MONROE – The search for a new superintendent is over as the Monroe Township Board of Education has appointed Chari Chanley as the district’s permanent superintendent.
The appointment comes after months of controversy of whether or not Chanley was qualified to serve in the role.
The board voted 6-2 in favor of Chanley’s appointment at a meeting on July 20.
Board President Chrissy Skurbe, Board Vice President Karen Bierman, and board members, Kathleen Belko, Gazala Bohra, Ken Chiarella and Adi Nikitinsky voted “yes.”
Jamesburg representative Paul Rutsky and board member Michele Arminio voted “no.” Board member Kate Rattner recused herself from the vote.
Board member Katie Fabiano was not present for the meeting.
Skurbe “thanked” Chanley for “wanting to continue your career here in Monroe Township as our chief school administrator.”
“Next month marks 20 years of your service to Monroe and with your expertise, experience and background, we know you will lead Monroe forward where educating our students to be successful here in our district, as well as beyond their high school years is at the forefront.” she said.
Chanley will receive a three-year contract at $200,000, plus $1,405 for longevity for the 2022-2023 school year; $204,000, plus $1,705 for longevity for the 2023-2024 school year; and $208,080, plus $1,705 for longevity for the 2024-2025 school year, according to board officials.
She previously served as principal of Monroe Township Middle School. She was appointed to acting superintendent 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. Chanley becomes the second.
Chanley also becomes the seventh superintendent to lead the district in 12 years.
The decision to appoint her as the district’s permanent superintendent follows Middlesex County Superior Court judge Michael Toto’s ruling of a pending lawsuit in regard to the suspension of School Business Administrator Michael Gorski and an alleged collusion of some members of the Monroe School Board of Education (BOE). to the Commissioner of Education and the School Ethics Committee.
Toto “stayed” the court case proceeding until the Commissioner of Education and the School Ethics Committee “exercised their primary jurisdiction in the matter.”
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.
Additional Personnel Appointments
Laura Allen was appointed acting business administrator with a one-year contract retroactive to July 1 through June 30, 2023. She will receive an annual base salary of $142,173, plus $2,475 for holding a Certified Public Accountant license, plus $1,000 for longevity, along with an additional monthly stipend of $7,500 during the term of the agreement, according to the school board.
Allen has been serving as acting business administrator since Gorski’s suspension.
When asked by a member of the public about if there will be an explanation on Gorski’s suspension, Skurbe said, “At such time that we can discuss that personnel issue, we will. We are not at liberty right now to discuss it as it is an ongoing personnel issue.”
The school board has also appointed a new director of security, Edward Selby. He replaces Peter Piro, whose resignation went into effect on July 16.
“Our director of security did resign. After having it properly posted and following all of the requirements we had a search,” Chanley said. “We are pleased this evening we have Mr. Edward Selby, who will be voted on this evening. He comes to us from [the East Brunswick School District] as a lead security officer.”
Chanley noted that Selby had been serving as lead security officer in East Brunswick since 2011 and has been directly involved with students from K-12.
“He was a detective for 12 ½ years and was a patrol officer for 14 years,” she said. “He is a gentleman, I am very confident, will bring to us a concept of protocol and procedures, making sure we follow statutes and laws. I think he is going to be[an] asset.”