Doing What is Best for Students
As I gathered my ideas for this month’s President’s Message, the theme of Thanksgiving dominated my thoughts.
Thanksgiving Day is a favorite of mine for several reasons — the local football game, the national games, Macys Parade, and a great turkey meal with all the trimmings. However, the best intention of Thanksgiving is a day of thanks and praise.
We have President Abraham Lincoln to thank for his 1863 proclamation of a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise."
My Thanksgiving is a reflection on what our national affiliate — the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) did in 2003. AASA "launched the Stand Up for Public Education™ campaign to help school system leaders support public education in their communities. The campaign [was] founded on the core belief that public education is vital to the continued success of American democracy and that leadership matters in improving outcomes for children."
Fourteen years later, the goals of this campaign are still going strong in New Jersey thanks to you and the stewardship of our NJASA Officers and our Executive Director Dr. Richard Bozza. As NJASA members and education leaders, you continually advocate for what is best for children and their education. It is your dedication and efforts that repeatedly advance and enhance education. On behalf of New Jersey’s students, I thank you.
This fall NJASA selected two regional 2018 Superintendents of the Year. Congratulations to: Region II winner – Charles B. Sampson, Chief Education Officer, Freehold Regional High School District; and Region III winner - Dr. Kathleen W. Taylor, Chief Education Officer, Ocean City School District. They are both exceptional educators who have a laser-like focus on doing what is best for students and standing up for public education.
The next step in the process for the two regional winners was the selection of a New Jersey Superintendent of the Year to participate as a nominee in the AASA National Superintendent of the Year Award. I am pleased to commend Dr. Kathleen W. Taylor, Chief Education Officer, Ocean City School District, as the New Jersey 2018 Superintendent of the Year. New Jersey will be well-represented at the National Superintendent of the Year selection process.
In addition to thanking the NJASA membership, I want to expand my thanks and acknowledge our veterans. Across the United States, we enjoy the benefits of a free American society and we must always remember that we enjoy these benefits because of special groups of men and women who have gone before us to ensure our rights and our freedom.
As Americans, we have many constitutional rights, including freedom of speech, free exercise of religion and the right to bear arms. These rights are all important, but the right that appears most often in constitutional text is the right to vote. Our veterans have fought for these constitutional rights so that every individual voice matters in the electoral process.
I also want to thank all the candidates that participated in yesterday’s New Jersey elections. Their interest in contributing to advance the Garden State is commendable.
To our newly elected representatives, congratulations to all. NJASA looks forward to working with Incoming Governor Phil Murphy as the new leadership of our state shapes our educational policy and regulations.
Colleagues, as you continue to advocate for New Jersey’s school children, I strongly suggest you read Dr. Bozza’s Executive View for NJASA’s latest advocacy concerns.
Lastly, if anyone has a suggestion(s) on creating a lasting legacy to acknowledge the all-important work of the chief school administrator, please email me your thoughts.
Thank You again for all you do!
Dr. Michael Kuchar
NJASA President 2017-2018
Stand Up for Public Education™: A Campaign of the American Association of School Administrators