•  "Just Jump In!"


    I recently received an email from a superintendent colleague who asked that if I saw a place where his talents could be utilized by NJASA to let him know. I promptly responded by emailing him, “Just Jump In!” I told him to look at wherever his interests lie and to get involved with those committees or events. I am proud to say that NJASA is an organization that invites everyone's talents and its committee meetings and events are open to all NJASA members. So, “Just Jump In!” You will be glad that you did! 

    No matter what your passion is with respect to educational leadership, NJASA has a place for you so “Just Jump In!” If you want to discuss the political underpinnings of how to effectively maneuver the land mines that are associated with school leadership, contact Rich Bozza, Executive Director, who knows more about how to pragmatically and politically resolve school leadership issues than anyone I know. If you have an idea for a committee or project that doesn’t yet exist, talk it over with Judy Rattner, Director of Special Projects, an amazing leader who has boundless energy for creating and implementing ideas successfully. If you want to pursue legislation or making connections with legislators, contact Melanie Schulz, who is the go-to person for knowing the who, what, when, and why of legislative issues. If you have legal issues or are developing your new employment contract, contact Maria Lepore who, along with the entire NJASA legal team, provide the top legal advice in New Jersey. 

    I “just jumped in” several years ago when the Regional Women's Educational Leadership Forum was created. I am passionate about women's leadership issues and wanted to provide an inspiring venue to showcase leadership triumphs in all positions. However, I needed a vehicle which could process purchase orders and help with the accounting functions associated with our breakfasts and luncheons. Without missing a beat, Judy Rattner offered to assist with the registration and accounting functions through the NJASA Education and Research Foundation. NJASA remains committed and involved with this endeavor and, in fact, on November 19 the Regional Women’s Educational Leadership Forum convened a fantastic breakfast conference with approximately 120 registrants held at the Westwood in Garwood, New Jersey. We featured three amazing women leaders who told stories that made us laugh and, yes, cry just a little. 

    Dr. Marnie Hazelton, Superintendent of the Linden Public School District, relayed her journey to the superintendency through a very non-traditional route. It's a great story and, while not giving it away, I will only say that President Obama sent her a handwritten letter which catapulted her to being a guest on “Good Morning America.” Who knew that Marnie was also on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in between jobs! Carol Jones, Chief Nursing Officer, Morristown Medical Center, relayed her story of leadership by detailing how the Atlantic Health System transformed seemingly overnight from providing chronic and critical care to being a COVID unit. We caught a glimpse at how leadership prevailed in hospitals during that tumultuous time of handling all the unknowns of COVID. Finally, Cindy Gelormini, parent, artist, and author revealed the humorous, touching, emotionally draining, and heartfelt story of raising her son, Robbie, with autism when no one really knew what autism was and the heartbreak of losing Robbie far too young. Her story could have ended there but she did not allow that to happen and she has now become a noted author of children's books about autism that are incredibly engaging. Each one of these three women demonstrated so very clearly the inner strength and commitment of all leaders in whatever walk of life they travel. Thank you, NJASA, for being a partner in this endeavor! 

    It is so exciting to see the NJASA’s Committees continue to grow, thrive and make a difference in our lives. NJASA has something interesting for everyone! I invite NJASA members to find the Committees or events that are most meaningful and “Just Jump In!” 

    I hope each and every one of you enjoys the best of the holiday season. You give so much to others and make a significant impact on the lives of countless students, families, and staff members. Thank you for your commitment and dedication It is an honor to work with you! With my best wishes for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!


    Dr. Janet L. Fike

    NJASA President