As School Year Begins, New Student Representative Takes Her Position on Southern Regional School Board

Sep 20, 2017

Every year, a new Southern Regional High School senior-class student council president takes a seat among the elected officials of the Southern Regional Board of Education and Superintendent Craig Henry. And like her predecessor – Abigael Coughlin, who graduated in June and left for Ramapo College of New Jersey a few weeks ago – Kyra Zdep’s responsibility is to update the board and the public on any pertinent things going on amid the grounds of the high school.

Of course, now the scorekeeping begins. With her reports at the beginning of each monthly meeting, Coughlin had a knack for sometimes trumping board member Heather Tatur, who provides a similar report later in the meeting, on things of interest with regard to the high school.

“I didn’t know I was going to be trumping Mrs. Tatur,” Zdep said with a smile and a tinge of nervousness in her voice on Sept. 13. “Apparently, I have some competition. Now that I know that, I guess I’ll have to watch out for her. But I guess I won today ... OK, I’m just kidding.”

Zdep’s first report – during which she mentioned the first home football game and the freshman tailgate associated with it, the upcoming play, “Radium Girls,” slated for Nov. 1-2, Back to School Night on Sept. 28 and the development of a fundraiser that will benefit students in Texas following Hurricane Harvey – as the senior class liaison to the board was very well done, according to Henry.

“You’re following up some great leaders who’ve sat in that chair, and that was outstanding,” Henry said, pointedly offering praise directly to Zdep, who was sitting three seats to his left, before cautioning her about beating Tatur to the delivery of common sound bytes, drawing laughter from the crowd inside the Ram Room of the board building. “I think you should be congratulated in advance for anything you mention before she does. But you are encouraged to do that.”

Once the laughter died down, Henry moved on and continued with one of his traditions, to introduce the new certified staff hires for the school year. This time around, Henry introduced 15 individuals to the school board, providing a short bio on each as they stood to be recognized.

“We hired outstanding candidates who were up against an unrivaled class of competition,” Henry said, addressing the board and the public as he began. “Southern has become a desired destination location – you know that. For every job we post, we get between 50 and 100-plus candidates, and this is the crème de la crème, and I can tell you that the group I’m introducing to you is up to the standard for what we expect here. We have a lot of great potential with this group of individuals.”

The 15 individuals introduced were: high school mathematics teacher Kara Bilgrav; middle school special education teacher Rachel Blood; middle school speech-language pathologist Michelle Breitweiser; middle school social studies teacher Katherine Cherney; Project Adventure instructional paraprofessional Jason Church; high school science teacher Samantha Taff Haughwout; high school special education teacher Emily Karu; middle school learning disability teacher consultant Alyssa Maloney; middle school language arts teacher Stephanie Mercurio; high school language arts teacher Amanda Porter; athletic trainer Nicholas Scaramazza; middle school health and physical education teacher Eric Sharkey; high school special education teacher Edwin Truitt; middle school mathematics teacher Julie Ulrich; and high school social studies teacher Daniel Wasilewski.

— David Biggy

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