Dear Editor,

I began my freshman year of high school in 1999. Everyone remembers the pressures of being a young person in high school trying to deal with fitting in, the introduction of hormones, and figuring out whom they are and who they want to be. 

I was not a big fan of school or homework at all; however, I did look forward to the second to last period of the day: Mr. Diehl’s freshman world history class. This new teacher at South Plainfield High had us on the edge of our seats every day while teaching us about the world and real-life situations. He quickly became my favorite teacher.

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Fast-forward twenty years, and I am a social studies teacher trying to bring history to life in my own classroom. One of the main reasons I decided to become a teacher is because I wanted to be like Mr. Diehl and help students through some of the hardest times of their lives. 

As a former Board of Education member, I was able to see Mr. Diehl in a different role: principal of Roosevelt Elementary. He was amazing with staff, students, parents, and the community. This man truly cares and gives 100% effort all the time. 

Towards the end of my tenure on the BOE I decided to run for a seat on the borough council to try to make our community a better place. The most distressing offense of my life was released to every newspaper in New Jersey. Having my name plastered everywhere was one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with. You really find out who is in your corner when something like that happens. 

I will never forget my last BOE meeting when Mr. Diehl came up to me and told me to keep working hard and continue to grow as an educator and a person. I live by that mantra everyday trying to affect the lives of every student I come across in a positive way. This man had such an effect on me as a student, and an adult, and I am forever grateful. Imagine what effect he has and would have on thousands of students at SP High.

Bob Diehl is the perfect person to lead South Plainfield High School. It is crucial to have an educational leader that is firm, fair, and consistent, but at the same time able to create relationships with staff, students, and parents. Since 1999, this man has invested in our youth and our community. If he does not get a chance to continue his leadership at the high school, it will be a disservice to our students, staff, and parents. 

Our school district has hired an outside firm Tomko, Tomko and Associates to find the next principal of SP High not to exceed $3,975.00. In my opinion, the search could have been done in-house with our own superintendent of schools and a committee of staff, BOE members, students, and community members. Instead, we are paying the Belleville superintendent to complete this task. 

If you agree with me that Mr. Bob Diehl is the best educational leader for the job, I am challenging you to speak up at the next BOE meeting (3/18) or contact the superintendent, Dr. Noreen Lishak: nlishak@spboe.org

In the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.

Joseph Sorrentino