Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Ages 2 - 10 * Drop In 

7pm - Hilton Branch 

All children must be 

accompanied by an adult.


If you went looking for the video recordings of the last two school board meetings online, now you know why you couldn't find them.

This notice from the district:

VOD - August 25, 2014 & September 22, 2014 Board of Education Meetings
 Due to technical difficulties, the above meetings have not been posted to the VOD website (http://somatv.pegcentral.com/).  We are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and hope to have it resolved soon.  You may view the board meeting agendas by clicking on the following links:
August 25, 2014
September 22, 2014

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


The school district posted this update today with information on the next public forums related to the superintendent search and the notification that the next school board meeting on October 13 will be held at Columbia High School:

The Board of Education is pleased by the thoughtfulness and volume of community input to the superintendent search process.  Approximately 650 online surveys have been completed and there have been 200 participants involved in interviews, focus groups and open forums.  

There are two remaining opportunities to provide input to the development of the leadership profile and search criteria that will be used to identify and evaluate superintendent candidates:

Monday, October 6th in the District Meeting Room, 525 Academy St, Maplewood
Elementary & Middle School Parents focus group 7:00-8:15 pm Open Forum, open to the community 8:15 - 9:30 pm


Thursday, October 9th in the Columbia High School Library
Teachers and Support Staff 3:45 - 4:45
Middle & High School parents focus group 7:00-8:15 pm Open Forum, open to the community 8:15 - 9:30 pm.

On Monday, October 13th the Board will open in public session in the Columbia High School library and move immediately to closed session to review the leadership profile and finalize the superintendent search criteria developed based on community input.  Following the closed session, the Board will return to public session at 8:30 pm.  When the Board returns to public session, Dr. Nunery of HYA Associates will give an overview of the leadership profile and search criteria. There will then be an opportunity for hearings from individuals and delegations (public speaks).  This will be followed by a discussion and vote by the Board on the superintendent search criteria.

On Monday, November 10th the Board will meet in executive session to select the candidates that will be invited for a first round of interviews.  

The first and second round of interviews will take place in December.  The Board will invite the 3 BOE candidates that win in the November 4th BOE election to observe these interview sessions and participate in the pursuant Board discussions about candidate qualifications.  However, only current Board members will be involved in selecting the candidates that return for the second round of interviews.  The identity of the candidates participating in the first and second round of interviews will be kept confidential.

After the Board of Education Reorganization meeting in early January, the Board will select the  finalist(s), conduct further interviews and approve a new superintendent.  The new superintendent will start on or before July 1, 2015

We are grateful to everyone who has provided input and thank the community for their cooperation in this process.

Beth Daugherty


Baby Lit (ages birth - 2 ½) 

No registration required - All children must be accompanied by an adult. 

Valid Maplewood library card required

10:30 a.m. Main library.


Attorney Timothy Smith
Although a bail reduction was denied for accused Columbia High School teacher Nicole Default on Friday, her attorney believes it may be lowered in the future. He also said she may be able to cover the current $500,000 bail amount as well.

“As we accumulate additional information, if we did come into possession of evidence or information favorable to a defense position there would be a justification for a renewed bail reduction application,” said Timothy Smith, Dufault’s attorney, who spoke with Maplewoodian.com Monday. “There is also the possibility that our client will make bail. A bond could be posted, she has an extensive family network who care deeply for her.”

Dufault, a nine-year CHS teacher, was arrested two weeks ago and charged with sexual assault on five 15-year-old students. Prosecutors also confirmed the existence of a video that allegedly shows Dufault engaged in sexual activity with at least one of the victims. The 35-year-old mother of two was denied a bail reduction Friday.

Smith also pointed out that, contrary to earlier reports by some news media at the time of her arrest, Dufault’s three- and five-year-old children were not taken from her custody. He confirms they were sent to live with family members at Dufault’s request.

“I dispute the suggestion that my client’s children were involuntarily removed from her care and control,” Smith said. “To the contrary, these allegations, which my client is presumed innocent of, have nothing to do with her children and by all accounts my client is a model parent.”

He said state Department of Children and Families officials visited her home prior to her arrest and found no improper care. 

“It is my understanding that an independent assessment by the state deemed my client’s children to be very well-kept,” Smith said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is truly repulsive given the hardship that she endured during pregnancy complications and how hard my client worked as a single mother to care for her children.”

Smith was referring to what he has previously stated is a medical condition that might have played a part in the alleged incidents, a shunt inserted in Dufault’s brain to stem fluid build-up after an incident during one of her pregnancies. He said the shunt is manipulated and operated by an electronic magnetic device.
He also claims she has been a single mother for at least a year after a break-up with her ex-husband. 

“In the end, this case may not be about all it seems at this time,” Smith contends. “Once the facts are fully developed this case is not going to appear as it is being currently reported.”

Dufault is due in court again on October 24 for a pre-indictment conference, Smith said.


From NewJerseystage.com:


(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- The Theater Project may be on a mission to find out whether there's a limit to the number of roles one actor can play in a single production. Each of the next three plays presented by The Theater Project will challenge a cast member's metamorphosis quotient.
The first show, RUSH LIMBAUGH IN NIGHT SCHOOL (October 2 – 5) is a fantasia about a famous conservative talk show host's foray into liberal land and Greenwich Village. In this one man epic, local favorite Harry Patrick Christian plays "the great man from the right" and transforms into 25 of the "lefties" he encounters on his journey.

MRS. MANNERLY (October 9 -- 12) is playwright Jeffrey Hatcher's semi – autobiographical retelling of the etiquette classes he endured as a boy in Ohio, taught by a lady with a very mysterious past. Jason Gillis plays Jeffrey and each of his little classmates, and Noreen Farley is the mysterious lady.

PS 69 – A TEACHER GROWS IN BROOKLN (October 16 – 19) will feature its author, Susan Jeremy, portraying the teachers, administrators, parents and students she encountered on her way to becoming an educator. Ms. Jeremy takes the audience through the bureaucratic mazes and chaotic corridors of the New York City school system, illustrating the ironies and absurdities teachers encounter daily. Ms. Jeremy has performed this acclaimed one-woman show throughout the United States and Europe. "New Jersey seemed like the next logical step," she commented. The New York Times said: "Ms. Jeremy slips seamlessly in and out of 24 roles."

Artistic Director Mark Spina explained, "A single actor creating multiple characters, using only their voice and body, is an enormous challenge, and a celebration of talent and theatricality --- a real joy to watch, and we are proud to be able to share this with our patrons."

Two other characteristics common to all of the productions in the three week series is that each is set in a school of one kind or another, and each one is a humorous salute to educators. Teachers can receive discounted tickets by contacting info@TheTheaterProject.org . Actors will greet the audiences for talkbacks after each performance.

All three shows will take place at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ. Tickets are available at www.thetheaterproject.org and at 908-809-8865. At the door admission is $30 adults, $15 students. Special discounts are available when buying tickets prior to October 1: purchase tickets to see three plays for $45, two plays for $40, or one play for $25.

The Theater Project, an award-winning company that has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, presents its main stage season at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood. It offers subsidiary programs, including classes for kids in theater, juggling and music, in Essex and Union Counties, all on display at their web site: TheTheaterProject.org

After September's back-to-school frenzy subsides, come relax at The Theater Project!

Monday, September 29, 2014


Maplewood Police sent this out as an addition to the earlier police report:

On September 17th  at about 10:20 PM Maplewood Police received a call from a resident of Yale St. The resident reported that a male was seen in the caller's rear yard with his genitals exposed. Upon being observed, the suspect fled the area. The only description of the suspect is that he is a dark-skinned black male about 5'8" tall, with a slightly muscular build, wearing light blue jeans and a red belt. Officers responded to the area and conducted an extensive yard to yard search; however they were unable to locate any suspects. Detectives are actively investigating the incident.