After three West New York Board of Education trustees were sworn in, 20-year-old Adam Parkinson was voted board president and Damarys Gonzalez was named vice president at last night’s meeting.
The meeting began with West New York Schools Business Administrator Dean Austin swearing in the three trustees who were victorious at the polls on November 3: Lorena Portillo, Matthew Cheng and Jonathan Castaneda.
After a long debate over the best procedure for voting on the new board president, Trustee Dennise Mejia nominated Parkinson and Trustee Joan Palermo nominated Cheng.
Prior to the vote, outgoing BOE President Steven Rodas expressed his satisfaction with his term as the head of the board, adding that it was “time to pass the baton” to Parkinson.
Parkinson was named the new president by a vote of 7-2, with Cheng and Palermo casting their votes for Cheng. The vote tally was identical when Damarys Gonzalez was elected vice president.
Rodas, Parkinson and Gonzalez successfully ran together on the “Children First” slate back in November 2014.
Parkinson thanked his friends, family and colleagues for their support, also commending Rodas for his term as president, before stating he never expected to ever be on the board, let alone lead it.
Superintendent of Schools Clara Brito Herrera added that she was pleased to see two Memorial High School graduates sitting atop the board in 2016.
Furthermore, West New York Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo, a former board of education president in his early 20s, presented proclamations to the recently elected trustees on behalf of the state Senate and Assembly.
On a small clerical point, the board also voted to push their meetings back to 6 p.m. in 2016 by a vote of 7-2 (Castaneda and Mejia voted no), though they left the door open to change the meeting days and times in the future.