District mulls criteria for hiring new schools chief

| 22 Feb 2012 | 07:56

    Plan is to find candidates, weed through and hire by April 30, By Jennifer Knocha Vernon — After nearly 20 years, Vernon Township School District is looking for a new superintendent, and on Jan. 24, the public had their say in what kind of person should be hired. A group of teachers and parents brainstormed with Susan McCusker, a representative of the New Jersey School Board Association, whom the district has contracted to run the search. Given the current national picture, the economy, declining enrollment and a tighter budget were high on the list of issues. Another often-mentioned issue was a lack of communication and trust between the district and the community. As for the new superintendent, the public expressed a need for someone who has classroom experience, is ethical and approachable, and in the words of one attendee, “is willing to steer the ship.” “I think the superintendent should have their mind focused on local issues,” said Chad Bergacs, a special education teacher in Bronx, N.Y. “If this person has an interest in this area, that would be a huge factor for me.” He also felt that experience in special education law would be important. The school district had searched on its own for candidates when Superintendent Anthony Macerino initially announced he would resign, but they weren’t happy with the results, according to McCusker. That’s when they brought in the New Jersey School Board Association, which conducts approximately 80 percent of the hiring searches for superintendents in New Jersey. Vernon will pay $6,500 for the organization’s assistance. Job search is on They have already begun advertising for candidates, and once all the applications are in, the consultants will weed out the applicants according to the criteria set up by the board and the public. The first round of interviews will be in late March, and the second interviews will be held in early April, with the goal of voting in the new employee at the reorganization meeting on April 30. The candidates will have big shoes to step into, as Macerino has been working in the school district for 31 years — 13 of them as an assistant superintendent and 18 as superintendent.