WAYNE, NJ — The members of the Wayne Board of Education spent some time during their last public meeting honoring seventeen teachers and district employees who will be retiring this June. It is likely that this last year for them was one of the most difficult years in all of their long careers.
Last week’s BOE meeting was relatively short, except for the reading aloud of the retirement “blurbs” for each employee. This is a tradition for the BOE and throughout the years. It’s a way to recognize and thank the long-term employees of the Wayne school district.
“Get comfortable everyone,” warned BOE President Cathy Kazan at the end of the meeting. “We’re about to read a very large number of retirements that are well-deserved by our staff.”
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Each BOE trustee took turns reading a short summary of the time each employee spent working in the district. All the “blurbs” are printed in full, below.
At the end of the meeting, a few of the trustees made comments about the retiring employees.
“I wanted to say congratulations to all the retirees,” said BOE Trustee Stacey Scher. “We have a lot of big shoes to fill, but I wish you all the best of luck in the future.”
“To all of our retirees, thank you for your dedicated service to the district,” said Trustee Don Pavlak. “When you look at the number of years that these individuals have given to our district to our students, that’s a phenomenal number, and they will all be missed.”
“It’s a bittersweet night,” said Kazan in conclusion. “We wish everyone a happy and healthy retirement. You will be missed, and we thank you all for your service.”
Retirement Statement for Chris Heinbockel
Prior to coming to the Wayne School District as the Tech Education Teacher at Anthony Wayne Middle School in 2009, Mr. Heinbockel worked in the financial sector being responsible for finance organization communications and investment management. Deciding to venture into a brand-new career, Mr. Heinbockel worked as a daily substitute teacher and long term substitute teacher. Using his teaching certificate in ‘Teacher of Technology Education’ earned years before, Mr. Heinbockel started at Anthony Wayne Middle School at the start of the 2009-2010 school year and earned tenure on September 1, 2012.
Active in all aspects of the school community, Mr. Heinbockel chaperoned the annual 8th grade class trip to Washington. D.C. In addition, he would be seen at most Canteens (socials), musicals and other school events serving as a chaperone. A source of great pride for Mr. Heinbockel and our overall school community, he began the Robotics Club which was well subscribed annually and enjoyed by all. The safety of every child in his Tech Ed Classes while using equipment and materials was always his primary concern, and he is commended for having always insisted on safe and orderly procedures during tech Ed Class. His students learned so much more than the curriculum and content standards that were addressed during his classes.
Much more than just a Tech Ed Teacher, Mr. Heinbockel will be missed. On behalf of the Anthony Wayne Middle School learning community, we wish him many years of good health and happiness in retirement.
Patricia “Pat” Ricciardi originally worked in Paterson for 32 years as a speech therapist, classroom Teacher of the Deaf, and itinerant Teacher of the Deaf. She taught sign language classes to students, parents, and city workers. After her successful tenure in Paterson, she moved on to Wayne. Ms. Ricciardi has been a part of the Wayne Township Public Schools community since May of 2015 as the district’s only Teacher of the Deaf. Over the years, she has developed strong relationships with Wayne students and their families that she works with. When not working with students, teachers, or families, she can be found working collaboratively with the Assistive Technology Team. We have full confidence that Ms. Ricciardi will be filling her time bargain hunting, expanding her impressive culinary talents, enjoying long walks with her dog, Trooper, and spending quality time with her actively expanding family. She will be well missed.
Ms. Nancy Linden has been working for the Wayne Township Public School District since September of 1994. As a social worker, she has worked on various child study teams and has worked in every Wayne school except for Pines Lake and Wayne Valley High School. She has spent the last number of years on the James Fallon, JFK, and Packanack Elementary Schools’ child study teams. Ms. Linden has been engaged with Wayne staff, parents, and students. She shares personal experiences to help the parents become more comfortable with making educational decisions for their children. She always had a wealth of knowledge about resources, specialists, and programs available for students with disabilities. Throughout her time in Wayne, she has made strong relationships within the community, including out-of-district placements that benefited our Wayne students and families. She has a career full of memories and has touched a lot of lives along the way. We are sure that her retirement will be well spent with her children and grandchildren.
Kathleen Boltzer has been a valued member of the Wayne Valley community for 17 years. Throughout her time, Ms. Boltzer has taught a variety of classes and done so with a high level of professionalism, success, and empathy. As a member of the Mathematics department, Ms. Boltzer has always been willing to participate in new initiatives and pilots of various programs. Ms. Boltzer has a strong work ethic, she is a team player, she is well-liked and respected by colleagues, administration, students, and parents. Throughout her years at Wayne Valley, Ms. Boltzer has always prepared her students for the rigor and concepts which are required in all levels of courses and her students always found success.
Another example of Ms. Boltzer’s dedication to both students and school is most recently when she took a leadership role in creating a curriculum for a Senior level mathematics elective course that carries dual enrollment credit. This course is needed and Ms. Boltzer has done an outstanding job of working collaboratively and leading the development of it with her colleagues. During the past two years, Ms. Boltzer has done a fantastic job of implementing the curriculum and working with students in the class.
Ms. Boltzer will be missed by colleagues, administrators, families, and most importantly her students. For her support to fellow colleagues, the attention and enthusiasm of her teaching, and overall impact of the Wayne Valley community and huge “Thank you”. We want to wish Ms. Boltzer health, happiness, and good fortune as she takes the next steps in retirement.
Barbara Bardi began her tenure at Wayne Valley High School in January of 2000 as the secretary to the Media Center Specialist. Two years later, in September of 2002, Barbara enthusiastically moved into the role of Media Center Specialist. Since that time, she has been a valuable resource to students and staff. Barbara has always collaborated with teachers whether she is planning a freshman orientation or identifying resources needed for a class project or research paper. When staff and students began attending school virtually last March, Barbara was an invaluable resource. She offered small group training on technology platforms as well as individual support. Across departments, Barbara also researched electronic resources that could assist teachers and students. Her dedication continued to our current hybrid instruction. Barbara is back in the media center ensuring that any resource needed is available. When she is not in the media center, she is in a classroom supporting teachers and students with various projects. In her spare time, Barbara is an avid reader and enjoys puzzles. She and her husband love to see Broadway shows and travel. The administration and staff would like to sincerely thank Barbara for her contributions to our school. We wish her all the best as she begins the next chapter. May it be filled with many Broadway shows and exciting destinations.
Ms. Ciriello has been a valued member of the Wayne Valley counseling department for 14 years. Throughout Ms. Ciriello’s time, she has always been a caring, insightful, and hard-working advocate for the students and families she has worked with. The college application process and navigating through a student’s Senior year of high school can often be difficult; however, Ms. Ciriello has helped so many students and families feel confident in making difficult decisions about their futures. Ms. Ciriello has made a positive impact as a counselor, as well as, in her time as a swimming coach. Regardless of her role, Ms. Ciriello has provided the necessary support, guidance, and encouragement for all students. Whether it be coordinating the 4.0 breakfast, assisting students and colleagues on the NCAA Clearinghouse, or working with student-athletes to improve, Ms. Ciriello would never hesitate to go above and beyond when it meant helping a student or a family. Mrs. Ciriello will be missed by colleagues, administrators, families, and most importantly her students. For her dedication, professionalism, and for her willingness to help others, an enormous “Thank You” to Mrs. Ciriello on behalf of the entire Wayne Valley High School community. We wish her the very best of luck and enjoyment as she embarks upon her retirement journey.
Mr. Ayres has dedicated the last 18 years of his life to his 7th grade science students. There is no doubt when Mr. Ayres pulls into the school parking lot in the morning with the loud rumble of his motorcycle and the distinct sound of cowboy boots walking the halls. Mr. Ayres aka the real Bill Nye the Science Guy has been engaging his students with the incredible magic of his science prowess while also cultivating their love for the Beatles and all things rock and roll. His sound and lighting career before teaching has benefited Schuyler Colfax’s innumerable all school productions and assemblies and will be a significant loss when we stare to the ceiling to see his wave from the Audio booth. His commitment to his students is palpable and his love for teaching and kids can be felt as soon as you enter his rather cluttered but homey science lab in corridor A. We wish you all the health and happiness in your retirement and next leg of your journey. Don’t forget to keep us up to date on your adventures in Cape Cod.
Mrs. Cirigliano, fondly known as Schuyler Colfax’s Princess nurse, will be retiring her bandaid responsibilities after 15 years. Mrs. Cirigliano’s calm and caring approach brings many “frequent flyers” to her door step whether staff or students and each one she takes the time to listen, nurture, and care for. Her Walkie Talkie with its princess crown hums all day with the busy nature of her job and regardless of the task Mrs. Cirigliano meets each one with a smile and a sense of humor. We will miss her contribution to I&RS and her lunch buddies will miss her stories and sense of humor. Best of all things to come in your retirement and much health and happiness with your move down the shore.
Mrs. Meigh will hang up her bio lab expertise after 10 years at Schuyler. Mrs. Meigh worked tirelessly to provide academic excellence for her students and prepare them for the demands of high school and beyond. Mrs. Meigh enjoyed telling stories in her classroom with her students and laughing together. Her lessons created excitement among her students and kept them on their toes and curious at the same time they enjoyed fun laughs together in the labs on Thursday morning. Her 8th grade friends will miss her lunchtime humor and good times sharing stories of grandchildren and family. All of our best wishes for a happy and healthy retirement with your family.
Mrs. Verduin served the community of Wayne as a Special Education Mathematics teacher. Her dedication to her students was evident every day in her classroom and hallways of Wayne Hills High School. Mrs. Verduin always placed students first and displayed an extraordinary talent for instructing our special education population. Her teaching ability, rapport with students, and professional attitude will be greatly missed. We wish her all the best on a well deserved retirement after over 27 years of service to students.
Mr. Ascione is retiring after 26 years of service to students and the community. During his tenure at Wayne Hills, Neil was a guiding force for the Computer Science program. He successfully introduced new courses to ensure our students were on the forefront of the field. Mr. Ascione was also instrumental in student’s receiving many awards through the American Computer Science League. His depth of knowledge, ability to enrich the curriculum, and ensuring students were prepared to take on collegiate computer science courses will be missed. We wish him well as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.
Nurse Eck has been an essential contributor to the health and wellbeing of our students and faculty here at Wayne Hills High School and in her earlier days in our elementary schools. In the past year, however, her gentle and thorough approach has been all the more felt as the unprecedented health crisis necessitated an ever-increasing need for support. Cathryn engaged students and parents in addition to the whole of our staff with clarity, concern, and great comfort. Cathryn served our Wayne Community through her attendance at band camps, field trips, SDA, athletics, and many more school events.
We wish her a happy retirement with her family.
Mr. Keogh has many accolades to support a resounding recognition of approval, and thanks for his work during his tenure here at Wayne Hills High School. His involvement in the whole of our community was broadened many years ago as Coach Keogh took on the important role of leading our Boys and Girls Tennis programs and Girls Bowling team. During his many seasons leading our sports programs he has dozens of successful seasons that are affirmed with many consecutive seasons of Passaic County titles and related awards. However, none of those achievements compare to his character. His goal each day is to do his best for his players, students, program, and school. His boundless energy and passion was self-evident each and every day. We thank Mr. Keogh for being the consummate professional. All the best to a great man.
Mr. Lemken has served all of Wayne’s students at both Wayne Valley and Wayne Hills in our technology department. Teaching is a craft and Mr. Lemken tried each year to improve his own knowledge to share with his students. He always searched for the industry standards in Computer Aided Design, otherwise known as CAD, such as Solidworks, integrating Virtual Reality into the design process, or having students design shovel ready building designs for his other passion- the Boy Scout Camp called No-Be-Bos-Co
Students returning from college consistently thanked Mr. Lemken for not just preparing them for college level design courses, but for advancing their knowledge ability to the Junior or Senior level of college. We wish him well in his retirement.
Donna Del Moro
Mrs. DelMoro has been part of the foundation of Wayne Hills High School and specifically the English Department for the past 21 years. Her passion for literature, writing, and journalism have led a generation of students into developing a deep understanding of those subjects, and many of them have gone on to careers in the communications, media, and news industries. She transformed the Patriot Press into a modern newsroom, taking it from four printed editions to the continuously breaking news format of an online publication. Throughout the past few years, her journalism skills have helped to also transform our traditional morning announcements into a hybrid video morning announcement series through working with her counterpart in our television production courses. To cap off her career, she was selected as Wayne Hills Teacher of the Year. Her presence throughout the building and the district will be greatly missed, but we wish her the best in her retirement.
We are here today to show our respect and love for Ms. Erin Wacha. Erin has spent 17 years supporting students and programs as a paraprofessional. During her tenure, she has served in the capacity of a 1:1, shared and classroom LPN paraprofessional. Erin has touched many lives along the way including colleagues, teachers, families and most importantly students. She always puts students first and treats all with kindness and respect. Erin has excellent attendance and has always provided consistency and diligence to all assignments. Erin, you will be missed! Wayne Township Public Schools wishes you good luck in future endeavors. Enjoy retirement with your family.
John Maso joined the Wayne Township Public Schools community as the Director of Facilities in the fall of 2009. He came with a breadth of experience in providing leadership for facilities planning and development, and an extensive background in post secondary facilities management. During his time in the Wayne Schools, Mr. Maso demonstrated his commitment to our schools and community by maintaining the safest and most pristine facilities possible. He worked tirelessly and around the clock, and will be remembered for sleeping with his phone on his chest and one eye open, just in case there was an emergency requiring his attention. Whether it was monitoring a snowstorm and planning for snow removal, or tracking local power outages that might impact our schools, he offered ongoing communication with the administration so that we were always fully aware and informed with the most up to date information.
Mr. Maso will always be remembered for the many facilities projects where he did everything from setting a vision, planning, providing oversight while construction was in progress to organizing a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion. His attention to each detail was impeccable, and he always strived for perfection. What many will remember about John is his humility. Although he was the driving force behind the many facility projects that were completed under his leadership, Mr. Maso would rather plan the ribbon cutting event and help others celebrate as opposed to taking any credit for himself.
You would often find Mr. Maso strolling the grounds or hallways in our many schools with our administrators to hear their ideas for improving our school facilities and keeping current with the latest trends, technology and innovations in education. Some of the projects Mr. Maso will be best remembered for include:
The development of our very own Wayne Township Learning Center, a renovated space where our staff can come together to share ideas, participate in professional development training or work together on curriculum development and related projects.
Mr. Maso also worked to maintain and keep our top rated high schools on the cutting edge with renovations to our science labs and new turf fields.
This past year, we opened the Early Childhood Center at Preakness School, which was a result of a year’s worth of planning and renovations to restore an older space to the progressive new preschool we now have in place for our Pre K population.
Improving energy efficiency was another area where Mr. Maso worked hard and made great strides in our district. His commitment to our Energy Savings Improvement plan resulted in improved air quality and an upgraded HVAC systems, and what will add up to millions of dollars in energy savings. His work in this area also contributed to the Wayne Township Public Schools receiving multiple Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants and awards.
In the wake of an undetected burst pipe and extensive water damage at Schuyler Colfax Middle School, Mr. Maso immediately started work to limit further damage and worked to restore full access to the building. Then, he worked to transform the affected classrooms from 1960’s era learning spaces to modern 21st century classrooms.
Mr. Maso’s most noteworthy recent accomplishment includes the planning and preparation for our return to school during the unforeseen COVID 19 pandemic. Mr. Maso had the foresight to consider all of the necessary preparations, protective gear and cleaning supplies that would be needed to safely reopen our schools this past fall. Without his careful and organized planning and preparing, our schools would not have been able to safely reopen for our students and staff last September 8th. We are truly grateful for all of Mr. Maso’s hard work last summer to prepare our facilities for one of the most challenging back to school openings we will likely ever experience.
In short, Mr. Maso made his mark in the Wayne Township Public Schools. His diligence, perseverance and true care for our schools and the Wayne Schools Community have amounted to more than the many facilities improvements he carefully led. His commitment cemented a culture of great pride in our schools. Anyone who spends their days as a student or employee in any of our Wayne Schools, visits our town, or considers moving into Wayne will undoubtedly note that our schools are well cared for.
We wish Mr. Maso the best of luck with his retirement and future endeavors. He will be able to dedicate quality time to his loving wife, children and grandchildren.