Family and friends joined current and past elected officials to witness Dr. Michael Penna and Tracy Rogers take the oath of office for the Asbury Park Board of Education at Bradley Elementary School on Thursday, January 5. The ceremony was performed by Board Attorney Adam Weiss. Barbara Lesinski was not in attendance at the ceremony, but was sworn in the following day by the Business Administrator Geoffrey Hastings.

Newly elected Board of Education member Tracy Rogers speaks with a district parent.

After the ceremony, Carritta Cook was nominated and unanimously voted in as President. Shadeen Alls Bey was nominated and unanimously voted in as Vice President. Board members Giuseppe Grillo, Anthony Remy, Jessiemae Ricks, and Kenneth E. Saunders, Jr. were in attendance.

Based on his campaign promises to improve community engagement and transparency, Tracy Rogers made a motion to hold hybrid meetings to increase access to parents and the community. The motion seemed welcomed by the rest of the Board. During the discussion, Weiss cautioned the board about carrying a motion that may need more study to implement.

Right now, I’ve asked that the Board have a hybrid meeting because we have to have transparency. No expense should be saved on transparency.

Tracy Rogers

Rogers withdrew the motion to allow time for research. “Right now, I’ve asked that the Board have a hybrid meeting because we have to have transparency. No expense should be saved on transparency. So, we will look at that at our next meeting. Hopefully, we will bring availability for stakeholders, and for people who have kids in the school district who are coming home from work in the evening and need to be home for their families. They’ll have the ability to watch this board meeting and know about the work that we do every day.”

A quick search revealed hybrid meetings are, in fact, offered by Boards of Education throughout New Jersey, including the school districts of Paterson, Westhampton, Voorhees, North Brunswick, Maplewood-South Orange, Franklin, Rockaway and Livingston.

On January 6, the day after the meeting, the Asbury Park Press published an analysis of the standardized school test scores throughout New Jersey based on an aggregate of Student Learning Assessment Score data. Joe Strupp reported that the Asbury Park School District came in last in math (425 of 425 districts), and last in language arts (436 of 436 districts).

The next meeting of the Asbury Park Board of Education will be held in person on Thursday, January 26 at 6pm at Bradley Elementary School located at 1100 Third Avenue. The Asbury Park Reporter will be live streaming the meeting on YouTube.

YouTube player
Asbury Park Reporter’s first live streaming of the Board of Education meeting on January 5, 2023

Kerry Margaret Butch is a founding member of the Asbury Park Reporter. Throughout her career, she worked to increase grassroots input in local public policy. She served as the Executive Director of both the Asbury Park Consortium and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Notably, she produced the documentaries entitled, “Greetings from Asbury Park,” shown throughout the country and on PBS, and “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.”

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