BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Judith Rattner began her career in education nearly 30 years ago in Chatham. Today, she is the Superintendent of Schools in Berkeley Heights.
She said her inspiration to pursue a career in education started at a very young age.
“From the time I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher,” Rattner said. “It probably had a lot to do with my kindergarten and first grade teachers.”
She said she started off as a high school English and math teacher and then went on to becoming a supervisor and administrator.
In 2000, Rattner served as assistant superintendent in Berkeley Heights and became superintendent of schools in 2005.
“I was attracted to Berkeley Heights because it’s a very unique community,” Rattner said. “It’s diverse but it is a community that has strong ties to education and they take great pride not only in their community but in their schools. To me, that’s the prefect formula. That’s a great place to be.”
As superintendent, there are certain things that Rattner says are on her “to-do list.”
“We have a strategic plan that we developed about a year and a half ago and we did the first year of goals last year,” Rattner said. “We’re rolling a lot of that stuff forward this year and now we are focusing on the second year goals. We’ve implemented a new evaluation system for teachers and principals and that is a high priority.”
The thing that she says is probably nearest and dearest to her heart will be taking place very soon.
“We are in the midst of an iPad initiative,” Rattner said. “All of the staff has received iPads and training in iPad use. In the beginning of November, we will be giving iPads [and wireless keyboards] to every high school student [in Berkeley Heights].”
She said that Apple has been doing a lot of training in terms of making things subject specific, mainly to aid teachers.
Through her past experiences in education, Rattner has, herself, learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.
“You feel like you are prepared but there’s always something that happens that you have to look at from a different perspective,” Rattner said. “You think you’ve seen it all and there’s always something else that happens that causes you to stop and say, I’ve never dealt with this before. How do I deal with it? So I’m addressing the problem and at the same time keeping in mind the people involved in [it].”
In her spare time, Rattner says that she loves to read, play golf and spend time with her family.