Principal's Message

  • Dear TJ Families,

    Welcome to 2019! I hope our Thomas Jefferson Community had a safe and enjoyable holiday season and a healthy start to the new year.

    Last month, the theme of our newsletter was TIME. I took some time to discuss the importance of time with family and valuing time whether it be with family, friends or valuing my time with my teachers and students in Thomas Jefferson School. This month, I would like to put a spotlight on the word, LEADERSHIP. Many times when we think of the word, leadership, we think of a captain or someone leading a group of people through a journey or challenges-ultimately to a victorious ending. Instead, I would like to value the students of Thomas Jefferson School and how we are working hard to groom leaders among our students. Some of our students are born with a hunger for leadership while for others, we work in pointing them toward that direction and providing leadership opportunities. We know that all of our students have the potential to lead, learn and grow. These leadership opportunities that our students have taken part in are making our daily morning announcements, introducing assemblies and leadership roles in such programs as band, theatre and on our sports teams. We have a peer mentorship program where our 8th graders mentor students in our Multiple Disabled program. We have had students make presentations at Board of Education meetings and students create after school extra-curricular clubs. Our student government leads different programs throughout the school year, as well. Under the guidance of Mrs. O’Brien, our 8th Grade Language Arts teacher, our entire 8th grade class recently supervised and ran a school-wide dance, with a 60’s Outsiders theme, where our students led such activities as the snack stand, security, 60s dances, games and hallway monitoring. Our students of all grades are capable of leading in one capacity or another. We continue to provide these opportunities for them, and we encourage them to take part. Please help support us by encouraging your kids to take part in these great leadership opportunities. Ask your child what he/she led in Thomas Jefferson School!

    As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, we hosted motivational speaker, Fabian Ramirez, at our school to speak to our 7th and 8th graders about bullying, making good choices and being self-advocates. Fabian connected with our students by talking about some of his own experiences growing up, with his family, friends and in school. He stressed the Golden Rule-treat others the way you would want to be treated, seeing the good in people and forming positive relationships.

    I am proud to announce that both our Boys and Girls Basketball Teams have qualified for their respective County Basketball Tournaments. Their first-round matchups will have the boys facing Delbarton on Friday, January 25th at 4:30pm at Mackinnon Middle School in Wharton. On Friday, January 25th at 6pm, the girls will be facing the winner of Riverdale vs. Harding at Memorial Junior School in Whippany. Come out and support our Manly and Lady Rams! You can find more playoff information on the Thomas Jefferson Rams Athletics Facebook page.

    And now for a few notes from the health office - Please continue to stay healthy as we are now in flu season. We are working hard to keep classrooms and buildings disinfected and clean, as well. If you send in any student health related information, please have it sent directly to our school nurse, Mrs. Linda Savercool. We depend on Mrs. Savercool to take the best care of our students (and staff at times!), and she will disseminate any health information to any other staff who need to know, as well.

    A few other upcoming January events include:

    • Tuesday, January 29th, Report Cards are issued.
    • Friday, January 31st, Cap and Gown pictures.


    And finally, I am extremely honored to announce the Governor’s Educators of the Year award winners from Thomas Jefferson School. Our well-deserved winners were: Support Professional of the Year, Jean Swanick and Educator of the Year, Antonia Zangara. The Governor’s Educator of the Year program is a state-mandated program which follows strict criteria and procedure in collecting nominations and then following a scoring rubric to select the winners. We are extremely proud to announce Mrs. Swanick and Mrs. Zangara as this year’s winners for Thomas Jefferson School. They are true leaders in our community!


    As the winter weather continues, please stay safe, stay warm and stay in the loop on school happenings! We appreciate your involvement in the Thomas Jefferson Community.


    Warm Regards,

    David Waxman