when you are gone. But I understand why, and want you to know that you will be a hard act to follow.”
The board then agreed to hold interviews the second meeting in October for the now vacant seat.