School superintendent search underway in Monroe with pool of 18 candidates; public continues to question business administrator suspension


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MONROE – A search for the next school superintendent is underway with a pool of 18 candidates.

With intentions to “engage our community and foster inclusion” in the “single most important decisions a BOE is tasked with,” the Board of Education (BOE) is expected to send out a survey to the public early next week seeking input on what they believe is the “most important qualification” for a superintendent.

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The superintendent position advertisement states it is seeking “an outstanding and strong educational leader with a vision for academic excellence and commitment to providing a dynamic learning environment in which all students can achieve their full potential” and has “proven success in the areas of curriculum, personnel management, school finance, strategic planning, and strong communication skills.”

The candidate must have a New Jersey school administrator certificate or certificate of eligibility. It is preferred the candidate has experience as a superintendent, assistant superintendent or in central office; has pre-K-12 experience, has principal experience, has 3-5 years classroom teaching experience, earned a doctorate, and has experience with referenda processes and facilities construction.

The Monroe Township School District has approximately 6,942 students in eight schools, including high school students in neighboring Jamesburg. The district employs approximately 1,200 staff and support personnel, with a general fund budget of $140 million.

BOE President Chrissy Skurbe outlined a timeline in a letter to Kyle M. Anderson, interim executive county superintendent for Middlesex County, on May 20.

The timeline includes a special meeting on June 1 for board members to rank applicants and set forth the list of applicants to interview and a second special meeting on June 14 and 21 to interview applicants for first-round interviews.

The board is then anticipated to conduct second round of interviews for finalists and deliberation on applicants on July 11.

“It is anticipated that after the July 11 meeting, the board will select a finalist and begin contract negotiations with that applicant,” Skurbe said in the letter.

Chari Chanley, who previously served as principal of Monroe Township Middle School, currently serves as acting schools superintendent. She was appointed to the role in November 2021 after Schools Superintendent Dori Alvich officially retired from the position on Nov. 1.

Alvich was the township’s first female superintendent of schools. Her retirement came as a surprise to many as her contract had been recently extended, and had three years remaining.

She is the sixth superintendent to leave the district in a dozen years.

On May 5 during the special meeting, the board also approved to extend Chanley in the acting school superintendent role through Aug. 12, 2022.

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In other school news

School Board Business Administrator Michael Gorski has been suspended with pay since April 27. Some members of the public have questioned the reasons behind the suspension noting Gorski’s audit record and his office’s recognition for financial best practices.

Chanley had suspended Gorski with the approval of Skurbe and Board Vice President Karen Bierman.

On May 5, after a closed session during a special meeting, the board approved to continue Gorski’s suspension.

Board member Kate Rattner abstained from the vote, board member Katie Fabiano recused herself from the vote and Paul Rutsky, who is the Jamesburg representative on the board, voted “no.”

The board approved the appointment of Laura Allen to serve as acting school business administrator in the meantime.

Skurbe confirmed Gorski’s suspension; however, she said she was not able to comment about the suspension at this time.

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