November 17, 2022 Public Meeting Recap | Vol. 2, Issue 3

Highlights from the November 17, 2022 - Regular Session Board of Education Meeting

The District will share a monthly newsletter with the SOMSD community to keep you informed and to provide a recap of key action items discussed and approved by the Board of Education during their monthly regular Public Session meetings. The BOE meeting recap newsletter will be shared monthly after each regular session public BOE meeting (and will only be provided for regular-session Board meetings).

Board President's Monthly Statement

The school board meeting is a business meeting in public and not a meeting with the public. Oftentimes it may appear to members of our audience that the Board of Education takes action with very little comment and in many cases a unanimous vote. Before a matter is placed on the agenda at a public meeting, the Administration has thoroughly reviewed the matter with the Superintendent of Schools/Chief School Administrator (CSA). If the Superintendent of Schools/Chief School Administrator is satisfied that the matter is ready to be presented to the Board of Education, it is then referred to the appropriate Board Committee. The Members of the Board Committee work with Administration and the Superintendent to assure that the members fully understand the matter. After the committee discusses the matter, it is presented to the full Board for discussion before any action is taken. Only then, is it placed on the agenda for action at a public meeting.

Superintendent's Monthly Report

Congratulations to 35 Newly Tenured SOMSD Staff

During the November 17 Board meeting, 35 SOMSD educators were acknowledged for achieving tenure with the District since the beginning the 2022-23 SY (starting in July 2022). The honorees were invited attend the Board meeting to receive this inaugural recognition (only five of educators were able to attend in person). All honoree's received a certificate of recognition from the District. Moving forward the District will acknowledge tenured staff in the fall and spring of each school year.

In the State of New Jersey under the TEACHNJ Act, the earning and keeping of tenure is linked to the results of a teacher or principal's annual summative evaluation. Effective August 6, 2012, teachers, principals, and assistant/vice principals must complete four years of employment to be eligible for tenure under the following evaluation requirements:

  • To earn tenure, a new teacher must complete a district mentorship program during his/her first year of employment. After completion of this program, the teacher must be rated either effective or highly effective in two of the three subsequent years.
  • To earn tenure, a new principal, assistant principal, or vice principal must be rated either effective or highly effective in two annual summative evaluations within the first three years of employment, with the first effective rating on or after completion of the second year.

SOMSD educators who received tenure are listed below:

  1. Karen Thomany
  2. Kristin Auriemma
  3. Daniel Bailey-Yavonditte
  4. Sarah Benenati
  5. Kathleen Carlsen-Gaffney
  6. Giulia Catalano
  7. Marissa DeMartino
  8. Sarah Fakhoury
  9. Avis Gibbons-Williams
  10. Jesse Hein
  11. Marc Kessler
  12. Christine Kleinwaks
  13. Juliana Kong
  14. Dominique Laing-Rogers
  15. Nicole Massoud
  16. Sara Miller
  17. Karen Murphy
  18. Danielle Patterson
  19. Nicholas Picillo
  20. Brianna Quatrone
  21. Jessica Rothbard
  22. Nancy Sabato
  23. Amy Schwinder
  24. Bianca Silver
  25. Katherine Subbie
  26. Nicole Thomas
  27. Hannah Waxman
  28. Christina Whalen
  29. Mary Feeney
  30. Bonnie Hellstern
  31. Shane Zeigler
  32. Nicole Diluzio
  33. Susan Jurist
  34. Molly Maggiore
  35. Nicole Chirlo

Board President Monthly Report/Update:

Board President Joshua Thair Monthly Update:
View/Search SOMSD Board of Education Policies

The District has partnered with Strauss Esmay to provide a more user-friendly and easier way for community members to view/search for District-approved BOE policies/regulations. Polices can be found by # or by inputting a search request by subject.

Board of Education Meeting - Public Session - November 17 2022

Current BOE Members

Note: to email all board members, please email

Thair Joshua
Board President
Term: 2020 - 2022

Susan Bergin (1st Vice-President)
Term: 2021 - 2023

Kaitlin Wittleder (2nd Vice-President)

Term: 2022 - 2024


Elissa Malespina
Term: 2021 - 2023

Erin Siders
Term: 2020 - 2022

Qawi Telesford

Term: 2022 - 2024


Arun Vadlamani

Term: 2022 - 2024


Courtney Winkfield
Term: 2021 - 2023

Johanna Wright
Term: 2020 - 2022

Student Representatives to the Board of Education

Noah Morros
Term: 2021 - 2022

Vanessa Previlon
Term: 2021 - 2022

South Orange & Maplewood School District

The mission of the South Orange Maplewood School District is to empower and inspire each student to explore and imagine, to pursue personal passions, and to collectively create a better future by creating a learner-centered environment through multiple pathways; reimagined structures, systems and supports; innovative teaching; partnering with families; and maximizing community expertise and resources.