Howard Freund, a fixture in the H.B. Whitehorne Middle School music department for more than a decade, will replace Jeffrey Monacelli as vice principal at the school. Brian Michalowski, who directed Seussical Jr. at HBW this past spring, will join the school’s music department full time, along with Dan Halpern, whose appointment has already been confirmed by the Verona Board of Education.
The BOE has not yet officially named Freund and Michalowski; the board does not meet again until August 31. However, both appointments were disclosed in a letter sent Friday to middle school parents by Yvette McNeal, the school’s principal. In the letter, she describes Freund as the “runaway choice” for the position, picked from a search that involved 250 resumes, 25 candidate screenings and final interviews of six candidates. Michalowski, a Verona native, is a 2005 graduate of Verona High School who has taught piano privately in the area.
The changes are part of a number of teacher and administrative shifts at the middle school, which began with the selection of Monacelli to be the principal of Forest Avenue School following the retirement of Tom Valente. Christine Donahue, who had been a sixth grade homeroom and math teacher, will replace math teacher Karen Sherris, who has taken a job in southern New Jersey. Carolyn Pietrucha, previously a sixth grade science teacher, will teach seventh and eighth grade science in place of Elsie Villavecchia, who retired in June.
Sara Lopez, who had been a third grade teacher at F.N. Brown Elementary School, will move to fifth grade. Long-term substitutes Kate Smith and Andrea Grannemann will gain permanent positions as sixth grade teachers. Harriet Warshaw, who had been in the guidance department at VHS, will move to HBW to replace Valerie Bowen, who retired in June. Coreen Onnembo, who had been splitting her time between VHS and HBW, will be moving to HBW full-time to teach both civics and social studies. Valerie Useche, who spent last year teaching at Memorial Junior High School in Whippany, will be returning to the Spanish department at HBW.