Norwood School Board Fields Public Concern Over Resignations

The Norwood School Board, in a recent meeting held on May 23, 2023, made several key decisions concerning personnel, curriculum, and financial management for the 2023-2024 school year. However, amidst these routine decisions, a wave of public concern emerged, focused on the voluntary resignation of popular elementary teacher, Ms. Chelsea Shea.

The Board, presided by President Mrs. Heather Garcia, unanimously agreed on unaffiliated staff salary increases, approved various educational workshops and courses for educators, and extended an olive branch of recognition to Ariella Audi, the proud recipient of the 2022-2023 Governor’s Educator of the Year Award.

In the realm of financial decisions, the Board approved an inventory evaluation by AM Consultants, totaling $3,485, and further committed to renewing software system fees with Frontline Technologies and Realtime Information Technology, totaling to $21,469.14. An unexpected expenditure emerged with the approval of Epoxy Flooring for Partial Bathrooms Upgrades Project, provided by Hanon Floors of Union, NJ, costing the district a substantial $54,082.84.

The Board also signed off on a series of staffing decisions. Key personnel appointments included the introduction of Danielle Bond as a part-time Special Education Teacher and the enlistment of Nicolas Rodriguez and Jake Ward as summer custodial employees. In the midst of these staffing shifts, the Board acknowledged two resignations – one from Devon Sollicito, a paraprofessional, and notably from Chelsea Shea, an elementary teacher, whose resignation became effective on August 31, 2023.

This latter resignation sparked a considerable reaction from the public. Multiple members of the community voiced their concerns and questions regarding Ms. Shea’s departure during the open public participation section. These speakers included F. Petrone, who hinted at potential issues with new administrators, and S. Manchin, who urged the Board of Education to investigate the circumstances surrounding Ms. Shea’s resignation.

Away from the spotlight of public concern, the Board continued its management of resources and facilities. Approval was given for out-of-district placements at several special education schools for the 2023-2024 academic year, including Winston Preparatory School, CTC Academy, and the Bergen County Special Services School District (BCSSSD). On the transportation front, the Board approved a renewal contract with the Northern Valley Regional High School Board of Education for a specific bus route, incurring a cost of $79,151.16.

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