new board member
Priscilla Church speaks at the podium following her swearing-in as the BOE’s newest member Monday night.

By Erin Roll

Monday night’s BOE meeting saw a new member joining the board.

The meeting started with the swearing-in of Priscilla Church as the BOE’s newest member.

Church was accompanied by her husband Jay as she was sworn in. Deputy Clerk Juliet Lee administered the oath of office.

Mayor Robert Jackson appointed Church this spring to fill the next BOE vacancy. Franklin Turner stepped down from the BOE on Sept. 7 after purchasing a new home in another town.

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Several BOE members took a moment to acknowledge Turner’s service on the board, which included serving a term as the board’s vice president.

Church’s experience as an educator includes work in early childhood education, including at Montclair State University. She was also the principal of Fort Lee High School.

“I come to this board of education believing that every child can learn,” Church said.

The evening also included an update on Montclair’s review process for new field surfaces.

“Folks, I’d say it’s safe to say that the 18-19 year is shaping up as the year of infrastructure,” said board member Joe Kavesh.

The district has been looking into turf options for the overhaul of Montclair’s Woodman and Fortunato athletic fields.

Kavesh recently visited a new athletic field in West Orange on a fact-finding mission. The field is outfitted with a “Cool Play” surface, a brand of turf with an infill designed to reduce the temperature of the field.

The decision on turf needs to be made with input from parents and athletes, board member Anne Mernin said.

Board member Jessica de Koninck inquired whether the Montclair Environmental Commission could be involved in the decision-making process as well. Business Administrator Emidio D’Andrea responded that he would be happy to reach out to the commission and include them in the discussion.

Board member Eve Robinson said she wanted to be convinced of the safety and effectiveness of whatever turf surface the district went with, and not by the manufacturers’ own testimonies about their products.

“This is an investment that we’re making that’s going to last many years, that’s going to impact many, many children,” Robinson said.