The Montville Township Board of Education chose Tom Mazzaccaro as the newest member of the board during Tuesday night's meeting.
Mazzaccaro, Montville Township's Department of Public Works superintendent, will serve a one-year term to fill the seat left vacant by Jon Alin. Alin resigned from the board last year as his family relocated to Florida.
The board solicited interested candidates to submit letters of intent to Business Administrator Jim Tevis and the candidates were interviewed publicly during Tuesday's meeting. Because of the timing of Alin's resignation, the new member did not need to be elected by the public, rather appointed by board members.
Mazzaccaro was one of three who interviewed for the spot, the other two being former Montville Township High School teacher Mike O'Brien and Montville resident David Modrak. Mazzaccaro, who has lived in the township for more than 38 years, told the board that all of his children and a few of his grandchildren have gone through the Montville school system. He also explained that he has served on the Montville Township Board of Education in the past.
"I'm very proud of the system here, I've always been," he said.
Mazzaccaro said he he feels he could be a valued contributor to board discussions and issues after watching the current board members work together in the past several years. He said he was "very much impressed with this particular board" and was happy to be considered for the position.
"I just want to take everything I've learned, my experience, and contribute to the children," he said.
During Modrak's interview, he explained that his daughter has recently entered Hilldale Elementary School and knowing that the school's principal will be retiring at the end of this year, he would have liked to have been a part of the new principal's selection process. He also said he would have liked to generally help the district continue to improve education.
"Education, really, is one of the best things we can do to further our society, protect our community, to really make a difference in the world," he said.
Before describing what the most important reasons for wanting to serve on the board were to him, O'Brien first shared with board members that up until several weeks ago, he had not considered serving. As a past leader of the teacher's union, he said serving on the board was not something he had endeavored to do.
"It never occurred to me about serving on the board of education," he said. "It almost seemed to me like cheating on a test."
But as he said he was approached by several members of the community who were familiar with his teaching history in the district, he became more interested.
"I might have some devotion and insight and some input that could conceivably be of some help to this board of education," he said.
He said that technology has changed since he was in school and working to create an educational system that is adaptive to the younger generation's technological abilities is a key task for the board.
Board members voted unanimously for Mazzaccaro to fill the role. But Board President Dr. Karen Cortellino thanked all three candidates for expressing their interest and noted that they could choose to run for election in November if they wanted.