• OT June July 2013
  • Presidents Message  
  • Outgoing President's Message 
    With the closure of the 2012-2013 school year, it is an appropriate time to conduct a self-assessment. What have we, as chief education officers accomplished during the past nine months? Most certainly the focus in most school districts this past year has been selecting and preparing to implement the use of a research-based teacher evaluation model. The key factor in this process has been the adjustment to measuring teacher performance against a specific standard or matrix. Answering the question "What does good teaching look like?,” these frameworks provide a window through which we can all view instructional practice using the same lens. Obviously, the goal is objectivity and consistency, yet is there not more to teaching and educational leadership than just the elements delineated by these frameworks? Is there, in fact, an "art" to teaching, and if so, how do we as educational leaders nurture and encourage its development in such a data driven environment? I suggest, that the example to which we should turn comes from the field of music, where other than the tracking of ticket sales or downloads, the measure of true greatness is a totally subjective, visceral reaction to the creative process.
    In May 2012, Allen St. John blogged about five leadership tips to be learned from New Jersey native son, Bruce Springsteen. Remembering that most Springsteen fans routinely go to multiple shows, with the most dedicated having been to hundreds, even thousands of performances, the greatness of these shows is clearly not an accident. It is the result of planning, experience, and an understanding of the delicate balance between what the audience wants and what is needs. Sound like the role of chief education officer? Absolutely! Springsteen’s success is rooted in both his musical creativity, and his leadership ability, against which we all can measure our own performance:

    ·        Give Them the Expected – Rely on your "greatest hits." Identify what you do best and keep doing it. Successful school leaders depend upon sustainability of programs and development of traditions.

    ·        Give Them the Unexpected – Be creative. Avoid the mundane. Embrace the positives of change as a means of keeping programs fresh and interesting.

    ·        Trust Your Customer – During most concerts, Springsteen crowd surfs, trusting each time that his fans will safely return him to the stage unharmed. By building trust with your staff and school community, you are more likely to be supported when you find yourself in the middle of a controversy.

    ·        Be Open to Opportunities – Nothing is more challenging than being asked to perform something that you have not rehearsed, but it is in those unrehearsed moments that true greatness can shine. Never shy away from spontaneity.

    ·        Respect Your Colleagues – No solo artist truly performs alone. There is always someone working the lights or the sound board making sure that the show is a success. Acknowledge your coworkers as the support system that they are. By sharing the accolades with teachers and staff when things are going well, you will more likely find them standing with you when the times get rough.

    As a rabid Springsteen fan, I have found it productive to use these as parameters for measuring my own personal leadership accomplishments while serving as your NJASA President. I hope that I have lived up to the expectations of the membership and met the high standards set by the numerous Past-Presidents who have come before. I hope that I have surprised at least a few with the transfer of small district administrative skills to the larger political arena. I have placed great trust in the very system of public education to weather the current storm, and successfully continue to educate the children of this state in times of great change and political pressure. I am proud that under Rich Bozza’s skillful guidance, the NJASA has been open to numerous new partnership opportunities, and continues to strengthen as an Association. Lastly, I have acquired only deepened respect for the staff, officers and members of the NJASA. This past year has truly been my own personal "Glory Days," a time of professional growth and opportunity for which I will be forever grateful.



    NJASA Announces Moran Scholarship Recipients

     Austin Auger


    NJASA President Dr. Donna Van Horn, Chief Education Officer, Weymouth Township, presented the Twelfth Annual James A. Moran Scholarship to recipients in the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and Buena Regional High School. Each student received a $2,000 scholarship to assist them in their college endeavors.


    The Association initiated the Moran Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2002 in honor of Past NJASA Executive Director James A. Moran, 1974-1993. Student recipients are selected from the district of the current NJASA President. Since the Association Presidents serve a one-year term and are from different regions of the state, this ensures that all parts of New Jersey are represented.


    If you wish to donate to the scholarship fund for next year, please contact Nathan Neiderhofer Ginger Thompson at 609-599-2900, ext.112 or gingert@njasa.net. Your donation is tax deductible. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated, and the fact of your donation will be transmitted to Jim’s family.


    NJASA President Dr. Donna Van Horn presents the Moran Scholarship to Atlantic County Institute of Technology graduate Austin Auger, top photo, and bottom photo, Buena Regional High School Senior Nathan Neiderhofer.