Letter to the Editor On Superintendent Search

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A Letter to the Editor from Metuchen resident David Liss:

The Metuchen School District has begun the search for a new superintendent, posting the job description at the district's Website (www.metuchenschools.org).  The document is dated May 16, 2006, and it has two problems that show it is obsolete. 

Under qualifications, "a demonstrated record of academic achievement" is missing, at a time when academics is an area in which the district must improve.  Metuchen's four-year college attendance rate is the lowest in the state among similar socio-economic districts.  Metuchen is 48th of 48 I-districts in New Jersey and even falls in the bottom half among GH-districts. A good candidate will have proven strategies to improve performance at every level, Kindergarten through 12th grade.

The other problem with the job qualifications is that they require "central office experience." Central office experience is far less important than the experience of running a school.  It's much better to find someone with hands-on know-how than with a bureaucratic background. There is value to having worked in a school bureaucracy and learned about process management, but it is a "nice to have," not a "must have."  And to exclude successful assistant principals and principals who have led their schools with quantifiable academic success would be foolish, simply because they did not work in the back office.

Presumably the job description from 2006 will be updated and re-posted.  In the rewrite, the members of the Board of Education with their search consultant, the NJ School Boards Association, should include " a demonstrated record of academic achievement" and should drop "central office experience" as a necessary qualification.  The next Board meeting is August 16 at 8 PM at Borough Hall.  That's a great venue to express your interest in an open and thorough search, but you can also send an email to all members of the Board.  Their e mail addresses can be found at the above Website by clicking on "Board of Education" and then "Contact Information."


David Liss

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