Day-by-day New Jersey’s financial condition is deteriorating. Residents of the Garden State are facing a $1billion deficit in the State’s current budget, a projected shortfall of approximately $8 to $10 billion for next year’s budget, and a debt burden of more than $51 billion.
One thing is certain as school systems face the impact of the failing economy: chief education officers, with their experience and fiscal acumen, play an integral role in addressing the impact of a potential downsizing in the State’s fiscal commitment to public education.
Effective school leaders and their administrative teams possess business savvy, experience with labor relations and personnel management, knowledge of facilities operation, a thorough understanding of educational goals and processes, and the most important attribute of all – a deep concern for educating children. They have the ability and training to improve the quality of education while conserving community resources during these difficult times.
Chief education officers are ready to collaborate with constituents to plan educational initiatives, secure the necessary educational resources, and provide for the district’s ongoing operation as schools prepare our next generation of students to meet the demands of a fast-changing world.
School systems have already begun the 2010-2011 budget-development process. Chief education officers and their support teams demonstrate every day the foresight and knowledge to guide their school boards and staff in making the necessary and difficult decisions ahead with two guiding criteria in mind – what is best for students and what is fiscally responsible for taxpayers.
This assignment has never been more difficult during our lifetime. Let’s provide the support needed to assist New Jersey’s chief education officers to lead us successfully as we work to emerge from our fiscal crisis and ensure a high quality education for all New Jersey’s students.
Best wishes and congratulations are the order of the day for Incoming New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey’s First Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and the members of the New Jersey Assembly.
Speaking before a joint September meeting of the NJASA Executive Committee and NJASA County Affiliate Presidents, then Candidate Christie expressed concern that the “Trenton establishment” was not the appropriate entity to chart the course for school consolidation. A decision of that magnitude should be made at the local level. He added if the local level decides to incorporate various items within the school district and is agreeable to incurring the expenditures – it is their responsibility. Christie added these decisions would then eliminate opportunities for property tax complaints and requests for financial assistance from Trenton.
The former U. S. Attorney for New Jersey noted the new funding formula was a step in the right direction and that the formula does not go far enough to address the state’s property tax concerns. Candidly, he admitted there is “no silver bullet” to fix New Jersey’s persistent property tax dilemma. He recognized that the new funding formula is not funded at 100% and acknowledged the level of funding is an issue that necessitates a solution. He commented the path to turn this situation around will require frank conversations, citizen involvement and bi-partisan support of the New Jersey Legislature.
His prevailing message at our Association’s September meeting was, "I am here to listen” and build a relationship of trust and credibility with NJASA. The ultimate goal of this affiliation according to the Incoming Governor is to do better for the kids and NJASA concurs with this statement.
We, the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA), an organization of chief education officers and school administrators representing 593 operating school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties, stand ready to work with newly elected statewide representatives to assure enhancements and improvements to the quality of education and educational services provided to the children of New Jersey.
Collectively, the Association’s membership offers a wealth of knowledge that moves education forward for the betterment of children. The attributes of the chief education officers and school leaders can be most instrumental in assisting the Christie’s Administration goal of doing better for the kids.
Minute by minute, the major media outlets are featuring articles and the latest notices from the authorities that warn of an impending swine flu pandemic. The data indicates there is a potential that our younger population, under the age of 25, will be impacted the most.
The gathering of K-12 students in the school environment has placed our districts’ chief education officers at the forefront of this swine flu crisis. They recognize that school district communities play an essential role in protecting the health and safety of our younger population, as well as providing community services to the taxpayers within their respective school systems.
Chief education officers have joined with our national, state, county and local governments and health organizations to collaborate on the H1N1 virus since this past spring and summer. I can assure you that all of the involved parties have only the health and safety of our children as their paramount concern.
The magnitude of this emotionally charged issue has the potential to erupt into chaos at any moment. It is the chief education officers’ responsibility, with their expertise in effective communications, to continue to be the integral links in the successful exchange of vital information to the local communities.
From the helms of the districts, it is chief education officers who recognize that a highly sophisticated two-way communications process is the key ingredient to effective communications. These individuals are fully aware that all types of communications vehicles and two-way dialogues between the district leadership and the community play a significant part in delivering a positive and successful public message.
Chief education officers know the day-to-day district climate, the local territory, the grass-roots groups, and the media resources. The districts, under their leadership, are in position to disseminate accurate external and internal communications within a few moments, thanks to advances of modern technology.
I want to commend these outstanding district leaders for all their efforts to limit the potential of negative impacts associated with this flu crisis. They, as the district leaders, are employing a modern-day twist to the old acronym “K.I.S.S.” as they continue to educate and inform their communities.
The new acronym they are employing – “Keep it Short and Simple” has helped people in the communities better understand the symptoms of influenza, recommended personal hygiene procedures and responsible behavior to assist them in limiting the impact of the flu in their communities.
NJASA invites all chief education officers and school board members to attend the Association’s NJ Pandemic Flu Plan Summit on Thursday, October 29th, in conjunction with the Fall Workshop. The one-hour program features presentations on planning efforts, the continuity of services and school closures from noted representatives of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, Division of Health Infrastructure Preparedness and Emergency Response; and the New Jersey Department of Education, School Security Unit Office of Educational Support Services.
In addition, three Morris County chief education officers will share their promising communications practices with the attendees. Visit the NJASA website at www.njasa.net to register to attend this no-cost informative program.
On behalf of NJASA, I want to thank you for taking the time to read and complete the recent Online Membership Survey. Your responses were most welcome and your comments were instructive.
NJASA is constantly seeking new and innovative ideas, techniques, and tested models to enhance and improve its membership services. The electronic survey is part of the Association’s ongoing efforts to obtain members’ feedback.
The survey responses provide valuable information for NJASA officers and staff to review as we endeavor to improve the many benefits and services provided to NJASA members.
We are grateful for the overwhelming number of positive responses received from members. The majority of respondents believe:
A vast number of respondents indicated that they want professional development delivered electronically. Their preferred method of delivery was their laptops, followed by a digital format, and an on-demand option.
In response to your requests for electronically delivered professional development opportunities, NJASA, in cooperation with EIRC, will unveil a new initiative –Real time, Interactive, Web-based NJASA Seminars – on October 16th.
Again, thank you for your time and cooperation. The survey’s high marks speak well of NJASA’s high standards as a professional organization that represents chief education officers and school administrators who move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all of New Jersey’s children.
On behalf of NJASA, I am pleased to announce the three regional 2010 Superintendents of the Year. They are:
· Southern Regional winner – Raymond J. Brosel, Jr., Superintendent, Voorhees School District;
· Central Regional winner – Mark J. Finkelstein, Superintendent, Middlesex Regional Educational Services Commission; and
· Northern Regional winner – Robert K. Gratz, Superintendent, Hackettstown Public Schools.
All three regional superintendents are remarkable educational leaders with vision, imagination, and compassion for the students they serve. Their accomplishments exemplify what every chief education officer should achieve.
Southern Regional winner Brosel is highly respected in both the state and national educational communities, as well as the New Jersey Legislature. An effective spokesperson with 36 years experience as a school administrator, he assumed the helm of the Voorhees School District in 1986. Prior to serving as the 2004-2005 NJASA President, he held every leadership position of NJASA and chaired the NJASA Legislative Committee for a decade.
Central Regional winner Finkelstein is a dedicated, hard-working professional who continually strives to improve the quality of education for all students. He served as a school board member for the New Brunswick Board of Education for 17 years and was elected President of the statewide New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) in 1994. Finkelstein continued his relentless efforts by serving on the NJASA Executive Committee for several years before becoming the Association’s Treasurer, Secretary, President-Elect, and 2005-2006 President.
Northern Regional winner Gratz, the Warren County Representative to the NJASA Legislative Committee, began his professional career as a Social Studies teacher in the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional School District, in 1975. Prior to his present Hackettstown superintendency, he served as superintendent of the Belvidere School District and the Newton Public Schools.
This is the second year of NJASA’s new selection process to choose three regional - Southern, Central and Northern - Superintendents of the Year winners.
The next step in the process for the three regional winners will be the selection of a New Jersey Superintendent of the Year to be the state candidate to participate in the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent of the Year Award program. A committee of NJASA Past Presidents and prior New Jersey Superintendents of the Year will select the 2010 New Jersey Superintendent of the Year, who will be announced in October.
The selection qualifications for the State and National Superintendents of the Year include: meeting the needs of their students, demonstrated communication strength, a commitment to professional development and growth, and significant community involvement. Additionally, at the state and regional levels, NJASA has a fifth qualification that addresses service to the Association and its members.
AASA will announce the National Superintendent of the Year at its Annual Conference on Education in February 2010. The recipient of this prestigious honor will receive a $10,000 college scholarship for a student at the high school where the superintendent graduated.
Congratulations and best wishes to the 2010 New Jersey Regional Superintendents of the Year!
The New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) supports the recent recommendations made by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that any decisions to close schools due to a suspected outbreak of swine flu should be left up to local officials, and therefore decisions about school closings can vary considerably from community to community. We encourage all school districts to work directly with their municipal and/or county health departments when considering such actions.
The CDC indicates that closing schools is not recommended unless there is likely to be a high percentage of absenteeism among staff or students.
However, any benefit depends on the circumstances. School closing is an aggressive strategy for slowing the spread of any communicable disease, especially swine flu. Closing schools may help a community contain an outbreak, but less drastic measures may be just as effective. According to the CDC, guidelines for colleges and employers are set to be issued on August 23.
In a recent New York Times article from August 7 titled, Swine Flu Should Not Close Most Schools, Federal Officials Say; Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that some schools “will have to close,” and that administrators should be making plans to continue schooling at home, via telephones and the Internet.
The NJASA agrees with Secretary Duncan’s statement in spirit, however; the implementation of contingency plans may invite a host of unintended consequences.
The New Jersey Department of Education, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, is hosting a summit on August 25, at the South Brunswick High School in Monmouth Junction, to assist school administrators, health officials and emergency responders in the planning for a statewide pandemic influenza outbreak. Topics that will be addressed include:
-NJ’s Pandemic Plan
-Continuity of Educational Services
-Promising Practices to Help School Districts
For more information on this summit, please click here.
Chief Education Officers, charged with Moving Education Forward, are leading in times that are far different from when this millennium began. Change is our consistent companion as we look at our changing world and changing needs of students. Creating and encouraging leaders at every level is one of the ways to really achieve lasting change and improve student achievement.
Designing opportunities for a collaborative culture and shared leadership roles through the development of Professional Learning Communities is the subject of an in-depth Curriculum Corner article in the next issue of NJASA's On Target, newsletter. Titled, Understanding Professional Learning Communities and Key Leadership Actions of the Superintendent, this article will give you some insight into Professional Learning Communities as a catalyst for change. Click here to read the article.
NJASA President Douglas B. Groff, Superintendent, Galloway Twp.;
Groff, an exceptional professional, was instrumental in the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program in the Galloway Twp. Public Schools.
NJASA President-Elect Judith Ann Rattner, Superintendent, Berkeley Heights;
Rattner, an experienced field superintendent, put into action an array of innovative curriculum programs in the Berkeley Heights District.
NJASA Secretary Andrew Rinko, Ed.D., Superintendent, Bedminster;
The NJASA Leadership Team, as the elected representatives of the NJASA membership, will support the common goal of improving the high quality of education that New Jersey’s children receive and will demonstrate determination and resourcefulness in their efforts as they work harder to move education forward through instructional leadership.
(left to right top row) NJASA Executive Director Richard G. Bozza, Ed.D.; NJASA Secretary Andrew Rinko, Ed.D., Superintendent, Bedminster; and NJASA Treasurer Donna B. Van Horn, Ed.D., Chief School Administrator, Weymouth Twp.; (left to right front row) NJASA President Douglas B. Groff, Superintendent, Galloway Twp.; NJASA President-Elect Judith Ann Rattner, Superintendent, Berkeley Heights; and NJASA Past President Kenneth D. King, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent, East Orange