Reassigning teacher hurts school community

The Freehold Borough Board of Education has had to make internal changes and, in doing so, has done a disservice to the students and taxpayers of this community. As retired Freehold Borough teachers and taxpayers, we think a number of these changes are disturbing, but only one will be addressed.

How can the quality of teaching and the integrity of education be maintained if a loved, respected, talented and extremely capable teacher is removed from her specialty and passion?

The art teacher at the Free-hold Intermediate School and the Park Avenue Elementary School, Leslie Daley, has always gone above and beyond her classroom responsibilities.

She has mentored innumerable students and channeled their energy in a positive way. Many of these students were at a very critical stage in their adolescent development. Her interest impacted their lives; many chose a particular form of art as a career path.

Her love of teaching art introduced those students and others to a new world of cultural, academic and creative experiences. Her lessons bridged the other subjects, thus enriching and extending the students’ realm.

For school productions, which have been part of the core curriculum, Leslie Daley designed all the scenery.

With her direction and guidance, the work done by the students looked almost professional.

Her ideas for decorations for the eighth-grade dance transported the students to another place for an evening. Everyone who entered the building commented on the spectacular transformation of the gym.

All the decorating was done under her supervision. On her own, she collected soaps and lotions to make toiletry baskets for the rest rooms on that special night so students could feel like they were in a five-star hotel for the evening.

There are many more achievements – her special art classes were challenged and made projects worthy of an art gallery. The windows of the shops in town were painted by her students for Halloween. What originality!

Isn’t this what teaching is all about – building self-esteem along with knowledge, inspiring creativity, and providing opportunities for the students to be a contributing member of not only the school community, but the community at large?

Yet, with all she has accomplished and despite her enthusiasm and passion for art, this special person will no longer be the art teacher. What a terrible loss! How did the Freehold Borough school board allow this to happen?

Diane Quade

Barbara Freeman

Freehold Borough