As Montville Township Public Schools Board of Education Member Jon Alin prepares for his final meeting as a board member on Tuesday, school safety was the first thing that came to his mind when reflecting on his proudest accomplishments in a decade of serving on the board.
"It took about nine years, but we finally have security cameras and the school doors are locked," Alin said Friday.
Alin and his family members are moving to the Boca Raton area of Florida after spending the past 17 years in Montville. Tuesday will be the final time his name is included in attendance roll calls at the board's meetings.
The father of two district students, a daughter who is a sophomore at Montville Township High School and another child at the Lazar Middle School, said he has been highly involved with his community for the past several years. In addition to serving on the board, for which he held the role of president for more than five years, he said his family helped design the playground used by many Montville kids and he has been involved in the township's youth sports program as well.
"I have coaced every level of softball in Montville," he said.
Alin said he was first inspired to run for the board by a member of a recreational basketball league he was part of. Other members of his family worked in the education field and he was looking for another way to get involved with his community.
"If I was going to volunteer, what better way than to try to do it with schools where my kids are going?" he said.
During his tenure on the board, Alin said he and his fellow board members were able to come together and accomplish a great deal for the district, including the upgraded security and making information more accessible to parents of the district through the Montville Township Public Schools website.
As the board moves into the future without Alin, he said he feels the district is in good hands under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried and board members' priority should be to work to support his mission.
"I think that right now, the board is in the strongest position it's been in since I've been on the board, from a leadership position, with Dr. Fried. He has a leadership vision for the district," Alin said, also noting new Assistant Superintendent Dr. Casey Shorter and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Andrea Selvaggi. "I think what the board needs to do is listen to what they have to say, evaluate, understand [Fried's] vision for the district and support him in any way that he needs."
Alin said the administrators are working on taking a closer look at important issues, such as class rankings, and that the intention is to benefit all students of the district.
"[Fried is] tackling some very, very hard issues that he feels passionately will help all the kids in Montville," Alin said.
Board President Dr. Karen Cortellino said she is not sure how Alin's seat on the board will be filled, but that he will be missed.
"Jon has been a steady presence on the board, serving longer than any sitting board member. His insights and perspectives will be missed. I wish Jon and his family all the best," she said.
Alin said he and his family members will also miss Montville.
"We've made some lifelong friendships that we definitely will miss, but we look forward to the next chapter in our lives," he said.