The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee has selected Dr. Maureen Persi and her husband Melindo Persi to serve as Co-Grand Marshals for the 28thAnnual Celebration which will take place on Sunday October 13 preceded by the three day Italian Festival on October 11.

Parade Chairman Michael Blandina noted that a husband and wife has served as Grand Marshal in the past. This however, is the first time a husband and wife will serve at the same time as Co-Grand Marshals.

“Maureen and Melindo stood out among this year’s nominees because of their commitment in the education of our youth for combined time of more than a half a century.  Additionally their effort as members of an Italian American Organization contributed to the decision," Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Screening Committee member John Giavatto said. “We are confident that these two extraordinary individuals will uphold the fine tradition established by their predecessors. We are looking forward to having Dr. Maureen Persi and Melindo Persi lead our Twenty-eighth annual celebration as Grand Marshal during this year’s celebration."

“Every year we are faced with the difficult task of selecting a person from the many deserving candidates to serve as the ceremonial leader of our Parade and Italian Festival,” Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Screening Committee member Pamela Santamaria said. “After thoroughly reviewing and considering all the candidates this year, the screening committee felt that although several terrific nominations were submitted, Maureen and Melindo Persi should jointly be our Grand Marshals.  Their community involvement and leadership over the years in the educational field contributed to our decision. Especially for their leadership and efforts within Italian Organizations over the years.” Santamaria added.

Maureen is a Paterson native and attended William Paterson University before beginning a now 34-year career in education where she started many new programs with her students.

Maureen has been recognized for those efforts including in 1990, where she was the recipient of the Governor’s Recognition Award and most recently in October of 2018, when she was inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame.

In 1998 and 2003 Maureen was the recipient of the New Jersey Department of Education Best Practice Award.

She has served on the Glen Ridge “MCADA” as well as the Fort Lauderdale Education Advisory Board and has served or is currently serving on the New Jersey Principal’s and Supervisor’s, New Jersey Professional Woman’s  Association, Northeast Coalition of Educational Leaders, New Jersey Education Council of Education, New Jersey Schoolmaster’s Club, American Association of School Administrators and American Association of University Woman.

Melindo was born in Trenton and has also had a career in education that spans more than 50 years.

He has also spent many years volunteering and giving back to the community.

He has been a teacher sponsor for the American Red Cross, President of a local Kiwanis Club, Chairperson of a Red Cross Chapter and Chairperson of the Harriman Division of the Red Cross.

During this time period he was named to Outstanding Young Men of America and Who’s Who in New Jersey.

In 2007, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of School Administrators at their National Convention.

He also served honorably in the UnitedStates Air Force.

Maureen and Melindo Persi will be honored as 2019 Co-Grand Marshals at the Annual Grand Marshal Reception on Thursday July 11, 2019.

Anyone interested in attending the reception joining the Parade Committee or receiving information regarding this year’s Parade and Italian Festival should contact Michael Blandina at 732 477-6507 or e-mail the committee at

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