SPARTA, NJ – In a special meeting on Monday night the board of education selected a new member to fill the seat vacated by Karen Scott. Robert Zywicki was approved by a vote of 6-0-1.
“I’m looking forward to joining my colleagues on the board to build consensus towards a student centered vision of the future of the district,” Zywicki said in an interview after the meeting.
"The Board is excited to welcome Dr. Zywicki to the Sparta Board of Education," Board President Kim Bragg said. "He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role. He will be an asset to the Board and to the Sparta District."
Board member Kylen Anderson abstained with the request that there be an inquiry about a potential conflict of interest because board Vice President Jen Grana works in the Mount Olive School District where Zywicki is the superintendent. Grana was not able to attend the meeting. Anderson is named as a respondent in an ethics complaint filed by Grana.
After executive session, the meeting was delayed while Board Secretary Pam Hinman called and Board President Kim Bragg sent a text to get Superintendent Michael Rossi in to the video conference meeting. Rossi did not respond. Although the superintendent was expected in the meeting he did not attend any part of it.
"I was very encouraged to hear that Dr. Zywicki was appointed to the empty seat at last nights meeting because I am sure he will bring an interesting new perspective and a wealth of knowledge that will prove to be useful," Grana said. “His past success in education speaks for itself and I think we are fortunate to have someone with that kind of track record on the board in Sparta.
Zywicki has been a resident of Sparta with his wife Melanie and four children since 2015. He volunteers his time coaching his children’s lacrosse and football teams. He previously coached youth soccer as well.
Prior to becoming superintendent in Mount Olive, he held the same position in Weehawken Township.
After graduating from Rutgers University, Zywicki began his career in education as a social studies teacher, from 2003 to 2010. In 2011 Zywicki took on the role of Supervisor of Social Studies at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. His move to administration came in 2013 at High Point Regional High School District where he was an assistant superintendent.
Zywicki said the two biggest honors he has received as an educator are being one of 15 superintendents nationwide to be named “Future Ready Thought Leaders” and having been selected “Friend of Education” last year by the Morris County Council of Education Associations, nominated by the Mount Olive Teachers’ Association.
The board also voted to accept Hinman's resignation. Anderson thanked Hinman. "I think she has been an asset to this district. I've enjoyed working with her. I found her to be very collaborative and professional at all times and I wish her the best."
Board member Joanne Hoover said, “I enjoyed getting to know you and working with you these past two years. Thank you for all of your help. I wish you all the best.”
Board member Jay Ventresca said, “Thank you for what you’ve done for the district…I’ve personally appreciated your guidance throughout my time on the board. Good luck.”
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 29. That meeting will be handled remotely with the Google Hangout link and call in number to be posted on the district website.
The meeting will include the 2020-2021 Budget Hearing.