On Target Jan 2018
  • Presidents Message


    NJASA Members Connect the Various Boxes

    There are times when we tend to box our professional life with its related responsibilities into compartments and we feel that there is no connection between the various boxes.

    The risks associated with this approach is eventually you will be out-of-sync. We can all agree from our technology box that being out-of-sync is not the preferred path.

    At NJASA, where we have dedicated ourselves to helping our children, our committee structure recognizes the value of connecting the various boxes and demonstrates that our efforts of active engagement bring a consensus among the NJASA membership that produces positive opportunities for New Jersey’s school children.

    My last President’s Message mentioned the NJASA Committees and the advisory role each committee utilizes as they offer suggestions/recommendations to our policy-making NJASA Executive Committee.    

    I want to share with you some additional insights all on the committees and highlight their efforts as they build upon the wholeness of education and the concept of a connected experience of all the boxes.

    NJASA Curriculum and Instruction Committee (C&I) 

    Chair: NJASA 2018 Superintendent of the Year Dr. Kathleen Taylor, Chief Education Officer, Ocean City Public Schools 

    The focus of the NJASA Curriculum & Instruction Committee over the past two years has been on timely issues that effect and influence the operation of the school/district. The Ed/TPA teacher preparation program became a passionate objective as the Committee met with appropriate NJDOE personnel. 

    The Social and Emotional "Standards" are discussed continually having speakers from Anti-Defamation League (No Place for Hate) providing free resources for districts in the area of anti-hate and bias education. For its April 10th meeting, the Committee anticipates following up on the topics of the School Safety Specialist and Vaping that were discussed at our recent Executive Committee meeting. 

    Annually, in December the NJASA C&I Committee and the NJASA Professional Development/Seminar Committee have a shared meeting to advance topics that connect the work of each. 

    NJASA Membership Committee

    Chair: Dr. Vincent Caputo, Chief Education Officer, Metuchen 

    Most of the Membership Committee’s work is done during the months of September - December when they are focusing on member renewals and recruitment of new members. The Committee sends correspondence to encourage members to renew and provides NJASA staff with the names of potential new members. They also share membership information as they see appropriate. Throughout the year, the Committee sends welcome notes to new NJASA members within their respective counties. 

    NJASA Professional Development (PD)/Seminar Committee  

    Chair: Virginia Grossman, Chief Education Officer, Woodstown/Pilesgrove Public Schools 

    The objective of the PD Committee is to try and foresee how districts will be effected by state and federal initiatives/mandates and to provide insight and support with resources and training. This is accomplished by partnering with the NJDOE and other agencies, hopefully leading the way. 

    One area of attention this year is digital learning. With the work NJASA does with the partnership between NJDOE, NJSBA, NJIT...we had a district share their experiences with Future Ready Schools - New Jersey. Our thoughts for future committee topics are: School Security, Undocumented Students, Social Issues-Climate and Culture and the Training of School Safety Specialists. 

    NJASA Legislative Committee

    Chair: Dr. Jorden Schiff, Chief Education Officer, Hillsborough Township 

    The Legislative Committee has been talking about school funding. In addition, there is talk about asking for cap waivers for school security costs, as well as any programmatic costs for increased mental health services. This is the primary focus at this time. 

    NJASA Small Schools Committee

    Chair: Dr. Susan Genco, Chief Education Officer, Cranbury Township

    Since leaders in small school districts have fewer resources to lean on and fewer opportunities for out-of-district professional learning, Committee Chair Dr. Genco has focused on building the network and leveraging the resources of NJDOE, potential shared services, and, of course, association among the members of NJASA. Recent agenda items have included: effective applications of technology, working effectively with the local business administrator, and meeting the requirements of ESSA.

    NJASA Special Education Committee

    Chair: Dr. Gerald Crisonino, Director of Special Education, Jersey City Public Schools 

    Dr. Crisonino has kept the Committee focused on state policy issues affecting students with disabilities. The Committee has reviewed code under revision by the NJ State Board of Education and made specific recommendations. Two committee members are currently working with NJDOE on the guidance document required by new legislation on restraint and seclusion of SWD’s. The Committee looks forward to meeting NJDOE Assistant Commissioner Designee Marano at its next meeting on April 19th. 

    NJASA Spring Leadership Committee

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. C. Lauren Schoen, Chief Education Officer, Mahwah Township

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. Janet L. Fike, Chief Education Officer, Morris-Union Jointure Commission 

    The Spring Leadership Committee has planned a great conference for May of 2018. This year’s theme, “One Vision – Our Voice: Mindful Leadership will offer three notable keynote speakers, in addition to 50+ well planned workshops showcasing district best practices and offering great takeaway information which educators can use immediately in their districts. This year’s conference will be hosted in a new venue, Harrah’s Resort, and the waiver for overnight travel has been approved by the Commissioner of Education. 

    NJASA Technology Committee

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. David Gentile, Chief Education Officer, Millville Public Schools

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. Glenn Robbins, Chief Education Officer, Tabernacle 

    The Technology Committee planned their twenty-third annual statewide technology exhibition and training conference, Techspo ’18, for school leaders at Harrah’s Resort this past January.  With record-breaking attendance, this state-of-the-art technology curriculum conference expanded to include 2 keynote speakers, 125 workshops, and newly added student demonstrations and Makerspaces. 

    This Committee is focused on sharing instructional technology best practices and identifying leading-edge products, services and solutions for New Jersey educators. Planning is underway for Techspo ’19 and additional expansion is, once again, anticipated.  

    NJASA Women in Leadership Committee

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. Carol Birnbohm, Chief Education Officer, Lenape Regional HS

    Committee Co-Chair:  Dr. Carolyn Gibson, Director of Human Resources, Egg Harbor Township 

    This is a newly formed Committee committed to the following purpose and goals: 

    • To develop a network among women in or aspiring to positions in educational leadership. 
    • To sponsor seminars which provide opportunities for skill building and competency in educational leadership. 
    • To build capacity of women in leadership positions. 
    • To encourage and support women leaders. 
    • To promote gender, race, and ethnic equity within educational systems. 

    Colleagues, I thank you on behalf of the New Jersey school children for your on-going dialogue

    that brings to light a consensus of feeling among the NJASA membership regarding education-related issues. Most importantly, your efforts present an opportunity, so our children can feel the positive effects of our dedication.



    Dr. Michael Kuchar

    NJASA President 2017-2018