School board chooses new member

STANHOPE. The Board of Education selected Yacoub Yaghman to fill a vacant seat.

| 09 Mar 2023 | 05:57

Yacoub Yaghman was selected to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Education at its meeting Feb. 15.

Carmen Pico, a former Stanhope board candidate, also applied for the position, which Najib Iftikhar was elected to in November. Iftikhar decided not to serve, leaving the seat open.

Yaghman, who attended Stanhope schools and graduated from Lenape Valley Regional High School, has a child in first grade.

Pico, a longtime school bus driver, previously served on the Randolph school board. He has grandchildren in the Stanhope schools.

Yaghman must undergo a criminal background check before he is officially appointed to the board.

Superintendent’s report

Superintendent Steven Hagemann said there were two founded cases of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) in December, rather than one as reported previously. There were no HIB cases in February.

Eighth-grader Michael Kmec was chosen as the Student Roundtable Winner, Hagemann said.

Nine students were nominated and each wrote an essay about themselves, then eighth-grade teachers voted.

”I couldn’t be more proud” of Michael, “who’s worked through so much and has overcome some personal adversity to get where he is today,” he said.

Teacher Karen Henry has led an effort to collect 100 items to fulfill essential needs of families receiving assistance near the 100th day of school for many years, Hagemann said. The Connect for Community 100 Day school project distributes those items to more than 40 food pantries and social-service agencies throughout the year.

”Our school probably donates and raises funds that larger school districts hope to,” he added.

In addition, more than $500 was raised for the project at a “Dine to Donate” event at Sal’s Pizzeria.

New hires

Board member Jennifer Herold reported that the district has hired many new people recently. “I hope at some point to say we are fully staffed.”

Art teacher Lisa Marie Dybus will offer two art enrichment clubs this spring after their success during the fall, Hagemann said.

Board member Kenia Choquette said a committee has met on plans for improvements to the faculty room, roof and bathrooms. Another meeting is planned on improvements to the STEM lab and blacktop outside.

Voters approved a $6 million bond referendum to finance the improvements in December.

The board’s president, Gil Moscatello, reported on the Sussex County Educational Services Commission, which operates Northern Hills Academy for special-needs students.

The new principal there has hired four speech therapists and 11 paraprofessionals in the past month. He also is looking for a bus and driver.

”Enrollment’s doing well. The school’s doing well,” he said.

The board approved calendars for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years. The first day for students will be the day after Labor Day, but staff will return in August for two days before the Labor Day weekend.

Board member Mattia Scharfstein was absent from the meeting.