The Bayonne Board of Education has voted to approve Jennifer Vecchiarelli to the newly created position of Assistant Superintendent of Special Services. The Bayonne Community News caught up with Vecchiarelli.
Prior to her role in Bayonne, Vecchiarelli was a teacher in the Freehold Regional High School District for eight years. She taught special education and students with disabilities.
“It excites me to work with students with disabilities to help them work to their highest potential,” Vecchiarelli said.
Vecchiarelli taught at Marlboro High School in addition to working in the alternative program and at RAISE Academy. After that stint, she became the vice principal of Keansburg High School.
In March of 2016, the principal left and Vecchiarelli became Keansburg’s acting principal. At the start of the next school year she became the fulltime principal, a position she has held for the past five years.
“When you become a teacher, I think all teachers, when we first become educators, find our niche,” Vecchiarelli said. “Teaching is a profession where you have to want to do it. And when I started working as special education teacher in Marlboro High School I absolutely loved it. I loved working with students with disabilities because you learn so much about education, and you learn so much about kids. You learn how really to be the best educator when you work with kids who need you to engage them in a way that’s going to help them be the best they can be.”
She continued: “A lot of our kids, at first, when they come to us are somewhat disengaged from their education for various reasons, and working with them and helping reengage them in their education is just a great thing because every student deserves an education. Every kid deserves to feel great about themselves. Every kid deserves the opportunity to have support to reach their highest potential. And that’s always what I wanted to be a part of.”
A real team player
“Whether I’m a teacher in a classroom or a building principal or an assistant superintendent of special services and whatever capacity, it’s always a collaborative group effort,” Vecchiarelli said. “That’s how we get the best results. That means working with the community, parents, and the administration. It takes a village.”
Her first plans in the new position involve establishing relationships with her team, the building administration, building principals, students, parents, and members of the community.
“My job is to serve the Special Services team,” Vecchiarelli said. “My job is to serve all the schools in the district to provide them with the support services that they need to best equip their teachers, which will then best equip their students to reach their highest potential. I’m here to serve the community. I’m here to be a representative and an advocate for our kids and for our teachers.”
She continued: “Great things are already going on in Bayonne, and I’m excited to be a part of that and then to be of service in any way I possibly can to continue the momentum. And to provide any services and any resources that we can to help our teachers be best equipped to educate our students in the best possible way.”
Plans in motion
Vecchiarelli said she has begun reaching out to building principals to introduce herself and to take note of anything they may need for special services. She has already been corresponding with parents, with whom she wants to build strong relationships.
“Working together with parents, we are always going to achieve optimal results for kids,” Vecchiarelli said. “That has been my philosophy as building vice principal, as a building principal, and as a teacher that I cannot stress enough.”
She continued: “I’m grateful to be part of a truly phenomenal district that already has so many great things going on, and the welcome I’ve received has been truly humbling.”
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