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UPDATE: Next School Super's Salary Advertised for $167,500

Notice to replace Valerie Goger posted inside district and externally, with possibility of a salary bonus, school official says.

School officials said a job notice already has been posted within the Bernards Township school system for a new schools superintendent after Valerie Goger along with a job advertisement placed Sunday in a statewide newspaper that advertises the job as paying up to $167,500.

That ad in the Sunday Star-Ledger asks job applicants to apply by Nov. 1, with the goal that a new school's superintendent be in place for the Bernards Township school system by next July 1.

The figure of $167,500 is the maximum base salary that reportedly can be paid to a superintendent in a school district of Bernards Township's size, a little under 5,700 students, under a revised salary cap for school superintendents issued by the state. An initial limit of $175,000 was announced last July, the school board's president, Susan Carlsson, said on Monday.

The figure was reset a month or so later at a maximum of $165,000 for school districts with Bernards Township's size enrollment, with an additional $2,500 allowed for school systems with high schools, Carlsson added.

Potentially — and under new state guidelines — a new superintendent could also earn a bonus of up to 15 percent on top of that base, Carlsson said. "That's the maximum possibility...but that's not guaranteed," she said. Carlsson said the guidelines set by the board for achieving a bonus, with several categories worth a few thousand apiece, would also need to first be approved by the Somerset County schools superintendent.

Goger was being paid about $217,000, but also had agreed to "givebacks" in certain payments that shaved almost $15,000 off that total amount.

Carlsson said "the word is out" that both the school superintendent and assistant schools superintendent Regina Rudolph had announced their retirements at a school board meeting last Monday, Oct. 10.

Other than internal posts and the ad placed in one newspaper, Carlsson said she doesn't think that the school district will advertise further for now. She said Goger herself belongs to school superintendent groups and associations.

At this point, the board — which is responsible for hiring the next school superintendent — likely will wait to see what applications are received by November, Carlsson said.

As at last week's meeting, Carlsson said she hoped some of the applicants would be from the staff already in place within the school district.

The ad said the district is seeking someone with "strong communications skills" and "proven leadership ability," as well as a "21st century educational vision."

Applicants are asked to submit information to Regina Rudolph, the district's assistant superintendent.

The position of assistant superintendent — which also will be vacant as of next June 30 when both Goger and Regina Rudolph on Monday announced they will be retiring at the end of this school year — has not yet been advertised, Goger said in the email.

Both Goger and Carlsson said that after the Board of Education hires a new schools superintendent, the On Monday, the new superintendent would hire a new assistant.

Carlsson noted on Monday that the state has set no limit for the maximum salary for assistant superintendents in New Jersey schools. The contract approved last year set a salary of about $180,000 for Rudolph who, like Goger, said she has been in her current position for about 13 years.

Carlsson said the board did not have an agenda item to further discuss the job search at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, tonight, at the William Annin Middle School.

Instead, the meeting's agenda includes a presentation on the state-mandated NJASK cluster scores in elementary schools for the 2010-11 school year, and another report, also required by the state, on violence, vandalism and the student code of conduct. The scheduled meeting also would include the approval of routine monthly items as well such as bill payments, financial reports, personnel appointments and policy adoptions, according to the Board of Education website.

During the week following the retirement announcements, Carlsson offered additional praise for Goger. "As a superintendent, she's always done a good job of finding good people to fill our administrative team, and not being afraid to let the younger people step up and assume responsibilities."

Goger also was behind the "good to great" initiative that started in 2003, Carlsson said. She said the superintendent was adept also at picking good teachers with the education to advance in the school system.

"I am hopeful we can find someone in-district," Carlsson said. She said the district has invested time and money in training a staff that also has an understanding of parents in the community.

Carlsson said she had been aware of the intended retirements of both women before Monday's school board meeting, but most of the board had just been told the news that night. The audience also heard the announcements that both Goger and Rudolph plan to retire as of June 30, 2012.

To read about the announcement that Goger and Rudolph will retire Goger that night said she had joined the district as business administrator in 1995.

Parents at the Oct. 10 meeting said they were surprised by the news. To read Goger's letter announcing her retirement,

 

Later during last week, two mothers of children at the praised Goger and Rudolph for the jobs they had done as administrators.

"I think they have done a wonderful service to Bernards Township," said Heather Olivo. "I am sorry to see them retire, and I wish them the best."

Parent Monique McHenry agreed with Olivo. But McHenry also added that Goger had been very supportive of the district's special education program. "Valerie did many things to support PEC (Parents of Exceptional Children) for years," she said. She said she hopes the district can find someone with as much "heart and soul" for understanding children with disabilities.

A parent with the child at the , Carol Hubbard, said some parents were speculating who would be chosen as the next schools superintendent. "We are anxious to see who they will bring in," she said. "It's a tough job."

Other parents said even on last Wednesday or Thursday that they hadn't heard the administrators plan to leave, or knew few details. Still others declined to comment.

TJ October 18, 2011 at 03:15 AM
The word is out? An internal ad and an ad in the star ledger? It's extremely common to have a National Recruiter bring in top talent to interview for a position like this. This is not some hidden secret. Why is the BOE allowing this? It sounds like they have someone in mind and aren't interested in looking for someone else. This is really frustrating. We should be doing everything possible to bring in the BEST choices possible. Sometimes the leaders in this town act like we're just some podunk town. Wake up, BOE. This is not a time to sit back and see what happens. This is where you need to step up, have a thorough search done and find the right person. I know that being on the board is not easy. And it's a lot of work. I have every respect for those who were elected. Now you all need to step up and make sure that this is done the right way. If you need more information on how to find a strong recruiter for this then let me know -- and no, I am not a recruiter. I simply know how this works and want to make sure that we don't sit back and take the lazy way out which = failure.
Nancy October 18, 2011 at 02:48 PM
The township needs to advertise to as many education professionals as possible in their respective publications. And to leave two weeks only to get the word out and accept applications? They allow more time to hire crossing guards. Please, no more closed negotiations, do the right thing and advertise this important position to a wide circle of qualified, professional educators.
Miles October 18, 2011 at 09:30 PM
I agree with the previous posters sentiment and would add that I certainly hope the BOE is eliminating the assistant schools superintendent position! We have way too much admin in our town.
TJ October 18, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Thank you! People can be so quick to complain if they don't like the superintendent. This is a HUGE crossroads for our district and people need to speak up to make sure that we are headed in the right direction. There is something very fishy about a Nov. 1 deadline given the start date and job position. People need to speak up to the BOE about this. The BOE are elected -- they represent the tax payers. And therefore, we all have every right to make sure that this is done right.
SZ October 19, 2011 at 12:10 AM
Agree - it is not in the best interests of the students, parents or residents of this town to rush this. There is no pressure of time. Does anyone know how the Superintendent is selected by the BOE? Does each board member get a vote?

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