Alyson Denzler
Alyson Denzler
Alyson Denzler

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS –  More than three decades of volunteer service by three women on the local Board of Education were recognized and the women honored at last night’s meeting of the Board, with Board Chairman Alyson Denzler receiving double commendations for her years of leadership as chairman during the past decade.

Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Compton led the bevy of well-wishers honoring Denzler, Connar Barnes and Julie Mahoney as the trio stepped down from the board after a total of more than 20 years, with Denzler serving ten, Barnes five, and Mahoney six years.


The resolution honoring Ms. Denzler will be hung in the hall of the elementary school, a tribute, Dr. Compton said, to the legacy the chairman has left. Other board members also praised Denzler’s contributions of time, talent and ingenuity to the board and expressed their thanks and appreciation for the years they have worked with her.

connar barnes

PHOTO: Connar Barnes

Denzler expressed her thanks to Dr. Compton, the board, and the parents and students of the elementary school and urged board members to  “keep doing what you’re doing because you’re top notch.”  She said she has been pleased and honored to serve on the board and believes all her actions were always in the best inters of the school and the students. “It is sometimes hard being both a board member and a parent,” she said, “but her decisions were always for the school.” She told parents they should be proud of their children and their efforts in school and reminded them that the elementary school is “part of an amazing tri-district, with the best educators” referring to Highlands Elementary and Henry Hudson, the other two schools comprising the tri-district and their faculties..   

At the same meeting, the board also unanimously approved and welcomed new board members  Dan Sutton and Allison Jacobs, both appointed to terms until the November 2021 election. Their terms will officially begin as soon as their background checks have been completed. Both were at the board meeting and responded to questions from board members as to why they want to serve, whether they realize the amount of time and energy it involves and how they feel they can contribute to the high standards of education already set in the district. It is anticipated they will be voting members of the board after being sworn in at the reorganization meeting Jan. 5.

In the resolution honoring Denzler, Dr. Compton praised Denzler for her tireless efforts in building and preserving the educational integrity of the Atlantic highlands school, her service as a member since April, 2011 and her service as board president since 2016. Dr. Compton also cited the chairman’s “countless hours to the improvement of education in Atlantic Highlands,” and honored her as “a highly distinguished representative of the board of education.” The superintendent also  thanked her for her “educational strides for greatness.” Denzler had also been honored by the Mayor and Council of the borough, who named Dec. 15 Alyson Denzler Day in the borough at their last meeting. She was also honored for serving as a leader on the Tri-District Board Leadership Team/Committee.

Dr. Compton noted that the local board has only had three board chairman in the last 30 years, praising each who held the position from former Mayor and Board Chair Helen Marchetti, to Sara Weimer, to Denzler, a record of which few school district can point.

julia mahoneyPHOTO: Julie Mahoney

The two new appointments and last November’s election mean the board will be comprised of four new members and one re-elected member among the nine on the board of education at the January reorganization meeting. Re-elected to her second term last November was Erin Dougherty. Sutton and Jacobs are replacing Randi Zamkotowicz and Connar Barnes, both of whom stepped down before the ends of their three year terms, and Molly Murphy and Melissa Baxendine who were both elected in November along with  Dougherty.

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Muriel J. Smith

Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, in...