BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Former Pequannock superintendent Victor Hayek was appointed in June as the new superintendent in the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.
Hayek replaces Michael Schilder, who retired in June 2013, and was hired after a double superintendent search during which assistant superintendent Cheryl Dyer served as interim.
“Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District is one of the great school districts in New Jersey,” Hayek said. “When the opportunity came around to lead the school district, I wanted to be part of it.”
“After meeting with the board, I felt we connected in our ideals and philosophies,” he added. “As the board is representative of the community, I knew I was in the right place.”
Hayek has a very diverse education that didn’t originally start with teaching.
Hayek’s family moved to the United States from Lebanon when he was 6 years old.
“I didn’t know any English, which made school very challenging for me,” he said. “If not for some very special teachers who took time to engage me, challenge me and provide me the necessary supports to succeed, I would not be here today.”
While he was studying for his MBA at William Paterson University, Hayek said, he was awarded a graduate assistantship, giving him the chance to work with the faculty. When he graduated, he began to teach classes at the college level.
“Instantly, I loved it, so I continued to teach for over 11 years,” he said of the mainly business classes he taught, including management, marketing, business strategy and entrepreneurship. “It was very rewarding to see my students succeed, and I was grateful to be part of preparing them for the future.”
Hayek said he worked in retail, eventually becoming a manager for a large supermarket chain. After 11 years, he started his own business, a bagel bakery with retail and wholesale production that supplied 10 supermarkets, two major universities and five school districts.
After a few years, Hayek said, he decided to get involved in public service, and became a police officer in Wayne Township.
“The work was very rewarding and it gave me great skills and experience in dealing with people on multiple levels,” he said.
While working as a police officer, Hayek kept teaching at William Paterson University and became a certified police academy instructor and a CPR/Defib/First Aid instructor for the department.
“I was crushed when I could not continue working as a police officer when I was injured during a firearms training exercise,” he said. “Having sold my business a few years prior, I was at a crossroads for my future.”
Hayek said he was still teaching and was elected to the Wayne Board of Education.
“I found it rewarding and challenging at the same time,” he said. “I decided to use my business and education experience and became certified as a school business administrator and eventually enrolled in the Doctoral Program at Seton Hall University.”
Hayek said he held leadership roles at St. Dominic Academy as the director of finance and operations, then the North Caldwell School District as business administrator and then Pequannock Township as superintendent of schools.
Hayek said he hopes to bring strong leadership to the district.
“Working in a time when we are capping educational spending has created challenges for all school districts,” he said. “It will take effective leadership, working collaboratively and cooperatively with all stakeholders to balance our commitment to student success with our responsibility to the taxpayers.”
“Naturally, students’ successes always come first,” he added.
Hayek recently posted a message to parents regarding the first day of school Thursday. Read it below:
“Dear Parents, Guardians and Community Members,
I am proud to announce that we are ready for the 2014-2015 school year. Our faculty and staff have been planning and preparing, while our facilities and maintenance personnel have been working all summer to make sure that our buildings are ready. First official day for our faculty is Tuesday, September 2, while first day for students is Thursday, September 4 (full-day). I am confident that this will be another year filled with amazing learning experiences for all.
Though we have new leadership in place, our focus remains uncompromised. We are steadfast in promoting a positive attitude and fostering an environment of accountability. We continue to be encouraged by our strong efforts and track record of student success, yet we will not rest on our laurels. Our overarching goal is to increase our efforts to improve in all areas each and every day.
Roman biographer Plutarch said, ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled’. Today, that means we are committed to provide a challenging learning environment for all students. In addition, we encourage their participation in extracurricular activities such as, student leadership, community service, athletics, and/or other clubs and organizations. We believe all students deserve learning opportunities that maximize their full potential.
I also encourage you to be part of our school community and take full advantage of the wonderful things happening within the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. Whether or not you have children in our schools, we invite you to attend and enjoy the many events and activities that occur throughout the year, such as, plays, musical performances, athletics, club activities, and more. Feel free to visit our website for a complete listing of events.
In my time here so far, I can tell you that you will not find a faculty, staff, and administration more committed to providing the best educational opportunities to all of our students. On behalf of the administration, faculty, and staff, we welcome you to another great school year!
Dr. Victor P. Hayek"