Somerville Teachers: A Night to Celebrate, and a Night to Demonstrate

Dr. Timothy Teehan, superintendent of Somerville Schools, far left, with school principals and winners of the Teachers of the Year and Support Specialists of the Year awards. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Parents and teachers demonstrate outside the Somerville Middle School before Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Parents Bronwyn Pucci, left, and Michelle Eindhaven, demonstrate outside the Somerville Middle School before Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. Credits: Patti Verbanas
Patrick Frain, president of the Somerville Education Association, speaks at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - It was a night for the borough’s education community to reach out, embrace and celebrate the good work teachers and support staff do to mold and inspire their students day in and day out.

But Tuesday  was also a night to confront the impasse between the teachers’ union and board of education over a new contract.

Dr. Timothy M. Teehan, superintendent of schools and the principals of Van Derveer Elementary School, Somerville Middle School and Somerville High School presented the annual Teacher of the Year  and Support Specialist of the Year Awards at Tuesday night's regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.

Sign Up for E-News

Staff at each of the schools voted to select the winners:

Van Derveer Elementary School:  Teacher of the Year, PreK-2nd Grade, Jennifer Setzer; Teacher of the Year, 3-5th Grade, Meghan Royack; Educational Specialist of the Year, Paulette Weippert, PreK-2;  Educational Specialist of the Year, Grades 3-5th, Jill O’Leary.

Somerville Middle School: Teacher of the Year, Freddie Shaker; Educational Specialist of the Year, Helena Sroczynski.

Somerville High School: Teacher of the Year, Aida-Janet Wahba; Educational Specialist of the Year, Ellyn Stein.

Before the meeting began, dozens of parents and teachers holding handmade signs lined the sidewalk outside the Middle School  on West High Street.

The teachers’ most recent contract expired in June, 2017, with informational picketing by parents and teachers occurring on a more frequent basis over the past several weeks.

A major sticking point between the two sides is the increasing costs of medical benefits and the level of contributions to be required of each SEA member, according to Patrick Frain, president of the Somerville Education Association. Though teachers have received raises in previous years' contracts, the increasing costs of individuals' contributions to their medical coverage the past five years has resulted in a net loss, Frain said.

Several of the protestors spoke during the public session of the meeting in support of the teachers and a new contract.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Somerset County Employees' Health Center Opens in Somerville

June 12, 2018


SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders and officials from Integrity Health gathered for a June 12 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new health care facility on East Main Street.

The Somerset County Partnership Health Center (SCPHC) will serve as an on-site health, wellness and care coordination center for employees of Somerset County, the county Park Commission, ...

Overlook President Lieber Joins Imagine Leadership Council

June 8, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Alan Lieber, president of Overlook Medical Center, has joined the Leadership Council of Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss, the Mountainside-based nonprofit that offers free, year-round peer grief support for children, young adults and parents / guardians who have had a parent, sibling or child die, as well as support groups for caregivers of an adult or ...