Councilwoman Michelle Casalino- Council President
Michelle Casalino was appointed to the council on September 24th 2015 and was elected in November 2018 to a four year term. Her term runs until 2020. You can email Councilwoman Casalino or contact her by phone at 973-865-3347.
I take great pride that I am a lifelong resident and longtime community advocate. I graduated West Orange Mountain High as Michelle Lemma (WOMHS Class of ’81) where I met my husband Anthony (WOMHS Class of ’80) and together we stayed in our beloved township to raise our three children, all being the fourth generation of Casalinos to graduate from West Orange High School.
For the past 20 years I have been employed as a Regional Business Director for Madison Commercial Real Estate Services, located in Lakewood, New Jersey. I have an Insurance Producer’s License with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance and I am a certified Title Insurance Officer. Additionally, I have over 30 years of mortgage banking and account development experience.
In 1995 when my daughter was entering Redwood School, I immediately became involved serving as a Girl Scout Troop leader and then became a district leader. Naturally, when my sons entered Redwood I would become active in Cub Scouts. Soon I primarily focused on fundraising for the PTA's at Redwood, Edison, Liberty and West Orange High Schools, which efforts resulted in raising over $200,000 for our schools. The playground at Redwood was a project that I helped to facilitate and then co-founded both the Edison and Liberty Middle School After-School Programs partnering with the West Orange Community House to serve our working parents. Being a sports mom, I’ve enjoyed serving on multiple high school booster clubs helping to raise over $50,000 to supplement cost for our student athletes to train and provide award banquets. My family has been proud to have been involved with the West Orange PAL for over 50 years not only as participants but also in leadership roles as my husband, Tony, has served as a former coach, Football Commissioner, and Board Member.
In 2006, I was honored to be elected to the West Orange Board of Education serving as President twice and Vice President once. I worked rigorously to enforce new registration procedures to ensure only West Orange residents attend our schools. I was instrumental in developing new cost-effective policies and procedures related to our school facilities, transportation, and custodial overtime. Through the years, my efforts and support resulted in cost savings of over $2 million and garnered $4 million in grant awards. My main objective was to always provide a quality education for all students, while maintaining fiscal accountability.
In 2015, I was honored once again to be appointed as a Councilwoman and then a year later in 2016 to be elected. I’ve serve as township liaison to the Board of Education, the Public Relations Commission, and the James A. Degnan Senior House, working directly with our Senior Services Department. I am a proud member of the West Orange/Orange UNICO and a trustee for the Friends of the West Orange Public Library. I always enjoy supporting all our community organizations in any way I can!
I am proud to work alongside our staff and community partners focusing on new and innovative ways to support our residents, businesses, taxpayers, and schools. A few of our efforts have resulted in:
- West Orange recently being named the 13th town in the state of New Jersey to be accepted into the AARP/World Health Organization Network of Age-Friendly Communities. Acquiring over $100,000 in grant revenue and expanding our senior services offerings helped to certify this achievement;
- Prioritizing public safety by providing First Responders PPE, updated technology, vehicles and facility repairs;
- Collaborating with school officials, our township grant writer and police department to secure $300K COPS GRANT providing security resources to our schools;
- Supporting 100 units of affordable housing and 65 units of affordable senior citizen affordable housing meeting COAH obligations;
- Supporting open public space with the acquisition of the historic Rock Spring Golf Club, which ensures the majority of the 138 acres remain free from development;
- Expanding commuter jitney services and senior citizen transportation;
- Supporting Improvements to our parks and youth, senior citizen and special needs recreational programs
When I took oath to serve as Council President in January of 2020 it was inconceivable to imagine the hardships and challenges that West Orange would face due to the global pandemic. Since then I have worked to provide essential services to our residents, support to our first responders and provided information through our Corona-virus Task Force team to keep our residents and business community safe and informed. I am so grateful for our staff, community partners and residents who work together to make West Orange a great community. #WeAreWestOrangeStrongerTogether!