By Matthew Sockol
UPPER FREEHOLD – The Upper Freehold Regional School District Board of Education has renewed the contract of Superintendent of Schools Richard Fitzpatrick for five years. The new agreement will run from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2021.
On July 21, board members voted to accept Interim Executive County Superintendent Lester Richens’ approval of the contract for Fitzpatrick.
Board President Patricia Hogan, Vice President Richard Smith and board members Douglas Anthony, Howard Krieger, Tia McLaughlin and Kurt Wayton voted to approve the contract.
Millstone Township K-8 School District Board of Education President Margaret Gordon, who sits on the Upper Freehold Regional board because Millstone residents attend Allentown High School on a tuition basis, also voted to approve the contract. Gordon votes on matters that concern Allentown High School.
“The board is proud to approve the five-year contract renewal for Dr. Fitzpatrick,” Hogan said after the meeting. “In his tenure with Upper Freehold Regional, Dr. Fitzpatrick has created an exceptional learning environment for students, staff and administrators. He is a fiscally responsible and goal-oriented leader. With his guidance, the district has completed a five-year comprehensive strategic plan in four years and is on target to do the same with his second district-wide strategic plan.
“Dr. Fitzpatrick’s leadership inspires and attracts educational leaders in every field of study. He has fostered a high-achieving learning environment with results that continue to include a diverse and depth of offerings in advanced placement and honors courses, leading to college credit before graduation, Ivy League university acceptances, millions of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors, community service opportunities and clubs for every student, award-winning athletic programs and global learning experiences. We look forward to the continued growth and high-level student achievement … driven by the leadership of Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick,” Hogan said.
Fitzpatrick was appointed as the district’s superintendent in 2007. He previously served as the superintendent of schools in the Colts Neck K-8 School District.
In looking to the future, Fitzpatrick spoke about a progressive plan intended to benefit the education received by the district’s students.
“Currently we are trying to focus on our progressive (plan) to one computer initiative,” the superintendent said. “We are looking to promote interactive learning that encourages learners to research evidence to focus on a search for truth, accuracy and principles of understanding.
“Our learners will be able to build a set of concepts and understandings that will allow them to establish a number of generalizations that will encourage them to problem-solve and apply new understandings to enable them to progress over time to integrate thinking and knowledge,” he said.
Fitzpatrick said the interactive learning will be beneficial to teachers.
“Teachers can have immediate access to what kids are doing, thinking, researching and trying to learn and investigate,” he said. “They have full access to validating what they believe to be true and have the ability to have an abundance of information upon which they can triangulate their findings to determine if they have authentic evidence of their findings, beliefs or understandings.”
The superintendent said he is looking forward to continuing his tenure in the district.