James M. Perrelli, 66, A Veteran Educator, School Board Member

Posted: August 08, 1996

James M. Perrelli, 66, an educator who had served on the Commercial Township Board of Education for the last two decades and who was a co-founder of Y.A.L.E. School Inc. for handicapped children, died Monday at Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia.

A Mauricetown resident since 1972, he was born and raised in Waterbury, Conn., and previously lived in Vineland.

Mr. Perrelli was a current member of the Commercial Township Board of Education, where he had served for 21 years. He was the board's president for nine years before stepping down in April for health reasons.

``He was an intellectual and astute person with a heart for his community and its school system,'' said Barry Ballard, Commercial Township's schools superintendent. ``He was always active in seeking the best possible education for our students, particularly in the area of special education. He was instrumental in getting erected our gym building at the Port Norris School at no cost to the taxpayers, using grant funding.''

Mr. Perrelli was a founder, co-owner and operator of Y.A.L.E. (Young Adult Learning Experience) Schools Inc., a kindergarten-to-12th grade school for handicapped children, with facilities in Cherry Hill and Williamstown. The private schools have been in operation for more than 20 years.

He worked for the Camden Diocese for 15 years, serving as assistant director of Catholic Charities from 1957 to 1971. He also was director of special needs for the Atlantic County Vocational-Technical School from 1971 to 1976. It was while working at the vocational school that Mr. Perrelli first recognized the special training needs of some students, said Carol Durand Perrelli, his wife of 24 years.

Mr. Perrelli also was the current assistant chairman of the Commercial Township Planning Board, where he had been a member for six years. He was a past chairman and past member of the Commercial Township Zoning Board.

A graduate of Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Conn., he graduated from Niagara University in 1955 and received master's degrees from Villanova University and Glassboro State College, now Rowan College.

He was a retired lieutenant colonel in the New Jersey National Guard. He was a member of the Mauricetown Historical Society, a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and a member of the New Jersey School Board Association.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Carol ``Bunny'' and Jaime Michelle Perrelli; his mother, Jennie Summa Perrelli; two brothers; and a sister.

Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. today and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Rone Funeral Service, 1110 E. Chestnut Ave., Vineland. A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, 1010 E. Landis Ave., Vineland. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Vineland.

Memorial donations may be made to either the Sacred Heart High School Athletic Association, North East Avenue, Vineland, N.J. 08360, or to the Mauricetown Historical Society, Box 1, Mauricetown, N.J. 08329.

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