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Edison school board names interim superintendent

EDISON — Starting Aug. 3, Paul Saxton will serve as the interim superintendent of schools in the Edison Township School District.

At a meeting on July 18, Board of Education President Jerry Shi announced the board had received 21 applications from individuals interested in filling the full-time position of interim superintendent.

“The Personnel Committee interviewed five candidates and recommended two candidates for the full board to interview,” he said.

Saxton will succeed Superintendent of Schools Richard O’Malley, who announced in March he would leave Edison when his contract ended in June 2019. O’Malley, who has served the Edison schools since 2011, has reportedly been selected as the new superintendent for a school district in South Carolina, according to a news report. His last day in Edison will be Aug. 2.

After a closed session at the meeting, Shi said the board members had decided to select Saxton as the interim superintendent from Aug. 3 to June 30, 2019.

Board members Falguni Patel and Paul Distefano voted “no” on a motion to hire Saxton. Patel and Distefano said they believed both candidates were well qualified and said they favored the other candidate who was interviewed.

The board will negotiate a contract with Saxton at a per diem salary rate. Shi said both candidates were seasoned educators with more than five years of experience as a superintendent.

“They have been superintendents before and they have served as interim superintendents,” he said.

Saxton worked as the superintendent of the Demarest School District in Bergen County from 1980-97. He worked as the superintendent of the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District from 1997 to 2008.

Since 2008, Saxton has served as an interim superintendent in Parsippany-Troy Hills, Oradell and most recently Hopatcong.

Shi said the district’s ultimate goal is to select a permanent superintendent for the fifth largest school district in the state. A search committee will be selected in search of the best person to fill the role, he said.

“I have said [I believe] a school superintendent is more important than a mayor, no offense to Mayor [Thomas] Lankey, but we will select the best superintendent with the taxpayer and student in mind,” he said.

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