LINWOOD — New members Alexa D’Amato Barrera and Kathleen Lowry were sworn in to their seats on the Board of Education at the annual reorganization meeting Wednesday, Jan. 3, along with Jason Goldstein, who served a 9-month term and was elected to a full term in November.
Board member Joanne Scannell nominated Donna Michael-Ziereis to be the next board president, and she was elected unanimously.
Scannell was re-elected vice president.
Ziereis, who is vice president and general counsel for AtlantiCare Health System, has been a board member for nine years. Scannell is a teacher in the Brigantine School District.
Each of the incoming board members was surrounded by family as they took the oath of office. D’Amato Barrera was sworn in by her father, attorney Paul D'Amato, who is a former Linwood mayor and New Jersey assemblyman, and school board solicitor Will Donio administered the oath of office to Lowry and Goldstein.
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Ziereis welcomed the new board members and the diversity they bring to the school board. Lowery is a teacher at Egg Harbor Township High School, D’Amato Barrera is an attorney, and Goldstein is a funeral director.
“We have a great mix on the board to take care of the work that is to be done,” she said.
Ziereis said the board members include educators, business people, attorneys and a former Superior Court judge, and all are parents or grandparents of students who are enrolled or have attended Linwood schools.
“I commit to all of you to continue the collegial and collaborative leadership that we have enjoyed here in Linwood using our skills and our judgment to do the best for our families, our children and our community,” she pledged.
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The meeting was not just about the new faces on the board, but also about those who were not there. Veteran members Richard Sless and Lynn Gibson chose not to run for a seat when their terms expired in 2017. Between the two of them, they represent more than three decades of service to the students and families in Linwood.
Sless, who spent 15 years on the board and was president for the past two, helped transition Linwood from a Type I appointed school board to a Type II elected board mandated when voters approved the change by referendum in 2016. When terms expire for appointed board members, they can choose to run for their seat.
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Gibson, who was named Linwood citizen of the year in 2016, spent 23 years on the school board and served as president. She served on every committee at some point during her long stint on the Board of Education.