BARNEGAT, NJ – One thing remains the same when the Barnegat School District changes to a grade banding model next year. Barnegat High School continues to as the home for those in grades 9-12. That said, the Bengals welcome a new principal for the 2020-2021 school year.
When Barnegat’s Class of 2024 starts school next year, they won’t be the only ones new to the high school campus. However, their new principal, Patrick Magee, isn’t exactly a freshman to the district. Seven years ago, he started his career in local school administration as the vice principal of the Russell O. Brackman Middle School. In 2016, Magee became the principal of the Cecil S. Collins Elementary School.
Before coming to Barnegat, Magee taught Business Education and was a school administrator in Pleasantville. He adjusted quickly to moving from a more urban district and has connected well with what he describes as a close-knit community. Although Magee enjoyed the classroom, he was also intrigued by the opportunity to move into a different type of role.
“As an administrator, I get to deal with the entire student body and the direction of the school,” shared Magee. “I also enjoy working on initiatives with parents and the community.”
Magee’s reputation proceeds him. He has an openness that makes him approachable. He, himself, admits he finds it critical to develop a rapport with people in finding working solutions to issues.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Latwis describes Magee as reflective and open to feedback. Latwis sees this starting at the student level and moving up to making him a strong principal. The evidence speaks for itself in how things already run effectively and efficiently at the Collins School.
“Children, staff, and parents can expect someone who listens to them, “said Latwis. “He also “walks the walk” and is a strong leader by example. Pat would never ask a staff member to do something he wouldn’t do himself.”
The transition from leading a school filled with elementary children to high school kids might sound challenging to some. However, Magee already has great plans for expanding opportunities and celebrating achievements.
“Just because they’re teenagers doesn’t mean I have to come in as an agent of change,” Magee explained. “It’s not like I have to come in to fix a wrong ship.”
As the principal, Magee won’t be the one charged with disciplinary actions. That job normally falls upon one of the high school’s two vice principals. Nonetheless, Magee is quick to share his opinion on the stigma attached to some teenagers.
“Just because kids make mistakes doesn’t mean they’re bad,” said Magee. “Although, there’s sometimes the need for behavior to be curtailed.”
Magee exudes excitement when he speaks about his role in what’s to come when he starts at the high school. He looks forward to more resources for the students for increased academic success.
Meanwhile, Magee considers himself lucky to have access to Joe Saxton and Steve Nichols. Both have previously served as the high school’s principal, and Magee thinks of them as excellent resources.
“We have many traditions that are important to us at the high school,” said Magee. “Things like our football team, the marching band, and the National Honor Society are part of our identity.”
While the reconfiguration doesn’t change the grade levels at the high school, Magee appreciates the resources it affords. He sees it as an opportunity to address disparities in education. Additionally, it will be easier to give teachers themselves more focused training.
“Learning is a marathon,” Magee explained. “Numbers and test scores are one thing. However, I think the changes will give students a greater experience and opportunity to succeed.”
Magee and his wife, Susan, a special education teacher, have one son, Christian. After earning his undergraduate degree at Stockton College in Business and Marketing, Magee was awarded a Masters of Educational Administration from Kean University.