Manchester Says Farewell To Board Member, Honors Teacher

Members of the Manchester Township Board of Education recently honored outgoing Board Vice President Jennifer Hudak who served on the board for nine years. (Photo courtesy Manchester Schools)

  MANCHESTER – Superintendent of Schools David Trethaway provided a big thanks to Jennifer Hudak on behalf of the township’s school board. Hudak ended her nine-year tenure on the panel recently.

   “Thank you Mrs. Hudak. Nine years on the board goes by quickly sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t, but the one thing I always say when we talk about board members is I just hope that they are there for the right reason and we’ve been very fortunate here in Manchester,” Trethaway said.

  He added that Hudak “has been here for the right reasons. She’s always been an advocate for the students at all different levels, whether it’s AP students, special needs students, basic skills students, she’s always been an advocate.”

  “You always look to a board member for a voice of reason and it’s important to get board members like Jenn who are in the community, who have children in the community, have experience as a teacher, to be that voice of reason. So whatever decisions she made I think, whether yes or no, it was always based on what’s best for the students, what’s best for the parents, what’s best for the staff, but most of all what’s best for Manchester,” the superintendent added.

  He added, “she has always been respectful and knowledgeable, she knew what the role of the board was and she was a strong advocate, as I said, for all those people. Most important is that she was always ethical and again all her decisions were based on what she felt was best for our students here.”

   “I want to congratulate you and thank you for nine years on the board and for some really outstanding service to our district. We’ll miss you,” Trethaway said.

  The recipient of those accolades responded saying, “I just want to thank Mr. Trethaway and all the board members. This was a difficult decision for me because I have been doing this for nine years and I did join the board because I grew up in Manchester.”

  Hudak added, “I graduated from Manchester High School. My husband and I moved from Monmouth County and decided to raise our children here and Manchester has always just been a part of who I am. At the same time, you know my own children are getting older. I have two in college and I have one left in high school and I really just felt like I was at a point where I wanted to, you know, try to squeeze out every last moment with them that I can.”

   “I’m going to miss my daily talks with Dave – I’m sure he’s going to miss hearing from me. I have him on speed dial. I think you know everybody’s here for the right reason. Thank you very much,” Hudak said.

  Kathleen Antonelli was honored as Ridgeway School 2020 Teacher of the Year during the recent Board of Education meeting.

  Antonelli, who has been a teacher for over 30 years, was described by Ridgeway School Principal Nikki Mazur as someone “who puts her whole heart and soul into her job. She has helped many, many special education students and their families feel valued and loved.”

  “We have many wonderful teachers here but what sets her apart is her golden heart. Mrs. Antonelli will volunteer to help anyone in need. She is always willing to help any member of our Ridgeway community,” Mazur added.

   Antonelli has served as a mentor teacher in a special education setting. “I am so honored to receive this award for the second time. What I have learned over the years is that it takes a village and I have to say I have the best most amazing village.

  “I work with the most caring, dedicated people and I must acknowledge the phenomenal families of my students. They are always positive and understanding,” Antonelli said.

  During that meeting, School Board members listened to a PowerPoint Presentation concerning New Jersey Social and Emotional Learning Competencies. The presentation included a review of the importance of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making and relationship skills.