SUMMIT, NJ - It was a night of celebrations, comings and goings at the April Summit Board of Education meeting.
At a reception prior to the meeting, and during its opening segment, the school body honored the Summit Educational Foundation (SEF) on its 30th anniversary.
Foundation board members Christine Murray and Irene Murdock presented Summit Superintendent of Schools June Chang and Board of Education President Katherine Kalin a symbolic check for $5,404,078, representing the amount of money awarded in grants to the city’s schools by the organization during its 30 years.
Murdock and Murray introduced foundation founding board members Thomas Clingen and Joan White and Sandra Bloom, the wife of founding board member John Bloom.
They also noted that the foundation's grants affected every student in the district at every level and received contributions last year from 740 families across Summit.
Additionally, the duo highlighted the foundation’s “30 for 30 Campaign,” which asks supporters to contribute donations in multiples of $30 to signify the anniversary milestone.
Personnel announcements also took center stage at the meeting as Dr. Julie Glazer, Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Curriculum and Instruction for the past eight years, revealed that she will be leaving the Hilltop City district at the end of the current school year.
Glazer is expected to be appointed superintendent of schools in Nutley on Monday, April 25 and officially take over her new post in July.
In making the announcement, the assistant superintendent said she didn’t think she would ever be able to replicate the talented team with whom she worked in Summit. She added that she hoped the programs she developed would live on long after she leaves the Summit post.
Chang said he would be forever grateful to Glazer for helping him move into the process and easing his transition when he took over the reins of the city schools just over a year ago.
During her tenure in Summit, Dr. Glazer spearheaded professional learning and curriculum throughout the district. Her role included district testing coordination, oversight of all title grants, and planning and implementation of new curriculum.
The responsibilities currently undertaken by Glazer will be divided into two roles: Director of elementary education and director of secondary education. A search for people to fill these positions will commence immediately.
Chang added the directors will have to be specialists in data, they will have to administer the gifted and talented and remediation programs as well as federal Title I, II and III grants as well as determining the future face on instruction and provide support for in-class instruction, particular at the secondary level.
On another matter, the Summit board unanimously confirmed the appointment of Patrick Scarpello as the new athletic director for the city’s public schools, effective July 1, at a salary of $123,000.
Scarpello, who will succeed Robert Lockhart, currently serves as vice principal at Bolger Middle School in Keansburg. The retiring Lockhart has held the Summit position since July 2013.
As Summit’s athletic director, Scarpello will be responsible for scheduling games, hiring coaches and officials, ensuring the safety and good sportsmanship of Summit teams and student athletes, and overseeing all district coaches and sports’ programs.
The city district earlier announced the new athletic director would be expected to raise the profile of the Summit athletic program.
In his current role as vice principal at Bolger Middle School, Scarpello is responsible for building the master schedule and running the Positive Behavior Support in Schools program, which holds students accountable for their behavior.
Prior to this role, he worked at Hillsborough Township Public Schools from 2012 until 2014 as their assistant athletic director. There, he handled the oversight of the middle school athletic program, evaluating the physical education and health teachers and assisting with the operation of the high school athletic department. While serving in this role, he worked with other athletic directors to start a middle school athletic association.
Scarpello has coached girls’ soccer, girls’ basketball and both girls’ and boys’ lacrosse at levels ranging from middle school to college.
“I am impressed with Dr. Scarpello’s enthusiasm for and knowledge of athletics, his high energy, and his focus on students – both academically and athletically,” said Chang. “Throughout the interview process, Dr. Scarpello consistently talked about education-based athletics, and advocated that the goal of an excellent athletic program should be about developing strong, well-rounded student athletes. I am confident that he will bring an energetic, inclusive, and innovative approach to the athletic director position.”
Scarpello has his bachelor’s degree in kindergarten to 12th grade physical education from Wesley College in Delaware, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and his doctorate in higher education leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware. His doctoral dissertation examined the relationship between academic achievement and athletics.
In accepting the appointment, the new athletics department head said he had been in New Jersey since 2007 and, since his first coaching assignment, it had been his ultimate goal to become an athletic director.
Scarpello said he probably would not get to completely know the greatness of the Summit program until he assumes his new post in July.
In another action at the meeting, the school board unanimously accepted the resignation of Summit High School Assistant Principal Michael Lapotasky, effective June 30.
Board members also accepted two donations of $8,401 each from the Summit Basketball Club to fund boys freshman basketball coach and girls varsity assistant basketball coach positions.
Also accepted were $7,354 from the Summit Women’s Lacrosse Association to fund a varsity women’s lacrosse assistant coach position and $15,507 from the Summit Men’s Lacrosse Association to fund two varsity men’s lacrosse assistant coach positions.
The meeting also saw a presentation on special education by Sandra Gogerty, Union County supervisor of child study, and Summit Director of Special Services Jane Kachmar-Desonne.
Gogerty outlined the regulations under which special education programs operate in the county and the state, governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and the New Jersey Administrative Code.
She said the goal of all programs was to allow children with special needs to learn in the least restrictive environment.
She added that, although Summit is classified as a high performing district, the city public schools, as with all public schools in the state, need to pay more attention to students in the middle—those who are neither the highest performing nor classified as in need of public education.
Kachmar-Desonne, assisted by special education supervisors Christine Lejoi and Mary Beth Reardon, outlined the programs available from pre-school to high school in the Summit public schools.
They noted the success of the Summit High School Store and the Disability Learning Center in Warren Township in helping special education students from Summit learn the skills they need to succeed in everyday life.
In response to a parent’s question DeSonne said students may have an an individual educational program of IEP started for the special education program in Summit by referral either by their parent or a teacher who notices the need for a student to join the program.
Responding to another parent, she noted that classified students can receive support in the least restrictive environment in their home district from resource room teachers, in self-contained classrooms or within classrooms with general education students.
On another matter, assistant superintendent for business Louis Pepe told Kim Leonard of 81 Beekman Road that specific information on city plans for renovation of Wilson Field would come through city community programs director Judith Leblein Josephs because the field belonged to the city.
Pepe added that any increased parking in the Wilson School lot adjacent to the field was not expected to have an impact on the school. He said the school district was satisfied that its arrangement with the city, whereby school staff members parked in designated spots during the school day, was working effectively.
Pepe noted a turf field proposed for Wilson Field was on land owned by the city and the school district did not have control over that land.
Leonard said neighbors were concerned that the turf field would be too close to the school.