Heshey Moses, who has spent more than 50 years in the Freehold Regional High School District as a teacher, coach and member of the Board of Education, is stepping down as Freehold Borough’s elected representative on the nine-member school board.
During the board’s Sept. 29 meeting, Moses announced he will step down effective Nov 1. Moses previously announced he will be moving out of state.
District administrators will seek a Freehold Borough resident to succeed Moses as the community’s representative on the board. Seven of the eight municipalities that comprise the district have one board member, while Howell has two board members.
The district operates six high schools that serve students from Colts Neck, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.
In comments during the board meeting, Moses said he came to the district as a young teacher, initially at Howell High School.
He later moved to Freehold High School in Freehold Borough and remained a fixture at the school for decades as a teacher, coach and mentor to thousands of young men and women.
He called the high school the district’s “hidden gem” and said students from all of the sending communities chose to attend the school because they knew they would be welcomed as individuals.
Freehold High School is home to several of the district’s magnet programs which students from all eight sending municipalities may apply to attend.
Moses touched on a time 12 years ago when he was serving as president of the FRHSD board and helped to lead a search for a new superintendent of schools.
“Previous superintendents had been politicians first and educators second,” he said. “I wanted an educator first.”
The district’s search for a new leader led to the hiring of Charles Sampson, who remains the superintendent today.
“We are lucky to have Dr. Sampson,” Moses said, before adding, “It is important to know when it’s time to go … as a teacher, as a coach … it’s time for me to go. I want to thank the administrators, the teachers and the custodial staffs because they care about the kids. I want to thank Dr. Sampson and everyone here. I know how hard the administrators and teachers work. I hope the people in our eight towns know that.”
Sampson thanked Moses for his “unwavering support” early in his tenure as the district’s superintendent. Sampson said that was a challenging time in the district and he said Moses, as the board president, was always supportive of him.
Following his comments, Moses was saluted and thanked by his fellow board members Peter Bruno and Marc Parisi of Howell, Michael Messinger of Marlboro, Jamie Bruno of Manalapan, Diana Cappiello of Englishtown, Elizabeth Higley of Freehold Township, Debra Fanelli of Colts Neck and Kathie Lavin of Farmingdale.
Rebecca Policastro, a spokeswoman for the school district, said with Moses’ resignation becoming effective on Nov. 1, the board will advertise for a successor from Freehold Borough in November.
She said the board will have 60 days to fill the open seat, which means the new member from Freehold Borough could join the board at about the time the panel reorganizes for the new year in January.
In other business during the Sept. 29 meeting, Sampson said district administrators have applied to the state for stabilization aid, which is available to school districts.
The superintendent said last year the FRHSD received $1.8 million in stabilization aid from a total appropriation of $50 million that was available to all New Jersey school districts. He said this year the district will be seeking stabilization aid from a total appropriation that has been reduced to $30 million.
The superintendent spoke amid ongoing reductions in the district’s state aid under a law known as S-2 and said, “It is disgusting that the state of New Jersey, as we attempt to recover from the (coronavirus) pandemic, would cut our district’s (state aid), that they would cut any district in the midst of this. They have billions of dollars that are unspent … this is an issue.”
Sampson said in order to address ongoing infrastructure needs in the school district, administrators may have to plan several small infrastructure referendums.
Finally, the board acted on a number of personnel matters, including the following: approved the resignation, effective Sept. 29, of Jeffrey Papcun, who was the head coach of boys and girls winter track at Manalapan High School, and the head coach of boys spring track at Manalapan High School; approved the retirement of Patrick Dalton, effective June 30, 2023. Dalton has been a music teacher at Marlboro High School for 37 years; approved the retirement of Edward Wall, effective June 30, 2023. Wall has been a law enforcement teacher at Manalapan High School for 14 years; approved John Rogers as head coach of girls basketball at Manalapan High School, with a stipend of $8,827; approved James Reuter as head coach of boys basketball at Marlboro High School, with a stipend of $8,827; approved Matthew Esposito as an assistant coach of boys basketball at Freehold High School, with a stipend of $7,062; and approved Michael Fromuth as an assistant coach of winter track at Freehold Township High School, with a stipend of $6,814.