New leadership at helm of North Brunswick schools


NORTH BRUNSWICK – Two new principals are in place at North Brunswick schools prior to the beginning of the school year.

Diana Whalen will lead Parsons Elementary School.

She was the head of the Early Childhood Center (ECC) and supervisor of school nurses.

Jennifer Nicosia, the supervisor of Special Education for grades 6-8, will lead the ECC.

Sid Dawson will return from spending one year in Cherry Hill as a principal of a middle school to lead Livingston Park Elementary.

He had been a teacher, dean of students and assistant principal in North Brunswick.

The principalship at North Brunswick Township High School is currently being held by John Petela, the assistant superintendent of schools, as the process to find a replacement for longtime educator Peter Clark continues.

“He was in education for 39 years, 33 in North Brunswick,” Superintendent of Schools Brian Zychowski said. “He left a legacy of doing things the right way, caring about people, caring about them more than himself. And he is always around to lend a hand when possible. As a leader … he wanted to leave the district better than when he started and he succeeded in that.”

Zychowski said that the leadership changes should not affect the school year – which began  on Sept. 5 for grades 1-12 and Sept. 6 for pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students – especially since longtime employees Patricia Puleio and Kathy Cave are serving as the interim principals at Parsons and Livingston Park, respectively.

“We won’t skip a beat. We have great understudies,” he said.

Overall, Zychowski said there are programs and initiatives that will be highlighted throughout the entire school year.

The district will celebrate the groundbreaking for its new middle school on Sept. 8. Linwood has been removed as a “Focus School” by the Department of Education since it is closing the achievement gap of students. The Board of Education recently approved the distribution of Chrome Books for every fourth and fifth grade student in the district as the first phase of implementation of “One to One ” computers for all students. Uniformed police officers will serve as Class III Police Officers and School Resource Officers.

“The district staff has continued to work throughout the summer to ensure that North Brunswick Township Public Schools address the vigorous goals of our Parents And Community for Exceptional Schools (PACES) Strategic Plan while remaining steadfast in pursuit of ‘Equity and Excellence’ for all,” he said.

Contact Jennifer Amato at [email protected].