Frelinghuysen Township School’s Board of Education welcomed a new face and bid farewell to another at a quiet July 26th meeting.
The meeting began with the swearing-in of the board’s newest member: George Riedel, who has lived in Frelinghuysen for the past seven years. Riedel read the oath aloud, followed by applause from his fellow board members.
Chief School Administrator (CSA) Stephanie Bonaparte gave her final report.
“We’ve done a lot of work to prepare for the 23 – 24 school year,” she said. “The school is in pretty good shape… for the most part, everything is very much ready for September.”
Bonaparte reported that NJ’s Department of Education approved Frelinghuysen’s Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC) paperwork. Frelinghuysen is now officially deemed a high-performing district, a satisfying designation even if the school’s numbers demonstrated its worthiness several months earlier.
She also updated the board on the school’s HIB (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) report for the year.
A new column this year captures a new process called preliminary determination, in which school staff can investigate reports of misbehavior to see if it is severe enough to qualify as an HIB incident. Frelinghuysen’s HIB numbers remain low, in keeping with its status as a Kindness-Certified school with the Great Kindness Challenge.
Bonaparte ended her report on a more personal note. “This is my last board meeting, so I just wanted to say thank you to all of you,” she said. “It’s been a really wonderful six years.”
Board President Kim Neuffer had prepared a statement for the occasion. “I’d like to express our gratitude and appreciation for your instructional leadership to our district over the past six years,” she said. “Your commitment to the betterment of the school staff and students has been evident in every decision you’ve made.”
Neuffer went on to describe some of the pressing issues that Bonaparte navigated as CSA, including several years of the pandemic and state aid cuts.
“You’ve faced every challenge head-on and provided us with the information we needed to make sound decisions,” she continued. “As a result of your guidance, our district is positioned well for the future. We’re forever grateful for the positive changes you’ve made to the district. We hope you look back fondly at your time here and reflect on the impact you have made. Your legacy will continue through the lives of the students you have influenced and colleagues that you have inspired.”
Neuffer’s statement, and Bonaparte’s time as CSA, ended in applause.
Chip O'Chang, 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.