Education Recent News

Bellmawr School District’s Fiscal Year End June 30, 2020 Yields No Findings or Recommendations

Bowman & Company, the auditors for the Bellmawr School District, had no recommendations in their annual report for the Fiscal Year end June 30, 2020.

Because there were no findings, no Corrective Action Plan is required.

The Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) accepted the auditor’s report at their February 16, 2021 meeting.

Copies of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year end June 30, 2020 have also been made available.

(Screenshot taken from page 12 of the auditor’s report)

To view the audit in its entirety, click the image below.

To view the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report in detail, click the image below:

Bellmawr Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Bell Oaks Has Been Designated 2018 National School of Character by, the nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world, recently announced in a media release that it designated 73 schools and five districts from 17 states as 2018 National Schools and Districts of Character.

Bell Oaks Middle School is proud to be named one of the 2018 National Schools of Character.

Principal Anthony Farinelli and Vice Principal Melissa Gleason have worked tirelessly since 2008 to infuse the six pillars into the exploratory period, to relate them to literature and life in all subject areas and to stress their practice through classroom and service activities.

Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education.

Bell Oaks School of Character
(Image provided)

Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education. Since the inception of’s Schools of Character program in 1998, 547 schools and 35 districts have been designated as National Schools or Districts of Character, impacting more than three million people’s lives.

All designees were announced on May 18 at the conference of the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional, and Character Development conference at Rider University. The event was live-streamed across the nation.

Bell Oaks School of Character
Image Provided

Each year, and its state affiliates certify schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development with a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their communities. evaluates schools and districts selected in January as State Schools of Character (along with those schools who reapplied within their 3-year designation) for consideration for national certification as National Schools of Character.

Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, these schools were found to be exemplary models in character development. Of the schools named today, 17 schools are former National Schools of Character that have re-applied for the national designation. Criteria for selection are based on’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.

“At, we are extremely proud of this year’s National Schools of Character as well as our district recipients. Their dedication to character development is reducing the skills gap by equipping the future workforce with transferable relationship skills needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” said Doug Karr,’s President & CEO. “Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do, because they create fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth in communities of character. This year as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary, we are excited to also recognize 20 years of incredible National Schools of Character.” will honor the designated schools and districts at its 25th National Forum on Character to be held October 4-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Visit to learn more about the National Forum, the Schools of Character Certification (State & National) and the 2018 national honorees.

2018 National Schools of Character

New Jersey

Alexander Denbo Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Apshawa Elementary School
West Milford, New Jersey
Public K-6

Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School
Bellmawr, New Jersey
Public 5-8

Bret Harte Elementary
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Fort Dix Elementary
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Public PreK- 5

Frank J. Smith
East Hanover, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-2

Hilltop School
Mendham, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-4

Howard L. Emmons Elementary
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public K-2

Joseph D. Sharp Elementary School
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Joseph S. Stackhouse Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Madison Park Elementary
Parlin, New Jersey
Public K-5

Moss School
Metuchen, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-K

Pemberton Early Childhood Education Center
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public Pre-K

Robert R. Lazar Middle School
Montville, New Jersey
Public 6-8

Samuel T. Busansky Upper Elementary School
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Terence C. Reilly
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Public Pre-K and 2-8

Unity Charter School
Morristown, New Jersey
Charter K-8

West End Elementary School
North Plainfield, New Jersey

Bellmawr Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Harlem Globetrotters Present ABC’s of Bullying Prevention to Bellmawr Students

The Harlem Globetrotters made a special appearance in Bellmawr on November 3 to present their community outreach program “The ABC’s of Bullying Prevention” to the district’s students.

Targeted to 6-12 year olds, the program was designed by the Globetrotters in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV).

The program focuses on three key words that comprise the ABC’s — action, bravery, and compassion. Globetrotter players discussed tools and the three key words that kids can use on a daily basis to reduce bullying.

The Globetrotters equate what it means to be part of a team to how kids can offer support to one another to help stop bullying.

The event was sponsored by the Bellmawr Learning Community PTO,

All photos provided.


Bellmawr Education News Recent News

Bellmawr BOE Approves Annette Castiglione as Superintendent Thru 2020

The Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) approved a new contract for Chief School Administrator/Superintendent of Schools, Annette Castiglione, at its June 28, 2017 meeting.

All BOE members voted to approve the contract, along with all of the business on the meeting agenda, with the exception of Patrick Murray, who was present for the 5:00 p.m. workshop, but not for the 6:00 p.m. regular meeting.

The period for the Superintendent’s contract runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020. As for the annual salary, the terms of the contract state:

Initial Salary:

The Board shall pay the Superintendent an annual salary of One hundred sixty-five thousand dollars and no cents ($165,000.00) on July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.   These annual salary rates shall be paid in accordance with the schedule of salary payments as set forth by the Board of Education. July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019 $168,000. July 1 2019 through June 30 2020 $168,000 plus a 2% increase of $3,360 ($171,360.)

Minimum Salary:

On July 1, 2018 and July 1st of each subsequent year of this Employment Contract, the Board will grant the Superintendent a minimum of the following the Superintendent shall receive a 2% increase in salary.

Each year, the Superintendent is granted 20 vacation days, 12 sick leave days, and four personal days. The unused portion of such leave, not to exceed fifteen days, at the end of any year, will be cumulative. Upon separation from service, the Superintendent shall be paid for all unused accumulated sick days at the rate of 1/260 her then current salary up to the maximum of $15,000, the contract indicates.

The BOE will also pay 100% of the Superintendent’s membership fees to the American Association of School Board Administrators, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, and the Camden County Association of School Administrators.

Castiglione was also recently named 2018 Camden County Superintendent of the Year and the Bellmawr Early Childhood Center was recently dedicated to her.

To see the terms of the contract, see below:

Annette Castiglione Superintendent

Other approved agenda items included:

  • The bill list in the amount of $1,464,394.54
  • A three-year renewal of membership for the period July 1, 2017-July 1, 2020 for the School Alliance Fund.
  • A transfer of up to $400,000 of Surplus to Capital Reserve and a transfer of up to $150,000 of Surplus to Maintenance Reserve, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-14.3 and 14.4.
  • A lease agreement with MRA International for 139 laptops for 48 months under the Tax-Exempt Installment Sale ($1 buyout) plan at four annual payments of $9,463.86 each.
  • The application for funds through the Individuals with Disabilities Act, Part B (IDEA-B), FY 2018 and to accept the following funds: Basic $299,104 and Preschool $12,163 for a total of $311,267.

Additionally, the following new hires were approved:

  • Maria Fowler – Social Worker – MA-Step 1
  • Kayla Vogdes – Preschool teacher – BA-Step 1
  • Zachary R. Wakeley – 6th grade ELA – BA-Step 1
  • Nicole Renna – Part-time Music Teacher – MA-Step 1
  • Martha Guadalupe Arrizon – Spanish Teacher – BA-Step 5

Effective June 30, 2017, Roseanne Yezzo resigned as CARE Director effective June 30, 2017. The BOE approved contracts for CARE Site Supervisors as follows:

  • Jamie Croce – hourly rate of $17.86
  • Sue Saiia – hourly rate of $17.86
  • Katara Olivencia – hourly rate of $15.00

In other matters, interim Business Administrator, Mark Ritter, was thanked for his service to the district. Ritter had been serving as the district’s interim business administrator since January 30, 2017.

At the April 26, 2017 BOE meeting, The BOE approved the hiring of Patrick Doyle as the Business Administrator/ Board Secretary for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. The contract states that Doyle’s will be paid a salary of $106,500.

The BOE does not meet in July. The next meeting is Wednesday, August 24, 2017. Workshop begins at 5:00 p.m. and the Regular meeting follows at 6:00 p.m.

Patrick Doyle Bellmawr Business Administrator


Bellmawr News Recent News

Bellmawr Learning Community PTO First Color Run a Hit

The Bellmawr Learning Community PTO held its first Fun Color Run this morning at the Bellmawr Recreation Center. Board member, Danielle Tomeo, estimated that there were about 170 participants who took part in the event. “Everyone came and had a great time,” she said. She also gave special thanks to the Bellmawr Recreation Department, Bellmawr Fire Department, the parents, the community, and all of the event sponsors.

All photos by SJO. Board member, Danielle Tomeo, said the first color run was well-attended and well received by the community.

Bellmawr Fire Department’s Squirt 32 was positioned at the starting line and had the honor of kicking off the run. Its ladder was outstretched over the starting line and provided an aerial opportunity to douse runners and walkers with blasts of color from above.


Around the walking track, there were several other color stations manned by Bellmawr Board of Education members, teachers, and administrators.

Above: School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione, and Bellmawr Board of Education President, Jody Mangus, at one of the color stations. Below: Bell Oaks Vice Principal, Melissa Gleason, and Technology Teacher, Nick Rizzo, have fun tossing color at runners.


Board President, Jody Mangus said: “Four schools came together to unite the community. It was an excellent school-community event.”