Superintendent Announces Retirement Tonight at Borough Hall

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Long-time Metuchen School Superintendent Terri Sinatra makes it official at the Board of Education meeting this evening. The public is invited to attend the meeting (in Borough Hall where it's air conditioned!) in order to hear Sinatra announce her retirement, slated for January 2012. A recent article in the Sentinel provided some additional information about the changes about to come to our school district:

Metuchen Superintendent of Schools Terri Sinatra will soon announce her plans to retire at year's end.

"The rumors are correct," she told the Sentinel on Friday. She said she has not officially informed the Board of Education of her retirement, but that the item would be on the agenda for the board's July 19 meeting.

Sinatra has worked for the borough's school district for 21 years, the last 11 as superintendent.

Board of Education President Eileen Frowenfeld said that since there has been no official action on Sinatra's retirement, she was not at liberty to address the issue.

However, with word spreading through the school community recently that Sinatra would be retiring in January, the Metuchen Citizens for Quality Education group has been advocating for public presence at the July 19 board meeting.

"CQE is hopeful that the great environment of our district -- good students, great teachers and staff and supportive community -- will attract many accomplished principals and supervisors looking to advance in what we anticipate will be a wide and thorough search," said CQE President JoAnn Sabatino- Falkenstein. "CQE hopes Metuchen will find a leader with a proven record of academic achievement and with the vision to help move Metuchen higher among its peers."

By peers, Sabatino-Falkenstein is referring to the letter coding that the state uses to categorize school districts. They are categorized by letter from lowest socio-economic status to highest; the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J. Sabatino-Falkenstein said that above all, a new superintendent would need to be committed to academic excellence.

"Our organization believes a strong leader with a vision for academic achievement will help Metuchen achieve its potential. The organization is concerned with the education of all students in every grade and across every academic level," she said.

Sinatra said she does not anticipate being part of the process of finding her replacement. However, she said, "If the board wants me to give my opinion, I would be honored to do that."
While CQE does not have an official partnership with the Board of Education, it has pushed for and achieved various initiatives. Sabatino-Falkenstein said the organization works hard to get the public to support the annual school budget, and has co-sponsored programs like CQE Story Time at Campbell Elementary School and the CQE/Metuchen High School Alumni College Day.

"We have advocated for stronger guidance services, and we are extremely pleased with our guidance department today. The district has hired a third guidance counselor and is offering many services this summer, like an SAT course and a college application essay class, free to all Metuchen High School seniors," she said.

And now CQE has added the search for a new superintendent to its advocacy agenda.

"We hope the public will show their interest in the search for a new superintendent by attending the next BOE meeting," Sabatino- Falkenstein said.

The meeting will be held at 8 p.m. July 19 in the courtroom at Metuchen Borough Hall. 

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