Board Hires Two Principals, Creates District Athletic Director Position
New principals of George Washington and Lafayette hired. Superintendent says new athletic director will reduce expenditures and better address issues such as player safety.
The Board of Education hired two principals Thursday night and created the position of district athletic director.
The personnel decisions are the first in a series of moves to reorganize the district’s administrative structure in mutliple schools and departments.
Officials announced late last month that the principals of four schools were resigning, retiring or would not have their contracts renewed.
Jack Leonard will be the new principal of George Washington. He has a Master’s degree from William Paterson University.
Leonard will be paid on a per diem basis of more than $600 a day from July 16 to July 31. He will be paid his annual salary of $147,000 starting Aug. 1.
Toni Schito Ferry will take over as principal of Lafayette Elementary School on Aug. 1. Her starting salary will be $139,000. She holds a Master’s of Science in Education from Mommouth University. She will replace Stella Cosmas.
Robert Mitchell, principal of Schuyler-Colfax Middle School, will not return to the district next year. His contract was not renewed, said Board of Education President Donald Pavlak Jr.
Mitchell, was named interim principal of the school in December 2010. He was vice principal there for 12 years and has more than 30 years experience in education.
Residents were critical towards officials of the decision not to renew Mitchell's contract.
"Kids are happy, teachers are happy. My daughter loves going to school and it's because of him," Rex Mitake said. "The man has brought the school together. Look at where the school is academically."
Pamela Tilli, a mathematics teacher at Schuyler-Colfax, said that morale at the school "has never been higher" and that the board should rescind its decision.
The board also created the position of district athletic director and abolished the position at each high school. The individual will be in charge of the athletic programs at both Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley high schools.
As part of the reorganization, the board voted last month not to renew the contracts of Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley high school Athletic Directors Chris Olsen and Dan Kilday. Both men made more than $120,000 at their respective positions, according to public salary records.
Superintendent Ray Gonzalez did not provide an exact job description or say how much the individual who accepts the position would make.
Gonzalez noted that having a single athletic director will “further enhance our efficiency at utilizing resources” and will result in an “appreciable, consistent reduction in expenditures.” He added that having one person in the role would “more effectively and thoroughly” address player safety issues, professional development, and the evaluation process for coaches and trainers.
Olsen announced he would remain at Hills next year as a physical education teacher and football coach. He will retire as a physical education teacher at the end of the school year. Gonzalez previously said Olsen could return as football coach for the 2013-2014 season if he so chose; athletic coaches do not have to be full-time employees of the district.
Olsen will try and win a ninth state championship next season with his son Kevin under center at quarterback.