UNION, NJ – Several Union schools received a special visit from New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet on Friday.

First stop for Repollet, who was accompanied by State Senator Joseph Cryan, Superintendent Gregory Tatum and Assistant Superintendents Gerry Benaquista and Annie Moses, was Burnet Middle School.

“Dr. Repollet was fantastic in his interactions with the students,” said Tatum.  “It was an honor to have him visit our schools to see some of the wonderful things we have going on.”

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During their visit to Burnet Middle School, the group visited an eighth-grade social studies African American Museum where students presented their work commemorating Black History Month.  Students presented their research and findings on important subjects of the African diaspora and American history, and the Commissioner and Senator interacted with students on their projects.

“It was an honor to have Dr. Repollet and Sen. Cryan visit Burnet Middle School and our African American Museum exhibit,” said Burnet Middle School Principal Shaw.  “The visit provided our students an opportunity to display their work and interact with our distinguished guests. Mr. Costello, Ms. Sheahan, and Mr. King’s classes worked extremely hard on the exhibit and the students were excited to have this opportunity to shine.”

The group’s next stop was to Connecticut Farms Elementary School.  With Principal Michelle Warren, the visitors stopped into a third grade classroom where students worked in various circles to solve problems, with Repollet and Cryan sitting with students, discussing the lessons. 

“Visiting some of Union’s schools with Commissioner Repollet was an honor,” said Cryan, “especially during Black History Month.  I was fascinated with the projects the students presented and very impressed with the way they represented themselves."

Repollet requested a visit to an autistic classroom and visited a second-grade classroom where students were working on hands-on Native Americans lessons and the different types of homes they had. Students used materials including sticks, tape, and even marshmallows to recreate the Native American homes.

The visitor’s dropped into a Student Council meeting where students shared ways they enforce positive behavior in others. Last on the agenda at Connecticut Farms School was a dance party in a physical education class.

“It was a pleasure having Dr. Repollet visit Connecticut Farms School,” said Warren.  “My staff, students and I loved the fact that Dr. Repollet engaged with the students and the staff.  Dr. Repollet walked around our building to see the great things happening in our school. Our doors are always open for another visit.  Dr. Repollet is a true educator and understands when students are engaged and when interactions are high, it's a sign of a healthy school.”

“What an amazing day,” said Board of Education President Nancy Minneci.  “It was a pleasure meeting, spending time with and watching Commissioner Repollet interact with our students and staff.  He is truly dedicated to the children of New Jersey.”

Hannah Caldwell School’s Pre-K program welcomed the group next, joined by Union County Superintendent Daryl  Palmieri, Lauren Walker, Supervisor of the Pre-K program and Dr. Kira Baskerville-Williams, Vice Principal.  Repollet visited several Pre-K classrooms and interacted with students doing various activities.   He participated in story time, reading"Little Red Riding Hood" to the Pre-K students. 

Last to receive the visitors was Livingston Elementary, where the school's TREP$ was holding an " In School" Marketplace.  Repollet walked around to each table and made several purchases.

“Commissioner Repollet took the time to get to know some of our students and his passion for excellence in education emulated during his visit,” added Benaquista.


In the interest of transparency, TAPinto Union's publisher, Kathy Cryan, is married to State Senator Joseph Cryan.