SPARTA, NJ – The December board of education meeting seemed more like a celebration than business meeting.  The Sparta High School Shacappella singers and the Nightengales started the meeting off with some sounds of the holidays.

It was the last meeting for Kelly McEvoy and Michael McGovern as board members. Both were given plaques recognizing their service.  McEvoy was also given a large bouquet of flowers by superintendent Michael Rossi.

Neither McGovern nor McEvoy chose to run in the November election.

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“You’ve been very, very supportive of all of the many initiatives such as one-to-one [chromebook] and the turf field,” Rossi said to McGovern. 

Later McGovern said, “Thank you.  It’s been a good experience.  I’ve learned a lot about the district and interpersonal relationships.”

Board member Jason Ventresca said, “You should be commended for your dedication.”

Board member Kylen Anderson thanked McGovern for “picking up the phone and being willing to dialogue.”

“Thanks for listening,” Board member Karen Scott said.

“Thank you Mike for being there for me,” Board member Joanne Hoover said.

Rossi thanks McEvoy, whom he said was on the interview committee by whom “I was lucky enough to be chosen.”  He thanked her for guiding the board through the major initiatives, as with McGovern.   

“To say she has been a friend and supporter would be an understatement,” Rossi said. 

Before the meeting ended McEvoy addressed the issue that has caused two sets of ethics complaints to be filed against her and other board members.

“I stand behind my decision for supporting your contract,” she said to Rossi.  “I hands down believe we have phenomenal people in the classroom and at the helm.  I continue to be impressed by the caliber of people you have brought here.”

“I don’t know how we could not support you with the vision you have put in place,” McEvoy continued. “It would be negligent of us not to support the strategic plan and your leadership.”

To the board members present, McEvoy said, “The six years have flown.  I’ve dedicated my life to education.  I didn’t expect to learn so much.”

She thanked board members “who have become my friends; Karen as a mentor and a wonderful soul, Jack Surdoval was a mentor and friend.”

She said, “We have phenomenal educators here.  I’m a much better person from having been a part of this board.”

Anderson said, “Kelly, I did not know you before being on the board.  I found you collaborative and willing to hear opinions that were not your own.”

Scott told McEvoy, “I’m so proud of you.  I’m sorry people didn’t appreciate you. You were professional.”

“Thank you for being a role model,” Ventresca said.  “I love your fight and drive and how you stood up for the district.”

The reorganization meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 6, 2020 at 7:30 at Mohawk Avenue School.  New board members Niamh Grano and Kurt Morris and returning board member Kim Bragg will take their oaths of office.  New board leadership will also be chosen at that time.