Retired principal appointed to seat on Freehold Regional board

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Elizabeth Higley, who retired as the principal of Freehold Township High School on June 30, has been appointed to the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education as Freehold Township’s representative.

Higley will succeed Samuel Carollo on the nine-member panel. Carollo recently stepped down from his position on the board, which oversees the six high schools in the district.

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Board members voted unanimously on Sept. 16 to appoint Higley to the open seat. She was the only Freehold Township resident to apply for the position.

A district spokeswoman said Higley is expected to join the board on Oct. 14.

Higley retired in June following a long career in the FRHSD. In comments to the board on Sept. 16, Higley said she is a graduate of the district, her six children graduated from the district and she taught at Howell High School before moving into administration.

“I have seen the district from many different perspectives,” she said. “I think that perspective gives me a really unique understanding seeing it from so many lenses, so I look forward to the opportunity during the difficult times.

“I realize this is a difficult time to join, with the (state aid) budget cuts. I feel that I have the best interests of our students at heart and I think that’s why I felt I needed to do this so that I would be able to help us forge through these difficult times.”

Higley’s family, the Becker family of Manalapan, has a long history at Manalapan High School. Her late father, Wendel Becker, was a founding member of the Manalapan High School Booster Club.

“Thank you for volunteering. You have always been there for us and I am very pleased you applied for this position,” the board’s president, Carl Accettola of Colts Neck, told Higley.

“I want to welcome Liz to the board. I’ve known her and her family for a long, long time. I think it’s a great thing for an educator to be on the board of education and I’m really happy you are coming aboard,” said Heshy Moses, who is Freehold Borough’s representative and a former teacher and coach at Freehold High School.

Board member Michael Messinger of Marlboro asked Higley what her feelings are regarding educational funding in New Jersey.

Earlier in the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Charles Sampson reminded board members and the public the FRHSD is in the midst of a multi-year, multi-million dollar reduction in the annual aid it receives from the state.

In response to Messinger’s question, Higley said the FRHSD is one of the most cost-effective school districts in New Jersey and she said the board needs to make the public aware of that fact.

Higley said the board needs to enlist the aid of residents in the eight municipalities that make up the district as administrators continue to object to the law (known as S-2) that is resulting in the reduction in state aid.

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