By: Megan Roche
Between running a household, working a full-time job, attending sports games and dance recitals, these moms have also devoted their time as co-presidents of Denville’s K-8 elementary and middle schools. At Denville Life, we wanted to honor these hard working moms for all they do for Mother’s Day.
Mary Ferrone and Jenny Darlington
Mary Ferrone is a co-president of Riverview School’s PTA. The mom of two, a 9 year old boy and a 10 year old girl, Ferrone has been a member of the PTA as a class mom and volunteer for a few years. Ferrone works a full time job as a relationship manager for 401K and retirement plans by day, but really enjoys her work as a mom and PTA co-president.
“I started just by volunteering so that I could see my kids during the day. I was a class mom and what I found was that there was so much good being done with the PTA and there weren’t enough volunteers. I started helping a little more each year. About three years ago, the entire board was stepping down and I found myself with an opportunity and to come in as the vice president. I really wanted to get involved and after one year, we found that the job of a president is really hard when you are working a full time job as well. The president at the time had asked me to step up from vice president and become a co-president with her,” Ferrone said.
Ferrone credits the other members of the PTA as to why they have been so successful with every project that they have taken on. Ferrone has also learned a lot about herself and her children through her presidency.
“Through the PTA, you really meet people constantly and you build relationships based off of that. I have been able to expand my circle and force myself to be more outgoing. Our PTA and our school is like an extended family. To see my kids being happy and doing what they love to do, I’m able to really know my kids and I want to help them and their friends grow and express their interests,” Ferrone said.
Jenny Darlington is a co-president of Riverview School’s PTA. The mom of one, Tucker, an 8 year old in third grade, works full time for Wyndham, while balancing a busy schedule. While working, her job enables her the ability to be available by email and with that flexibility, Darlington finds it easy to handle her PTA duties while working.
“I love it and the flexibility with work makes it all possible.” Darlington said. “It’s most important to me that managing and identifying my priorities, and self care are present in my life everyday. I believe that those two things are so important between being a mom, working a full time job, and being a PTA president. That’s why having a co-president is so helpful, because we all work together and we’re all in this together. The new norm is working moms doing the PTA stuff. We’re all in the same situation.”
One of the major projects that the Riverview PTA helped out with was the addition of a sensory room at the school. The sensory room enables students to be stimulated in a different environment and allows teachers to de-escalate potential situations. The Riverview PTA raised money during their tricky trays to help fund the room in 2019.
“All of the fundraising we did created a sensory room and we also put in an overhead projector in the gym that displays games on the floor. The things that Riverview School does makes me so proud to be involved in it and to send my kid to. There’s love, empathy, kindness, and the staff and faculty are teaching the kids the right things. It’s a wonderful place to be,” Darlington said.
Jessica Schmucker is the president of Valleyview Middle School’s PTA. Schmucker manages her 16-year-old son, 14 year old son, and 7 year old daughter. Schmucker also has an 11 year old stepson. On top of juggling family duties, Schmucker also works full time in international sales for Avis Budget Group. While a very independent person, Schmucker knows that to run a PTA effectively, she needs all the help she can get.
“Reaching out and depending on other people is a big part of running a PTA. I had never really gotten involved when my boys were little, so I really came into this knowing nothing about running a PTA. I have a really great team behind me, everyone is extremely supportive,” Schmucker said.
Schmucker credits the work that the entire board does for the kids at Valleyview. Schmucker was most proud when the board brought back the Holiday Shopping Bazaar after it hadn’t happened for a few years. Schmucker is grateful for the experiences on the PTA, happy that she took the leap to join. Overall, Schmucker loves being a mom.
“I’m so proud of my kids for always coming out on the positive side of things. They are all successful in their own ways. My kids are very resilient and they haven’t let the bad things get them down.”
Schmucker’s vice president Barbara Ammiano did not respond to the interview request.
Aparna Mallampali is a co-president of Lakeview School’s PTA. The mom of two is a stay at home mother, but has embraced her PTA president duties as her full time career. Nidhi, an eighth grader, and Neel, a fifth grader, bring Mallampali a sense of pride.
“Being a mother in itself is something to be cherished. There is no other job which is more comprehensive. You are a nurturer, a confidant, a teacher and a protector, all rolled into one. I’m also very proud that they take pride in their Indian ancestry and don’t try to downplay it for the fear of being different. As a parent, I think we are most proud when our fledglings aren’t afraid to take on the challenges which are before them.”
Mallampali embraces her role of co-president, but she knows that she couldn’t do it alone. She credits the board, but also the staff and faculty of Lakeview School.
“As a PTA, I think we have kept with the tradition of always keeping the needs of the students and Staff of Lakeview Elementary first. We never stop at letting our Staff know that we appreciate them! We were very fortunate that through the efforts of the PTA in partnership with the amazing volunteer force and our local businesses, we were able to fund new playground equipment, valuable STEM, technology and sports equipment while supporting many charitable projects of the school. We were able to lend support wherever necessary and I’m thankful to have been able to facilitate that. Personally, I feel most accomplished that we created an enthusiastic all-inclusive kind of PTA and proud that more families want to be actively involved with the PTA and make a difference.” Mallampali said.
Mallampali’s co-president Jenifer Zaccardo did not respond to the interview request.