SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Assistant Superintendent and acting Memorial School Principal, Graham Peabody was named as the Spotswood School District's new Superintendent at the Spotswood Board of Education meeting last night. Peabody will take over for Interim Superintendent Dr. Anthony Vaz. Vaz stepped in to replace former superintendent, Dr. Scott Rocco who resigned from his position on February 7 to become the Superintendent of Schools in Hamilton Township. Rocco's last day in the district was May 8.
Spotswood administrators and staff received the news yesterday via a mass email prior to the official announcement at the Tuesday, June 6 Board of Education meeting. The hiring of Peabody marks a change in the past four superintendents hired by the Spotswood Board of Education. In addition to being a longtime teacher and administrator in the Spotswood School District, Peabody is personally invested in the school system and the town. The borough resident has three children in the school system and his wife, Erin Peabody is a history teacher at Spotswood High School. Peabody's wife, Erin, is a Spotswood native with strong roots in the borough.
His children received the news personally yesterday from Vaz before the school day was out and Peabody got a congratulatory hug from his youngest daughter who is a student at the Memorial Middle School.
"It's daunting," Peabody said when asked of his feelings on becoming the Superintendent of Schools for the Spotswood School District. "But I have great role models. I've worked closely with the last four superintendents. I've learned a lot from them. Big shoes to fill, but I was able to learn a lot to continue to move forward with what they've done."
Peabody and the board agreed to a one-year contract, which the former baseball, basketball and softball coach felt was "good" for both himself and the BOE.
According to his biography on the Memorial Middle School website, Peabody has a BA in History from Rutgers University and his MA in Educational Administration from Seton Hall University. The Garden State native holds standard certifications from New Jersey as a teacher of social studies, supervisor, principal, school administrator and athletic administrator. Peabody began his time in the district in 1994 as a student teacher at Spotswood High School. He was hired by the district for the 1995-96 school year and has remained, teaching at the high school for nine years before making the transition to administration.
"It will," Peabody said when asked if his personal ties to the school and the community would affect his new position. "There's no doubt about it. I think while it's difficult at times, the job becomes more meaningful. Any decision I make impacts my family. I think in that sense every decision has to be critiqued. It puts me in the same situation as the board because every decision they're making impacts their kids as well. We are all heavily invested. So, while it's hard, it's well worth it."
"We have a great community," Peabody continued. "We have so many people that believe in service, volunteerism. They're caring. They're dedicated. The school is a big part of that.
Peabody's presence at the middle school this year was extremely positive and many parents and students will be sorry to see him leave.
Spotswood parent, Charlie Spicuzzo reflected that sentiment during the public forum section of the June 6 meeting when he congratulated Peabody on his new position, but expressed sadness that the administrator would be leaving his position as acting principal at Memorial.
When asked about Memorial, Spotswood's new superintendent said that a plan would quickly be put into place as they embark on a search for a principal.
"The job of superintendent is a liaison between the school and the community," Peabody continued. "And not only Spotswood, but Helmetta and Milltown too. That is exciting, to really promote and get out there to talk about what we've done as a school and what we can do better for the community."