On the same night that the River Dell Board of Education watched two members resign, the district also had to say farewell to retiring trustees Vito Acquafredda and Roger Tashjian. Acquafredda will join the River Edge borough council on January 1 2013 while Tashjian opted to not run for reelection this past November.
"We have two board members retiring," board president Joseph Manzelli said. "One who is leaving us after a four-year run on the board and has taught me a lot; and another who has been on the board for 10 years and am glad to call my friend."
Tashjian, a 1984 alum of River Dell and Marketing Director for 201 Marketing and Media, was elected to the regional board of education in 2008 and during his term fought for a four-year mathematics graduation requirement.
"In four years I've attended over 100 meetings, but it has always been about the kids," Tashjian said. "I think if the board keeps its focus on doing the best for the kids, that will move the district forward."
Acquafredda, who moved to River Edge in 1987, was elected to the Board of Education in 2002 and since then has served as the board president (three years) and vice-president (three years). He had been named to and chaired several committees including Referendum, Curriculum, Building and Grounds, Athletics, Campus Facilities, Policy, Community Relations and Contract Negotiations and Chief School Administrator search Committee.
"I've been teasing Vito all along that we would give him a wallet-sized plaque but it doesn't seem to fit his personality and influence on the board," Superintendent Patrick Fletcher said. "In the seven years I've been here, Vito is the last person on the board from when I was hired. I thank him every day for getting me into this crazy mess."
Acquafredda ran this past November for a seat on the River Edge borough council and subsquently ousted Council President Paul Cordts. Acquafredda in the election followed by Councilman Anthony Cappola's 2,250 to join the governing body.
"It's never easy to say goodbye espectially to a commitment that I've had for almost 11 years," Acquafredda said. "I hope that the new voyage I am starting on is as rewarding as the one I'm concluding tonight. I'm proud of the accomplishments attained during my time on the board. You can't be afraid to take steps backwards in order to go forward or admi you were wrong. The worst you can do is stick your head in the sand."
He admitted that his one regret during his 10-year tenure on the board was being unable to pass a referendum in 2006 to allow for the construction of a lower level at the high school, a jogging path around the field and the field house. The fieldhouse was only just recently completed following a six-year effort by the Friends of River Dell.