‘Very big shoes to fill’


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Ben Franklin Elementary School Principal Jay Billy will leave the district in August for neighboring Hopewell Valley Regional School District

From one elementary school to the next.

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Ben Franklin Elementary School Principal Jay Billy resigned to become the new principal at the Bear Tavern Elementary School in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District.

Billy’s resignation is effective Aug. 18. His resignation was accepted by the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education at its June 28 meeting.

Billy worked for the Lawrence Township Public Schools for nearly 17 years. He was the elementary supervisor of child study teams and special education, and principal at the Slackwood Elementary School and the Ben Franklin Elementary School.

Billy will be paid $173,431 when he takes over as the Bear Tavern Elementary School principal on Aug. 21. He would have been paid $178,368 for the 2023-24 school year in the Lawrence Township Public Schools.

Parent Jessica Paolini said the school district was lucky to have had Billy as the Ben Franklin Elementary School principal.

“He knew all of the children’s names and made personal connections with the parents,” Paolini said, adding he invited parents to extra-curricular events.

Paolini said her family moved to Lawrence Township from southern New Jersey and chose their new neighborhood specifically so her children could attend the Ben Franklin Elementary School.

“We are really going to miss him,” she said.

Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun said Billy left some “very big shoes to fill,” but he was confident that the district would find someone outstanding for Ben Franklin.

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