Hirschberg In, McNabola Out as Glen Rock Board President

McNabola disappointed the board has switched up the leadership structure while still searching for a superintendent.

The nine-member Glen Rock school board was shaken up considerably Monday night with the appointment of Sheldon Hirschberg as board president.

The long-time resident and three-year board member overcame former board president Rona McNabola in a 5-4 vote at the reorganization meeting. Barbara Steuert, sworn in to another term on Monday, will remain as vice president. Gene Calderon and Liz Carr were also sworn in.

It was the board's newest member, Carr, who made a big splash at the reorganization meeting. The trustee nominated Hirschberg. He then received additional votes from himself, Robin Rubenstein, Randi Blumberg and Carlo Cella, securing the title as board president.

The change in leadership comes during a period of unique challenges in Glen Rock. Interim Superintendent Ray Albano announced his resignation on Monday and a permanent replacement for ex-schools chief David Verducci remains elusive after nine months. The board is also right in the middle of budget crafting season.

"My general thought is it is what it is," McNabola said Tuesday, adding that others asked her to step aside quietly but she rebuffed. "I'm a member of the board and I still have the same one vote as everyone else has. My whole thing is what's best for the district and I thought myself being president, continuing until we settled on a new superintendent, was important for consistency."

Hirschberg says he has an "excellent relationship" with McNabola and considers her a "mentor".

"The practice on the board in the past two decades is that the president stays for a couple years and rotates out. I don't think anyone had any issues with Rona but some on the board I guess thought we should continue that protocol."

Finding a permanent superintendent remains a priority, he said.

Fortunately, according to Hirschberg, the district is in good shape financially and academically.

"I want to continue the successess the board has had," he told Patch.

The charter of the board is to ensure academic success for students while keeping taxes as low as possible, Hirschberg said. The district has set the goal of keeping taxes from rising more than 1 percent in 2013-2014.

"What we've been able to do in the last few years is to make sure the money is going into the educational programs," he remarked. "But there are ways to be more efficient. If we can do that, we can be successful." 

Though disappointed her tenure as board president has come to an end, McNabola said she's available to lend a hand if need be.

"Shel has not been the officer of the board before, so it'll be a learning curve," she said. "Hopefully I was a good role model on running the board. He knows I'm available if he ever has any questions."

USAUSA January 09, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Well I am sorry to say that I am not that upset a change needed to be made Rona should have stepped down a long time ago!
Glen S. Park January 09, 2013 at 04:05 PM
For a BOE to have a 5-4 vote for Pres indicates that it is a split and most likely dysfunctional Board. I would not be shocked if any decent candidates pulled their names out of consideration.
Rene January 09, 2013 at 04:37 PM
The BOE has had MONTHS to find a new Super, screwed up graduation last year, lost revenue for the booster club this fall at the snack stand, a state championship soccer team that played ONE game at home in the past two years, ( how much extra in buses did we have to spend for that, along with the other sports that never had a home game). and the absolute mismanagement of the sports complex. Time for a change, and I hope some accountability as well for the administration and why this is happening. And the kicker is that we don't even have lights on the field as well. Give us a break. Good luck to Mr. Hirshberg, he will need it.
John Hahn January 10, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Rene, Ot comes down to the voters. The BOE controls 67-70% of all GR tax monies. But the electorate sits back and says little and does little. Voter turnout for BOE elections when they were separate was in the 20 - 40%. BOE meetings are poorly attended. Some people may not speak up because they fear reprisals. One problem is they love to spend money. Hi priced Supt. who bail when they will lose money. Secretly saving for a sports field upgrade rather than ask the voters. Unless the voters take an active part the BOE will go on business as usual. As for lights on the field, they can rent what they need when they need it. this would be 4 football games at most. Thinking about the people who bought and live along Radburn, cornwall, Kirkwood. Lights would change how their evenings would be.
JJ Murphy January 10, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Words I don't say often...Big Brother is right in my opinion. Rene and the others also seem to be spot on. Unfortunately Ms. Carr is the only new trustee and will be up against the status quo, "We have always done it this way," mentality. We all witnessed how quickly the old guard ran Mrs. Moore off the board. I hope the selection of Mr. Hirshberg and and the addition of Ms. Carr are signs of positive change.


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