Hugs and kisses for NASD directors
With heartfelt hugs and teary-eyed sentiments, three longtime Northampton Area School Board members were given their fond farewells Nov. 25.
Outgoing board Vice President Jane Erdo and board members Cory Fenstermaker and Robert Koch were honored during a 30-minute tribute, followed by coffee and cookies.
"It's bittersweet because we are saying goodbye to three board members," NASD Superintendent Joseph Kovalchik said.
It was the last NASD school board meeting for Erdo and Fenstermaker as elected directors. Koch, who has been ill, was not at the meeting.
Noting that Koch was elected in 2005 and served on the board for eight years, Kovalchik said, "Bob [Koch] paid countless visits to my office. Bob was very skilled in construction. He was very astute in that area. He has the kindest heart. He put forth a lot of effort into the school district."
Fenstermaker was also elected in 2005 and completed his eighth year on the school board this year.
"Cory [Fenstermaker] was highly-involved in the [Bethlehem Area] Vocational-Technical School," Kovalchik said.
Fenstermaker was one of two NASD board members representing the district on the BAVTS board.
Koch also represented NASD on the BAVTS board. School board President David Gogel filled in for Koch.
"Based on Cory's youth, he brought a different perspective to the board," Kovalchik said, mentioning Fenstermaker's role in the Colonel John Siegfried Elementary School, George Wolf Elementary School and Northampton Area High School renovation and expansion projects.
"When I ran for school board, I went from polling place to polling place in a suit and tie on my motorcycle," said Fenstermaker, 29. He was 21 when elected to his first term.
"I wish more young people would get involved [in politics]," Fenstermaker said.
Erdo was also elected in 2005 and served two terms. She also was a board member from 1995 to 1999.
"Her true passion and her true expertise is [Colonial] IU 20 and special education," Kovalchik said.
Erdo represented NASD on the IU board, including two years as president.
"There were many times when I called on Jane for her expertise. Jane is a very detailed person. She has an opinion, as we all know," added Kovalchik.
"He [Kovalchik] just opened Pandora's Box because he asked, 'Do I want to say anything?'" responded Erdo.
"It seems like it's gone by very quickly," Erdo said of her two successive terms.
"There've been meetings packed with 200 people to meetings with 10. I won't miss driving here at night from Moore Township," said Erdo, a Moore resident.
"I will miss our community," Erdo added.
"It really is a family," Kovalchik said of the NASD school board.
Erdo and Fenstermaker shook the hands with their fellow board members, and exchanged hugs – and even a few kisses on the cheek.
"In regards to Bob Koch – he was my buddy," board member Jean Rundle said.
"Bob [Koch] is also Mr. Band," said board member Dr. Michael Baird. "He put a lot of time in besides the board."
"I started to laugh the moment he said it: 'I'm the youngest. You're the oldest,'" Rundle said of Fenstermaker.
"Jane," Rundle said to Erdo, "We didn't always agree. You worked with that group [the IU] in a very good way."
"We all got into heated debates," Fenstermaker said. "But we never take it personally. What happens in the meeting room happens in the meeting room. Don't stew on it."