Archive for August, 2011

Superintendent Search Update #7: Measurable Outcomes

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

The Metuchen Board of Education is in the process of hiring the next Superintendent of Schools, at a time when the school system has been sitting at an academic crossroads. We cannot afford to continue performing at our current level and expect that all Metuchen students will have a strong academic experience.

Our district is fiscally sound; our school buildings are in good shape. Now it is crucial to focus on academics and on challenging all our students from K-12.  When the Board selects the next Superintendent of Schools, that person should have proven quantifiable academic achievement in his/her school or district, as well as experience in leading with an eye on student outcomes.

The single most important outcome of a K-12 education is how prepared graduates are for the next step in life, which for most is getting a college degree. Since 2007, members of the community have expressed a real concern about the 4-year college attendance rate of Metuchen High School graduates. Back then, we were told that that year was a “blip” year, when the rate was 62%.  But in 2010 (the last class that the public has information on) MHS still sent only 62% of the graduating class on to a 4-year college. According to the 2011 New Jersey State Report Cards, Metuchen is 48 out of 48 I-districts in that category (the average I-district’s rate is 80%).  And there are many districts of much lower socio-economic status that send more graduates to a 4-year college than Metuchen does.

This student outcome is extremely important not only to parents who have kids in Edgar School and in MHS, but for those whose kids are in 1st and 2nd grade too. It’s in elementary school that the preparation begins for the challenge of college.

In fact, the 4-year college attendance rate is important to every property owner and taxpayer in Metuchen. (more…)

New Proposed Job Description for the Superintendent Search

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As you know the Metuchen Board of Education is in the process of hiring the next Superintendent of Schools.  At their Tuesday, August 16 meeting, the Board did a first reading of the proposed Job Description of the Superintendent.  A record of quantifiable academic achievement or measurable academic success is not listed as a qualification in the description.  Only one Board member spoke of the need to include measurable academic achievement as a qualification.
Please watch the meeting on Video On Demand at, or cue the video to about 49 minutes into the meeting to witness the response of David Liss, who was a member of the public. He spoke about the need for accountability and the inclusion of measurable outcomes as part of the job qualifications.  At a time when our district has been out-performed by many similar districts in a number of metrics, improving student outcomes is extremely important.

There will be a second reading of the Job Description at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, August 30, when it will be voted on by Board members, most likely before the public has an opportunity to speak. If you have not already done so, please contact the members of the Board of Education and let them know that a history of quantifiable academic achievement should be included in the job description and should be a qualification of the next Superintendent of Schools.

You can send one brief email message addressed to all our Board members.  Contact information can be found by going, clicking on “Board of Education,” and then “Contact Information.” Feel free to forward this message to interested friends and neighbors. Thank you.
Best regards,
JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein, President
Jim Jaques, Vice President
Kathy Liss, Vice President

The Public is Encouraged to Stay Involved in the Superintendent Search

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Below are a few updates to keep you informed of the superintendent search:

  1. On Wednesday, August 3, there was a Board of Education meeting in the Central Office at Moss School.  Because the meeting could not be televised at that location, here are some notes taken by a member of the public who attended and asked to share his impressions with our mailing list: The open business meeting focused on developing the job description and advertisement for the superintendent search.  The ad and job description need to reflect the district’s true requirements in a candidate. Some of the characteristics Board members described include demonstrating achievement in continuous improvement, using data technology, improving achievement for all students, setting meaningful and measurable goals, and establishing a culture of academic excellence. As part of the search process, candidates will be asked to write short essays demonstrating their accomplishments.  At the meeting, Board members decided that these questions should focus on four areas: data driven decision-making, meeting the needs of all students, curriculum development and articulation, and personnel management. There was discussion about what job experience the district should require, and it appeared that the Board would open the search to a broad variety of qualified candidates. In my opinion, if all of the above characteristics make it into the job description, the process will lead to a good candidate. (more…)

NJSBA “Superintendent Search” Webiste

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

At their July 19 meeting, the Board of Education voted to hire Gwen Thornton, a consultant from the New Jersey School Board Association, to conduct the search.  For valuable information on the search for a superintendent, see the NJSBA  link.  From there you can learn more by clicking on the menu items at the bottom of the page: “The Process,” “Developing Criteria,” “Decision Worksheet,” “Criteria for Superintendent Selection,” “Search Timeline,” “Community/Staff Input,” etc.

Please continue to be in touch with the members of the Board of Education, our representatives.  Inform them of the qualifications that you believe are important for the Superintendent of Schools in Metuchen.  You can send one brief e-mail message addressed to all our Board members. E-mail addresses can be found by going to, clicking on “Board of Education,” and then “Contact Information.”  Also, please see a set of letters to the Board of Education and to the community that published  on July 21 and July 27 at from Metuchen residents.