With three open seats on the Regional Board of Education, current sitting members unanimously appointed a trio of candidates to fill the vacancies on Monday night.
Anthony Barbary of River Edge will fill the seat left by Vito Acquafredda who was voted onto the River Edge Council during the November election. Alan Feigenson and Lori Locastro, both of Oradell were chosen to fill the the voids left when Michael Chakansky and Dorothea Durand resigned prior to the holidays.
"This school district did a lot to help my daughter succeed and I feel I have the time and knowledge to help make this an even better district," Feigenson said. "I believe you can accomplish more if you work together rather than have a hidden agenda to further a cause."
Feigenson spent six years on the Oradell Board of Education, five of which as the Board President and was appointed to the Regional Board of Education in 2007 to fill an open seat.
An importer of children's shoes, he previously spurred action to bring Mandarin as a language course to the high school, citing a need to better prepare students for the business world where China is becoming a leader in the global business community. But according to Feigenson, the district can do more to prepare students for college.
"My daughter is in college now and I think River Dell prepared her very well for that," Feigenson said. "But based on what she has told me, English and writing needs to be stressed even more. I went to Dwight-Englewood and during my junior and seniors years they stressed writing. We wrote papers constantly and I found it very easy entering college to write term papers. I don't see that same effort here and I would like to see work done on that."
Locastro, a former educator in private and public schools, added that she also sees students struggling with writing currently.
"My grandson is sophomore in now but when he was finishing middle school I saw he was struggling in English," Locastro said. "Students need the basics of writing and tools before than can go ahead."
She also stated that one of the biggest benefits of the district is that it offers a wide variety in its curriculum.
Barbary spent over 30 years in the education field beginning as a teacher and working his way through a variety of administrative duties including principal, assistant superintendent, interim superintendent and a central office consultant. He spent the majority of his career with the Clifton School District. The former music teacher and administrator, Barbary also serves on the borough Citizen's Budget Committee and assists in crafting the annual municipal budget with the governing body.
According to Barbary the biggest issue he feels the district is facing is to move ahead with an ever increasing look at test scores, core content standards and making sure that students are more preprared for an ever changing world.
All three new board members will serve until the November 2013 election. At that point, Barbary and Feigenson have expressed interest in running for full-terms while Locastro stated she could not predict an interest in participating in the election due to family committments.