The Board of Education unanimously approved Dr. Raymond Gonzalez as the district's new superintendent Thursday night, after a three-year search.
Gonzalez, the interim superintendent in Hackensack since July, officially starts as Wayne's top administrator in December. He will make an annual salary of $177,500.
Gonzalez said he eagerly accepted the position as superintendent in Wayne "mainly because of those nine people up there," pointing to the members of the school board.
"You need to have a board that is in alignment in order to make things work," Gonzalez said, adding that his first goal is one that was addressed at the board meeting: changing the district's outdated website.
Gonzalez joked that the biggest challenge in the district's immediate future was that he remain in the position, referencing the recent problems the board has had with finding a permanent superintendent replacement.
"One of the biggest challenges will be to remain consistent in striving for educational excellence," he said, adding that he has serious goals of "moving the ship forward."
John Sico Jr. was the distirct's last permanent superintendent. He retired in 2009 after serving just nine months of his 3 1/2-year contract. His annual salary was $190,000 a year.
The search process was made more difficult since Governor Chris Christie instituted a $175,000 cap on superintendents’ salaries earlier in the year. Gonzalez's salary is the highest allowed under the cap.
The board hired West Hudson Associates earlier this year to assist in the hiring process. West Hudson’s director William Libera has been recruiting and interviewing candidates before the board interviews them. West Hudson is receiving $12,000 for its services.
Michael Roth has been the district’s interim superintendent since December 2010.
Board members said they were thrilled to have Gonzalez on board.
"He will be a great educational leader, bringing stability and intelligence to the school system," board member Laura Stiziano said.