Positive Reports, Gratitude for Upcoming Retirees Highlights First Southern Regional Board of Education Meeting of 2019

Jan 09, 2019

Several interesting reports and the shuffling of several seats highlighted the first Southern Regional Board of Education meeting of the year on Jan. 2. However, it was one particular item on the regular agenda that prompted board member Stuart Snyder to publicly state his gratitude.

Mixed in among the standard instruction, personnel and extracurricular business was the board’s request to accept the upcoming retirements of a pair of long-time Southern employees – special education teacher Elaine Konzelmann and guidance counselor Cyndi Skeie. As the board moved to approve the 10 agenda items, Snyder took several minutes to give his thoughts about Konzelmann and Skeie.

“They’ve devoted a lot of time to the district,” he said. “What Ms. Konzelmann has done for our students with special needs has gone over and above, and we’re going to miss her. And Mrs. Skeie loved working here and loved the kids, and it’s going to be tough to replace them. They’ve committed the better parts of their lives to the students in our district, and if you read their retirement letters, it brings a tear to your eye because I’m sure it’s a tough decision for them. They’ve been a big part of the Southern family, and they’ve done a great job for our students.”

According to their letters submitted to Superintendent Craig Henry last month, Skeie is scheduled to retire at the end of February, and Konzelmann has slated her retirement for the end of June.

As for reorganization business, Business Administrator Steve Terhune again swore in R. Scott Zoladz, Scott Waters, Steven Berkheiser and Keith Weidenhof to the board following their successful re-elections in November. Immediately afterward, Waters, who had been the board vice president for 2018, was selected as the new board president, and Zoladz was selected as the new vice president.

“Thank you all, I guess,” Waters said in jest as he swapped seats with Berkheiser, who had been the board president in 2018. Zoladz, who then had to switch seats with Berkheiser as well, prompted some laughter when he said, “I’m going to miss this side of the room.”

Prior to reorganization, Mike Concilio provided the board with a brief report regarding the high school’s performance for the PSAT – the practice version of the SAT. According to the district’s testing coordinator, 804 sophomores and juniors took the PSAT, and all met or exceeded the state average on all scores for math and language arts.

“The PSAT is a valuable tool for us as a district,” Concilio said. “There’s no reason why students who opted in to take the PSAT shouldn’t be better prepared for when they take the SAT, and that’s because of the school’s support for this program. We had 36 test sites throughout the 11/12 building, 73 staff members were involved in some way, and the guidance department was a big part of administering the test. We started on time, everything went according to schedule, the students were amazing, and the teachers were awesome.”

Later in the meeting, board member Heather Tatur took time to highlight the success of Southern’s recent food drive to benefit the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. According to information she received from teacher Adele Berardi, Tatur reported that students collected nearly 26,000 more items than in 2017.

“In 2017, students collected 46,173 items,” Tatur said. “This year, they collected 72,159, and the 18-year total is 423,432 items that they’ve donated to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.”

According to Tatur, the competition among departments and homeroom classes became quite fierce, and Michael Strada’s homeroom managed to deliver the largest number of food items, with 7,569.

Additionally, the board approved its meeting schedule for the year. The next meeting is slated for Feb. 13, followed by meetings on March 13, April 10, May 1, June 19, July 10, Aug. 21, Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 13 and Dec. 11. All regular meetings are held at 7 p.m., with the exception of those in June, July and August, which have 6 p.m. start times.

— David Biggy


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