North Bergen Health Officer Janet Castro is ‘Woman of the Year’

Library Executive Director Sai Rao, the 2020 designee, was also honored

Janet Castro (left) and Sai Rao
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Janet Castro (left) and Sai Rao

Mayor Nicholas Sacco and the Board of Commissioners recently presented certificates of appreciation to North Bergen’s Women of the Year for 2021 and 2020. Health Officer Janet Castro was named the Township’s Woman of the Year 2021 by Hudson County in late March, and Library Executive Director Sai Rao received the honor in 2020.

County Commissioner Anthony Vainieri presented the women with county proclamations. Also on hand were Commissioners Hugo Cabrera, Frank Gargiulo, Julio Marenco, and Allen Pascual; Schools Superintendent Dr. George Solter; EMS Chief David Prina; NHRFR Executive Director Michael DeOrio, and many other officials.

‘Exceeding everyone’s expectations’

Due to the rapid onset of the pandemic, there was no official presentation last year for winner Sai Rao. A resident of North Bergen for 30 years, she is the first woman Executive Director of the Township’s Free Public Library.

“While striving to meet the needs of her community, Sai passionately serves residents by continually gauging their needs and exceeding their expectations,” the proclamation reads. A winner of the New York Times Librarian of the Year Award, Sai “has secured many grants which provide a myriad of services and resources for the community, such as career assistance, citizenship training, adult education, technology, collection, programming, health, youth services, construction, and more.”

Sai is a member of the North Bergen Board of Education and is president of the Hudson County Library Directors Association. She is a member of the BCCLS Executive Board, Scholarship Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, and the chair of the Capital Plan Task Force and Branding Task Force. She also serves on the Community Relations Committee at HackensackUMC Palisades Hospital.

Castro honored again

Janet Castro has served in the North Bergen Health Department for 17 years and as the township’s licensed health officer since 2014. Through shared services agreements with neighboring municipalities, she also represents Union City, Guttenberg, Weehawken, Secaucus, and Harrison.

The county proclamation states, “Janet has proven herself to be an incredibly dedicated public servant, especially in the last year when she guided the Township of North Bergen’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In April, Castro was named one of Hudson County Women’s History Month Honorees, with designees chosen from each town. Castro received the honor for her work as health officer throughout the pandemic, including spearheading COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations.

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