BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ — Nick Markarian has agreed to remain as Bernards Township Superintendent of Schools for another five years.

The Board of Education approved Monday a pact effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2025, at an initial annual salary of $216,798.

His current base salary is $204,526 with $2,275 in allowances, according to the district’s 2020-21 budget.

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The annual increases for the five years are 6, 5, 3, 3 and 3 percent, said Markarian in an email Wednesday.

“The larger increases in the first two years were designed to spread out an upward adjustment to reflect performance and the elimination of the superintendent salary cap, which actually occurred in July of 2019,” he said. “Some superintendents negotiated increases in response to the elimination of the salary cap even for 2019-2020; I did not ask to do that.”

Merit pay continues to be excluded from the contract; merit pay could add up to another 14.99 percent of base salary each year, under state guidelines.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue my work with the board, community, staff and students of Bernards Township,” Markarian said in an email. “I am excited to collaborate with state leadership and local stakeholders to work through our current crisis, and I greatly look forward to accomplishing the many objectives of our strategic plan over the next few years. It is a wonderful community, staff and student body and every day is a blessing.

Markarian, 49, replaced retiring superintendent Valerie Goger in May 2012. He and the board agreed to a five-year contract in 2015 that was revised in 2017.

Board member Tim Salmon, paraphrasing former board member Michael Byrne, said Monday the district administrative team and leadership is one of the many positives of the district.

In May 2018 Markarian was as the county “Superintendent of the Year” by the Somerset County Association of School Administrators.

Markarian began his career in Bernards as an assistant principal on Sept. 11, 2001. He moved up to become school principal at William Annin Middle School until he was appointed as the district’s business administrator, the post in which he was serving when chosen as superintendent.

Markarian also has the experience of teaching in the classroom, having been a math teacher at Hunterdon Central and Spotswood high schools.

In October 2017, following the elimination of state caps on superintendents’ salaries, Markarian agreed to a revised contract through June 2020. The contract raised his salary to the new state-allowed base of $196,584.

In the last few years Markarian has dealt with issues of how to address issues of student emotional and mental health, which has touched matters like counseling services, academic expectations and scheduling the school day. He has also overseen investigation into the changing of the high school day to a schedule with fewer, but longer, class periods.