EDISON – With the retirement of long-time business administrator Dan Michaud, the Edison Public School District is in the process of selecting a new business administrator.
“This was a real tough decision to make to retire at this point in time, but I’ve been here almost 35 years,” Michaud said at his last board meeting on Dec. 22, saying his family has been pushing for him to make the decision after coming home many times stressed out from long school days. “I do have to say the reason why I was as competent as I was had to do a lot with the people who work for me. Nobody more than Judy Cox my secretary. She’s been with me for 33 years and I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s irreplaceable to me and I know she wasn’t ready for me to leave.”
Michaud said he is proud of the many accomplishments made in the district during his tenure, which began in 1986. He said at that time the school budget was under $100 million with a student enrollment of 10,500. Now the budget is pressing $270 million and student enrollment is 17,000.
“I’ve tried to be as cost effective as possible on everything,” he said. “I really appreciate everyone’s support given to me over the years.”
Schools Superintendent Bernard Bragen said he has known Michaud since he was a student in the Edison School District. Bragen grew up in Edison and began his career in the district. He began the superintendent role on Dec. 9, 2019.
“I appreciate that you stayed on a little longer to help me transition,” he said. “Like everyone has said here, you are irreplaceable.”
Ann Kluck is serving as acting business administrator until an interim, new business administrator is selected, Bragen said.
Board member farewells
In December, the board said goodbye to outgoing board members Beth Moroney and Falguni Patel. The board members did not seek re-election.
Moroney said serving two terms on the board has been one of the greatest honors of her life. She said the rebuilding of James Monroe Elementary School has been one of the most outstanding moments of her time on the board. The school was burned down by a discarded cigarette in 2014.
In recent years, Moroney has been instrumental in working with the Wingman program and social emotional learning.
The Wingman program is a youth-led social and emotional learning experience in memory of Dylan Hockley, one of the first grade victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2014.
Patel said during her three years on the board, she has strived to serve with integrity.
“If I was able to significantly impact one child’s future, it was all worth it,” she said. “Right now people are scared, students, teachers, parents, everyone is scared because of the [novel coronavirus] pandemic. The long-term effects on our health and children’s physical and emotional well-being are still unknown. The next few months will be crucial and some really tough decisions will need to be made. As a board it is important, now more than ever, to not let noise distract you away from what you are here to do. And that is to move this district forward. Remember your actions will set the tone for the entire district.”
The board also said goodbye to board member Ralph Errico, who served his last day on Dec. 31. He began his second term in 2019. He served as board president in 2020.
Shi, at the re-organization meeting, announced Errico stepped down and recognized him for his five years of service.
The Board of Education reorganized with two new board members on Jan. 4. Former Gov. Richard Codey swore in Jerry Shi, who begins his third term; and newcomers Mohin Patel and Virginia White.
Shi, Patel and White, who ran on the Edison First slate, won the three, three-year terms available on the Edison Board of Education in the November election.
During the re-organization meeting, Shi was selected to serve as board president. He previously served as board president for two years in 2018 and 2019. Patel was selected to serve as board vice president.
Shi said each year brings new hope and new promise. He said he looks forward to working with board members, administrators, educators, staff, parents, students and the school community.
“I’m confident if we work together we can reduce some of the financial burden placed on the taxpayers in Edison without sacrificing the quality of our education system,” he said. “I’m confident that we will put the word public back into the Edison Public Schools by creating a more open accessible and resident friendly education center that communicates with the public in a timely manner. I’m confident that we will prioritize the health and wellness of our students and staff and give our community the resources they need. Most importantly, I’m confident that we will be able to ensure our 17,000 students are offered the best education as possible as our schools continue to shine brighter than ever.”