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Princeton school board approves contract for new superintendent

Dr. Carol Kelley, the new superintendent of the Princeton Public School District

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education officially appointed Carol Kelley as the new superintendent of schools, replacing former Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane.

The school board also approved a four-year contract for Kelley, which begins July 1, 2021, and ends June 30, 2025.

The board took action at its March 16 meeting, following review and approval of the proposed contract by the Mercer County Office of Education.

Since Cochrane’s retirement in June 2020, retired educator Barry Galasso has filled in as the interim superintendent of schools. His contract expires June 30. He will help Kelley as she transitions into her new post in the Princeton Public Schools.

Kelley will be paid $240,000 in the first year of her contract, and will receive 2% annual salary increases in each of the next three years. Kelley’s salary will increase to $244,800 in the second year of the contract, and to $249,696 in the third year. The salary will be $254,690 in the last year of the four-year contract.

The school board announced its selection of Kelley as the new superintendent of schools in February. She was chosen from among a field of 13 semi-finalists, following a nationwide search to fill the top administrative post.

Kelley is the superintendent of schools in Oak Park Elementary School District 97 in Illinois. She has connections to the Princeton area, having raised her two sons in neighboring Montgomery Township in Somerset County.

Kelley is the former superintendent of schools in the Branchburg Township School District in Somerset County. She has been a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and K-12 supervisor of math in the Franklin Township School District in Middlesex County.

She also served as the principal of an elementary school in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District in Somerset County, and as the director of curriculum and instruction for Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Hunterdon County.

Education is a second career for Kelley, who earned a bachelor’s degree in systems science engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Virginia. She earned a doctorate in education degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005.

She began her career working on cell phones and smart card technology for Bell Atlantic. She moved over to developing marketing strategy and packaging in the advance care product division of Johnson & Johnson, before switching careers to become an educator.

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