In a recent meeting marked by fond farewells and forward-thinking initiatives, the Tenafly School Board commended retiring educators for their years of service and emphasized their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in education.
The meeting began with a heartfelt tribute to departing staff, recognizing their unwavering dedication and substantial contributions to Tenafly Public Schools. Among those retiring were notable figures like Ella Myanski, Jane Weissfuller, Elaine Matarazzo, Grace, and others who have dedicated their careers to shaping young minds.
Ella Myanski, celebrated for her 27-year tenure as a math teacher at Tenafly High School, was particularly praised for her unique teaching approach and dedication, which transformed math classes into interactive and engaging experiences for students. “Every day was a labor of love,” she reminisced. Another honoree, Grace, an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher, was lauded for her relentless commitment that often extended beyond regular school hours to cater to the individual needs of her students.
The School Board also acknowledged the short yet impactful tenure of interim superintendent, Bruce Watson. Known for his student-centric approach to decision-making, Watson’s role in enhancing the district’s pedagogical excellence was widely appreciated. The Board conveyed their excitement for the incoming superintendent, Mr. Michael Ben David, starting July 1.
Moving on to future-facing initiatives, Joshua Beaver, a community member, proposed the recognition of Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, as a school holiday. Beaver expressed, “Celebrating Juneteenth provides a platform for dialogue and understanding. It encourages conversations about the legacy of slavery, the effects of systemic racism, and the steps we must take to ensure equality and justice for all.”
The board president acknowledged the significance of Juneteenth, commending the history department’s efforts to integrate it into the school curriculum. Additionally, the diversity committee emphasized the district’s focus on broader inclusivity goals, ranging from supporting LGBTQIA+ students and integrating students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to addressing discipline disproportionality and enabling access to high-level coursework.
“This is not just a thing; this is who we are, and who we’re continuing to be,” affirmed Dr. Gorman, in a strong endorsement of these initiatives. Other discussions included security measures, the disruptive use of cell phones in class, and the practice of early dismissal at the end of the school year.