Meola named president of the Kennett School Board
● By Steven Hoffman
Joseph Meola was selected to serve as the president of the Kennett School Board during the annual reorganization meeting on Dec. 4.
The school board also welcomed four new members as a result of the November 7 school board election. The four new members are Mark Bowden (Region A), Paola Rosas-Weed (Region B), and William Brown and Victoria Gehrt (Region C). Returning school board members include Meola, Rudy Alfonso, Michael Finnegan, Aline Frank, and Dominic Perigo, Jr.
Once the new board members took the oath of office, they were seated with the other members and the board moved on to its first order of business—electing a president for the next year.
Alfonso nominated Meola for president. It was the only nomination, and the full board unanimously approved Meola's selection.
“It's an honor to serve as president,” Meola said, explaining that his predecessors served in the role with distinction.
Next, Perigo was nominated to serve as vice president in 2018. There were no other nominations, and Perigo was unanimously approved to serve as the board vice president.
The Kennett School Board then approved its meeting schedule for 2018. Meetings will take place on the second Monday of the month on the following dates: Jan. 8 (Bancroft Elementary); Feb. 12 (Mary D. Lang K Center); March 12 (Mary D. Lang K Center); March 12 (Mary D. Lang K Center); April 9 (Mary D. Lang K. Center); May 14 (Kennett Middle School); June 11 (Mary D. Lang K Center); July 9 (Mary D. Lang K Center); Sept. 10 (Kennett High School); October 8 (Greenwood Elementary); Nov. 12 (New Garden Elementary); and Dec. 3 (Mary D. Lang K Center).
With the reorganization meeting's business complete, the board then began the regular agenda.
In his superintendent's report, Dr. Barry Tomasetti informed the school board that the Kennett Middle School was designated as a Pennsylvania School to Watch. He outlined the criteria that was used in the process of evaluating the Kennett Middle School. Additionally, Kennett High School was identified by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best high schools in America, according to a recent ranking.
Tomasetti credited the curriculum supervisors and all the teachers, K-12, in the district, for helping the students achieve success.
“It takes everybody's work to get us to where we are today,” Tomasetti said.
Alfonso was appointed to serve as the Kennett School Board's representative on the Chester County Intermediate Unit Board. Alfonso's appointment is for a three-year term, effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021.
During the public comment period, Mark Beeson, the head coach of the middle school football team, talked to the school board about the program, which currently operates without a financial cost to the district. Beeson explained that the middle school added football as a pay-to-play sport six years ago, and a team of volunteers coach the players. There were about 25 players on the seventh-grade team, and another 25 players on the eighth-grade team this past season.
There is a $185 participation fee for each player to participate, but no child is denied the opportunity to be on the team based on the ability to pay—some parents step up and offer to pay for those families that might not be able to afford the participation fees. Fundraisers are also held to offset the costs.
Beeson said that the program has had a lot of success—no Kennett Middle School football team has finished below .500 in the six seasons—and a group of dedicated volunteers give of their time throughout the football season.
“We have built a really great thing,” Beeson said. “We've had really great success. It's a wonderful thing to see this grow.”
Tomasetti and several board members thanked Beeson for his work with overseeing the football program for six years.
Beeson said that he has already turned in his resignation so that the school can make plans for 2018, and he would like to see the middle school football program transition from an all-volunteer effort to a regular school program where a few coaches would be paid for their efforts. He suggested that the head coach and two assistant coaches be paid, with the rest of the staff rounded out by volunteers who are willing to help out with coaching the players. Beeson noted that it's important for the varsity and junior varsity programs to work in coordination with the middle school program so that the players are learning a similar system with consistent teachings from the coaches.
Tomasetti and middle school officials will explore the possibility of providing some funding for the football program.
Beeson thanked the school board for the support and for the opportunity to coach the team.
The school board will meet again on Monday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. at Bancroft Elementary School.