Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Frelinghuysen School Tells Their New Leader: ‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’

after getting a glimpse of her a couple weeks earlier, on June 28th Frelinghuysen’s Board of Education formally welcomed their new Chief School Administrator: Ms. Jarlyn Veras.

In a meet and greet attended by several attentive parents, board members asked Veras about her background and experience. The community learned that Veras has worked in education for over eighteen years.

“I have served as an instructional coach, a building principal, and recently as the Director of Curriculum and special education,” Veras said. “So I have a background in building leadership and district leadership.”

As the Director of Curriculum Instruction and Student Services in North Haledon, Veras said, she has extensive experience working with guidance counselors and child study teams, monitoring individualized education plans (IEPs), and working with learning differences, including both disabilities and giftedness.

Veras described previous experience with writing curriculum and creating professional development experiences for teaching staff. With a teasing reminder from board member Ellen Peterson, Veras added that she also has grant-writing experience– a valuable skill in a school that has seen its state aid reduced by several hundred thousand dollars over the space of a few years.

The board’s last question pivoted from the past to the future: what was Veras most looking forward to in her new role as Frelinghuysen’s Chief School Administrator? Veras had a lot to say. “I’m excited to join a community that I can see really cares about learning,” she said. She attended Frelinghuysen’s last day of school and noticed the warm, sometimes tearful interactions between students and teachers as the year ended.

Even the attentive questions posed by the board during the interview process made a positive impression on Veras. “I could really tell just by the questions the board was asking that it really cares about kids, that it cares about the learning and wants children to excel, and I’m really excited to be part of something like that,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to being part of this small community which has already welcomed me so warmly.”

After the meet and greet, the board called for a short break in which Veras met parents in attendance.

Frelinghuysen’s new leadership was without a doubt the main focus of the meeting. After the break, the board announced two other personnel matters.

In a positive development, board president Kim Neuffer announced that she has joined the Sussex County Educational Services Commission. Since some students are occasionally transferred to Sussex County schools in order to meet more specialized learning needs, Neuffer looks forward to enhanced communication and resources with this partnership.

On a bittersweet note, Molly Petty stepped down as interim Business Administrator. The board saluted her efficient handling of budgetary challenges, beginning from the moment she took the role on February 20th– a mere two weeks before the budget needed to be prepared for next year.

“I am super grateful,” said Stephanie Bonaparte, Frelinghuysen’s current Chief School Administrator, a sentiment that the rest of the board supported with a round of applause.

Chip O'Chang
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.