December 22, 2020
Dear Parents and School Community Members,
At last night’s meeting, the Board of Education honored Mrs. Gail O’Donnell for her past and present service to the school community. A longtime resident of Watchung, Mrs. O’Donnell served on the board from 1988-2000 and was coaxed out of retirement to fill a vacant seat in October 2019. Throughout both tenures, she was a passionate advocate for students and teachers and a model of integrity and kindness for others. Our school community is better because of her gracious service.
We also recognized three longtime staff members who are retiring at the end of December. Mrs. Laurie Joyce, Mrs. Mary Rutkowski, and Mr. Robert Murphy combined for over 66 years of dedicated service to the district. Mrs. Joyce has been a loyal assistant to the principals at Valley View and Bayberry for more than 20 years. Mrs. Rutkowski has served Valley View as a paraprofessional for over 18 years, inspiring students toward their full potential. Mr. Murphy is widely known as a Valley View physical education teacher, coach, and photography club advisor, who mentored middle school students for over 28 years! We are grateful for the commitment and talents of these three selfless individuals and wish them all good health and happiness in their retirements.
As the holidays approach, we want you to know we remain deeply grateful for everyone’s cooperation and support. It takes a team effort to keep the schools open for in-person instruction during a pandemic, and we have been very fortunate so far, thanks to everyone’s commitment. Because we intend to stay open after the holiday break, we have to continue being as vigilant and cautious as possible, especially during the holidays. We saw a rise in symptomatic individuals and positive test results after Thanksgiving, and no one wants a repeat of that experience.
Thank you for helping us keep our schools open. The brief survey I shared last week will remain available during the holidays. And just a reminder that tomorrow is a half day with no afternoon remote instruction.
On behalf of the Board of Education and the entire staff, I offer warm wishes for a safe, healthy, and relaxing holiday break at home with your families.
Very truly yours,
George P. Alexis