On Tuesday February 11th, the Upper Darby School Board approved former Clifton Heights Police Chief Ronald Berry to fill the seat vacated in December 2013 by Hugh McElhenney. Six candidates had initially applied for the position. These individuals were publicly interviewed by the School Board in January.
Appointing a new School Board Director was one of the agenda items for the February School Board meeting. According to School Board protocol, the Directors must publicly nominate and second the contenders for the position at a public School Board meeting. On Tuesday night, the first nomination came from School Board Director Ken Rucci in support of Ronald Berry; his nomination was seconded by School Board President Judith Gentile. Next, Kate Smith was nominated by School Board Director Rachel Mitchell and seconded by School Board Director Earl Toole. Stacey Hawley was nominated by Director Manjit Singh and seconded by Director Mitchell.
When the floor was opened for public comment, ex-School Board Director McElhenney spoke about his experience on the School Board. He also highlighted Mr. Berry’s character and experience, noting that Mr. Berry was well known in Clifton Heights. Several residents spoke about Mrs. Smith’s leadership skills, background in communications, and reputation as an advocate for special needs children in our District.
In the end, five votes were cast for Mr. Berry (Directors Gentile, Carey, Zarrilli, Rucci, and Gaul), two for Mrs. Smith (DIrectors Mitchell and Toole), and one for Mrs. Hawley (Director Singh).
The Upper Darby School Board will swear in Mr. Berry at a Special School Board Meeting on February 18, 2014. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Upper Darby School Board Room at the high school.