BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District is suddenly in the market for a new superintendent of schools.
Superintendent Russell Lazovick announced at Tuesday’s board of education meeting that he will resign from his position to become principal at Ridge High School, in Basking Ridge, on July 1.
Lazovick started by thanking the Bridgewater-Raritan school board for the opportunity to serve. He said he is looking forward to getting back to working in one building where he can interact more closely with staff, students and families.
“I’m excited for the next step in my career,” said Lazovick, who had most recently served as the superintendent in Nutley before coming to Bridgewater.
A native of Wayne and a graduate of Boston University with both bachelors and masters degrees in education, Lazovick began his academic career as a teacher in Las Vegas and New Brunswick. He later served as assistant superintendent in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District before moving on to Nutley and Bridgewater-Raritan.
He added that he is looking forward to getting things done over the next four months before his departure, although he added it will be bittersweet to leave Bridgewater-Raritan behind. He also said he has received many congratulatory and other messages in the previous 24 hours after accepting his new job.
Lazovick was appointed to the position as principal at Ridge at the Bernards Township Board of Education meeting Monday.
Most of the words about Lazovick’s coming departure at Monday’s meeting were left to others.
“Now I know how Nutley felt,” said school board vice president Jill Gladstone.
She recalled how when Lazovick had first started in Bridgewater-Raritan, the district needed a strategic plan, and how he had brought in stakeholders and also brought his enthusiasm. She said he had developed “the best mission statement” in his tenure in Bridgewater-Raritan.
Gladstone also said Lazovick started work on the possible change in school schedules, along with revamping the the district’s website, and has been very visible in local classrooms and at fine arts and other events. She said he has gotten the district “back on track” regarding program evaluations, and she understands him wanting to get back to his educational roots.
“You did a lot in four years,” said Gladstone, who praised Lazovick’s vision for continued growth in the district. “Thank you.”
Several school board members expressed concern about current continuing work to potentially push back school starting times in the district, in light of Lazovick’s resignation, even with the formation of a new advisory committee to study the situation.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the new (superintendent) employee, or to the community,” said board member Lynne Hurley, who said she is in favor of suspending efforts in that regard.
Board member A.J. Joshi said that life has to go on, while agreeing with Hurley publicly were board members Ann Marie Mead and Zachary Malek.
Board member Barry Walker said the district has to keep moving forward, and that not everyone will be pleased with the final decision.
“We’re trying to do our best for the kids,” said Walker, who added that start times is a health issue.
Malek asked about the general process of hiring a superintendent, and Hurley replied that the board has used a search firm in the past. Walker said it took about three months last time, from the resignation of the previous superintendent to the hiring of the new one.
Gladstone said that hiring the superintendent is “the single most important thing the board does,” as it is the superintendent who runs the district.