BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ -- Bridgewater-Raritan Superintendent of Schools Russell Lazovick was hired Monday night as principal of Ridge High School, starting July 1, at a salary of $194,391 per year.

Lazovick, 44, is in his fourth year at Bridgewater-Raritan. Before that he was superintendent of the Nutley school district for five years. He lives in Branchburg.

The Bernards Township Board of Education chose Lazovick to replace Drew Krause, who left in late January to pursue a job in private industry. Krause’s salary was $170,163.

Sign Up for Basking Ridge Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Lazovick, who attended the meeting, said he was excited, after 14 years in schools’ central offices, to look forward “to moving back to a building.”

“As a superintendent I missed the day-to-day with students and working with teachers directly,” he said after the meeting.

Bernards Superintendent Nick Markarian said Lazovick “prevailed in the interview process. Even in a group of excellent candidates, he stood out.” He said Lazovick had “an excellent explanation of where he is in his career and in wanting to reconnect with teachers and staff.”

Markarian said he was thrilled to have a man with Lazovick’s experience, character, work ethic and good nature. “Unequivocally, I am personally absolutely thrilled to have Russ on the team,” he said.

Originally from Wayne, Lazovick attended Boston University, earning his Bachelor of Science degree in international relations and his master's in education. He said he is pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership from Rowan University.

He said he done “just about everything” in schools. As a teacher at New Brunswick High School, he resurrected the theater program, dormant for almost 30 years, according to his resume.

In New Brunswick, Lazovick moved from classroom teacher to language arts supervisor and eventually to director of elementary education.

In 2009, Lazovick became the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. In 2011, he took over as the superintendent in Nutley.

He is a TED Innovative Educator. He attended TED Summit this summer in Edinburgh and his first studio TED talk – short and powerful videos -- was released in December, according to the B-R school website.

He said he is familiar with one of the challenges he will face at Ridge: effecting a change from a nine-period school day to an eight-period “rotating drop” schedule of longer but fewer classes in a given week. Bridgewater-Raritan has a nine-period day, but Nutley used a rotating drop schedule, he said. He called a rotating drop plan “a modern schedule for modern opportunity.”

The Bridgewater-Raritan district has seven primary (grades K-4), two intermediate (grades 5-6), one middle and one high schools. Ridge High has about 1,800 students. Its 2019-20 budget is about $145 million. Lazovick is being paid $196,584 there.

Krause’s vacancy is being filled for the rest of the year by William Annin Middle School Principal Karen Hudock, who presumably will return to WAMS for the next school year.