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New Superintendent Begins Tenure

Raymond Gonzalez was interim superintendent in Hackensack prior to taking Wayne job.

Raymond Gonzalez is here to stay.

Gonzalez is the district’s first permanent superintendent in three years.

“I’m looking forward to keeping the district focused in a particular direction and keeping the district moving in that direction for as long as possible,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez attended his first board of education meeting Thursday in his new position.

John Sico Jr. was the district’s last permanent superintendent. He retired in 2009 after serving just nine months of his 3 1/2-year contract. The district paid West Hudson Associates $12,000 to recruit and refer candidates to the Board of Education.

Critical thinking, giving teachers the freedom for creativity in their lesson plans, and instructing students on how to correctly use technology in the learning process. These are just some of the tenants Gonzalez believes should be a part of Wayne’s educational system.

“Whether I’m teaching one child or administering a district of this size or larger, the educational focus is really the same, I need to ask: What are we doing, in all aspects of our operations, to ensure that our students are learning,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, a 37-year-old father of three young children, began his educational career in Paterson in 1998. He first taught English as a Second Language.

“That experience really set the foundation of where I see myself today. I learned,  under challenging circumstances, how to focus on students’ needs and their backgrounds to touch in a way so they learned to their greatest potential,” Gonzalez said.

He then moved to the Paterson School District’s central office and became responsible for distributing and examining the results of state-issued standardized tests.

“It’s where I started to really make the connection between technology, not just as an administrative tool, but coordinating with teachers on how to best use it in the classroom,” Gonzalez said.

He became a principal of an elementary school in Westwood in 2006 and the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in the Paterson School District in 2009. He became the assistant superintendent in Hackensack in 2010 and was named interim superintendent in June of that year before starting in Wayne earlier this week.

Facilitating learning moments in the classroom is an important part of the learning process.

“I think the onus of responsibility comes upon our teachers, which is why they are so important. They need to feel that their hands aren’t tied,” Gonzalez said. “Giving our teachers the freedom and support and structure to make things happen for students in the classroom is also important. Teachers need to know that they have the ability to be creative with their lessons in order to give students opportunities where they can create inspiration for a student.”

A challenging subject for educators is answering the question: What does a classroom in the 21st century look like and how much of a role will technology play in creating it?

“Technology may replace some of the furniture, the tools, but at the heart of a classroom in the 21st century needs to be focused on problem solving,” Gonzalez said. “We are slowing moving away from trying to keep technology out of the classroom. We have to acknowledge that for students of today, technology is how they gather their information so we need to know how to channel that in the right direction and get students to be critical thinkers of the knowledge their receiving from technology. They need to think critically about what they’re reading and how they accessed it.”

Terry December 17, 2011 at 02:12 PM
Wishing Dr. Gonzalez much success. Waited 4 years for him!
Soocer32 December 17, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Positive and great news. Now if everyone can just give this new guy a chance and look forward and not back. Positive not negative.
eyes wide shut December 17, 2011 at 04:12 PM
Good luck to him. BUT let me see if I got this straight?? Gov. Christie is the 4th highest paid Gov. in the country and he gets $175,000.00 to be Gov of the ENTIRE state..The NEW super is getting about the dame as the Gov??? HMMMMMM
Ron December 17, 2011 at 05:29 PM
$175,000 vs Olsens $143,000 Hmmm...
John MJ December 17, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Any NJ Superintendent candidate can easily drive in any direction out-of-state and make a heck of a lot MORE - other states do not have a salary cap mandate.
Joe videodummy December 17, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Well he taught English as a second language, that alone should be very useful in town, shouldn't it ? He's a strong believer that the entire district should be taught the same, which will bring Pacanack Parents to their knees, choking and gagging, and he started making his technology connection in Paterson School District, so it's obvious he is what "over qualified". At least the students attending our schools illegally will have someone to look up to and call "Big Poppie" . I know Finns trailer-hood is elated, they no longer have to fear the BOE President-"Sargent 5-0". So, the best advise is "don't stick the Hula bobble on the dash board just yet ". He may start out tapping on his new desk like El Rey de los Timbales, until he meets the tennis mom's, who can swing a racket faster than the Mambo Kings. I wish him the best of luck, and hope he put's some caliente in our classrooms.
Anna December 17, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Yes, all men of Hispanic heritage just love to be called "Big Poppie" and of course they just think all illegal immigrants are great. My mom's from Ireland, so I need to go now and guzzle a 6-pack of Guinness and eat a potato.
eyes wide shut December 17, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Gee Joe, you almost sound racist....ALMOST
Ron December 18, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Does Olsen really make that much? And what do the other teachers over 40 make? Makes me wonder, as a corporate executive, working mega hours and travelling and making less than them, want to reconsider my long term career and switch to the nice 6-8 hr job with summers off while getting paid- Oh and not contributing to my healthcare. And they complain about salaries??
Pad December 18, 2011 at 04:33 AM
We will see how long he last. BTW the Supers work all year and outside of the metro area Super's make alot less. As soon as he finds himself hogtied by the BOE puppet masters he will head for the hills. Again they perpetuate the lie that Sico retired, funny he his working as a Super just down the hill from Wayne. 9 1/2 months into his 3 year contract and he leaves with a ton of taxpayers money. Makes me sick that the BOE puppet masters perpetuate this retirement BS. If he left before his 3 yr contract expired he shouldn't have gotten a single dime from Wayne.
Ron December 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM
Ron, I'm sure Bill Brennan"s mind now is about to burst, because Ron is answering Ron. Yes Olsen makes $143,000. Now that's overpaid!!!!!!!!!!!
George December 18, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Ron, add to that list a defined benefit pension whcih I bet you do not have
Ruby Stanfield December 18, 2011 at 07:09 PM
I agree with Soocer32 I wish Mr. Gonzalez the best success and now our town needs to move forward and try to stay positive. I know people have some legitimate complaints but I feel our town has more good people in it than what people make us sound like. I moved here 13 years ago and love my town. I have made some really great friends in our community and when there is a crisis I see the good in people coming out from everywhere to help their fellow neighbors.
Dory Degen December 19, 2011 at 03:02 AM
can you be any more cynical and racist at the same time? who cares about any of that. the only thing i am wondering is will he have an ounce of integrity and do the right thing instead of being led around like a puppet by vergano and rumana and our flip-flopping BOE.
Dory Degen December 19, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Wayne is a GREAT town with GREAT people in ti! which is why people are so passionate and perhaps jaded. Corruption in Wayne has been going on way too long and the good people of Wayne are just tired of it. God knows I wish and have great hope that Dr. Gonzalez will be a breathe of fresh air and that he will be able to stand his ground and withstand the pressures of his not so honest cohorts. But you can't really blame people for being skeptical. Just a week ago a private citizen had to point out to a judge that our Environmental Commissioner did jail time after holding office in Paterson and being caught taking a bribe, but somehow managed to be allowed to be appointed to EC anyway! And we all know the Hills football debacle/embarassment with Coach Olsen and the BOE. We are just sick of living in a great town with good honest people trying to raise families while dishonest, greedy people run our town. I grew up in Wayne. I love Wayne.
Anna December 19, 2011 at 03:31 AM
I agree with Ruby. In response to some other comments, I wish people understood that teachers are not parasites on society. We didn't enter the profession to get rich and or to have cushy jobs. And we actually pay into the pension system. If everyone wants to get rid of pensions, then fine, let's do it. I'll invest the huge amounts of money taken out of my check myself. There are bad apples in every profession, but the vast majority of teachers I work with spend lots of time and energy to do a good job--certainly more than 6-8 hours a day. I don't expect to be worshiped by anyone and I'm okay with my salary ($64k after 10 years), but I don't want the general consensus to be that people in my profession are a bunch of lazy slobs.
Ruby Stanfield December 19, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Anna, I am not a teacher but I have friends that are teachers and they work more than 8 hours a day. The day is not over when you leave the class room. Some of them have to take jobs over the summer to keep up. I moved to Wayne 13 years ago because of the school system. I am not sorry at all for my decision. My oldest has just started college at University of Delaware Majoring in Neuroscience and is getting fantastic grades. My 10th grader is getting good grades also but needs to work harder than her sister to get the grades. Just last week her chemistry teacher at Wayne Valley offered to stay after school a couple days that week to help her before the test on Friday. Most of her teachers would give their time to do that. I am not saying all teachers are perfect and their are a few that need to go but I have been very happy with our teachers and schools all the way from when they were in elementary. I do feel good about our new superintendent and I think Wayne will move forward for the better.
Dory Degen December 19, 2011 at 04:20 AM
I only saw one negative comment about teachers and it was from someone that not only voiced a racist opinion in the same breath, but who is known on the Patch threads for being combative and rude. I remember my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Rubin, she was the best! As well as Mrs. Bulmer from Anthony Wayne and Mr. Patalita at Valley. I could go on and on. Teachers are so underappreciated! In any case, this article sounds like Mr. Gonzalez will be good for Wayne. I hope so.
Joe videodummy December 19, 2011 at 05:03 AM
Don't be silly. Salaries, Pensions, Health-care, Sick and Vacation days are all part of doing business. It wasn't a deal you made to enter, it was a deal already in place when you were offered the job. The only "glitch" in the deal is that some teachers have reached the height of their teaching capabilities and have nothing new to offer. They are relying on outdated degrees, avoiding improvements in their methods of teaching, failing to accept technology changes, or just riding the system because they can. They lack the competitive instinctive talent that they once endured 12, 15 or 20 years ago. They fail to display it, they fail to realize it, and they fail the students that depend on it to advance to they're own next level of higher education. By now, Wayne's education system should be a well oiled machine- But there not. Teachers, Students and Parents need a student portal NOW. They are already 5 years behind by not having a comprehensive website that provides information about grades, homework assignments, course schedules and links to other research and learning institutions. Let's face it, half the kindergarten class has a cell phone and can contact mom or dad in 8 seconds, but neither the student or the parents has the ability to log on to their own school and get vital information regarding homework, test scores, grades, absentees, or to pay for a field trip. What a joke !!! Not all of us are blaming the teachers or "your" salaries.
Paul Karsevar December 22, 2011 at 09:34 PM
I wish Dr. Gonzalez all the best. It is great to see a young person take over this very difficult job. Sometimes rewarding sometimes not. His cultural background I think is a positive. This system has been missing a strong leader for a very long time and I think it is starting to show in many facets. Dr. Gonzalez will have to establish himself and set his rules and be strong in doing so. If the boards feathers get ruffled so be it. This is now his district and everyone should respect that. A good superintendent is the general the BOE should be the 2nd lt. in military speak. Good luck and happy holidays to all.

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