Southern Regional School Board Recognizes Staff Members Who Helped Save a Life

By David Biggy | Dec 18, 2019

Stafford Township, NJ — As a recent medical incident at the high school indicated, it pays to have quick-thinking and take-charge staff inside the school, and the Southern Regional Board of Education paid homage to three of them during its monthly meeting on Dec. 11.

“I’m calling this ‘education highlight’ a ‘Call to Action,’” said Superintendent Craig Henry as he initially addressed the board before public recognizing Keith Cocuzza, school nurse Barbara Nokes and Nick Herring for their roles in making sure student Tyler Leary received swift emergency medical care on Dec. 2.

“We have a student with a cardiac condition, and during physical education class an episode occurred by which clearly a medical emergency was developing. These three individuals formed a response team, and in doing so they saved this student’s life, and he’s still on this planet. Without their actions, he would no longer be with us, and we’d be having a memorial service.”

The proclamation doled out to the school nurse and two physical education teachers praised the trio for upholding Southern’s “standard of excellence that the Southern Family subscribes to in all of its endeavors.”

Nokes said the incident was something that will “stay with us for a long time.”

“I’m used to certain situations, but they are not,” Nokes said, speaking of Cocuzza and Herring, who were standing next to her. “I had a good team. They were awesome.”

Beyond regular board business, all of which was moved forward and approved without any fanfare, the board said goodbye to member Rick McDonough, whose three-year term expires at the end of the month.

“Between owning a business, being on the board, being involved with the fire department and first aid squad, and having a family with kids who are getting older, I wanted to find a little more personal time for them,” McDonough said after the meeting.

During his comments to the board, McDonough said he was “honored and proud to have sat among all of you and represent my community and the entire Southern team.”

“The cohesiveness of this team, not only the board leadership but the administrative team, and how there’s an amazing tie-in at all levels of this organization, is incredible,” he added later. “I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn about school governance. I was surrounded by folks, most of whom went to school here and have far more experience in school governance than I did, who really present an amazing package to the community and our students. There’s such a wealth of knowledge here, it’s amazing.”

— David Biggy

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