Stafford Township School Board Bids Farewell to Hemenway, Nicolini and Sicoli

Dec 19, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy (From left) Stafford Schools Superintendent George Chidiac gathers with outgoing Board of Education members Mike Henenway, Tammy Nicolini and Beth Sicoli during the board’s Dec. 13 meeting.

The roads of three Stafford Township Board of Education members came to an end following the board’s meeting on Dec. 13.

“It’s been a pleasure serving with each of you for five years,” said Vice President Richard Czajkowski, acknowledging the service of now-former President Mike Hemenway, Tammy Nicolini and Beth Sicoli. “All three of you have done a great job, and I’m going to miss you.”

After Superintendent George Chidiac and McKinley Avenue Elementary School Principal Marge Hoffman recognized the outstanding efforts of the school’s “Upstander” students and Climate Committee staff members, Chidiac turned his attention to the outgoing board members.

“They’ve been on the board for a very long time, and I just want to thank them for their dedication and support to the district,” Chidiac said. “I know, being up here, sometimes there were hard decisions to make, and I know your heart has always been about the students.”

Chidiac noted many of the district’s initiatives on which the trio had to weigh in over the years, particularly the new language arts and math curriculums, STEAM labs, Maker Spaces, developmental kindergarten programs and additional special education programs.

“You’ve always been there for the taxpayers as well,” Chidiac said. “We passed a referendum with you, and you’ve done so much to jumpstart this district over the years.”

On Jan. 2, newly elected members Tammy Wagner, Kevin Lyons Jr. and Brett Novick will take over the positions left behind by Hemenway, Nicolini and Sicoli, all of whom didn’t seek re-election last month.

Nicolini, who had served on the board for 12 years, addressed the small crowd gathered inside the Stafford Room at the Oxycocus School building.

“Sometimes it wasn’t always jovial, but other times it was,” said Nicolini, who noted after the meeting that it was a privilege to be intricately involved with the processes behind the scenes. “You get on here because you’re concerned for your children and as soon as you get here it’s all about everybody else’s children. There’s a lot that has been done, and I’m very proud of all those things.”

Hemenway also briefly addressed the audience.

“It’s been an honor for me to do this the last six years,” he said. “I’d like to thank everybody up here for electing me three times as president. It was a tremendous honor to serve the community, and it’s something I’ll never forget.”

Sicoli chose not to speak publicly, but just prior to going into closed session with the rest of the board for one final time she said her experience mostly was a positive one.

“The best part for me was changing the math curriculum,” said Sicoli, who had served the district for seven years. “That’s why I showed up, to get it changed for the benefit of the students, to get rid of ‘everyday math.’ I still feel like there is more to do, but it’s time to move on.”

The board will reorganize at 6 p.m. on Jan. 3 in the Stafford Room at Oxycocus, when it officially will introduce the new board members as well as select a new president and vice president for 2019.

— David Biggy

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