RARITAN TWP;., N.J. – The Flemington-Raritan School board welcomed 50 new staff members to the K-8 district at its meeting last week.

Their specialties run the gamut –from a kindergarten teacher, to experts in educating those with autism or disabilities, to lunch aides to new school nurses.

They each received a rose in recognition and joining them in the honor was school district Superintendent Kari McGann, who started in her job here in July.

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While much of a superintendent’s job is administrative, McGann hasn’t forsaken her educational roots. She’s been selected as one of 20 fellows in LEAD STEM, a national leadership development experience.

Over the coming year, McGann will be educated on critical skills to impact current local learning while shaping the future of education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

McGann was the lead for one of New Jersey’s four STEM “ecosystems” before joining the district here. She works to further science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning, ensuring that all students have access to STEM opportunities.

McGann collaborates with many partners in higher-education, industry, local and state legislature, and community members to focus on STEM opportunities.

McGann is now researching the impact of STEM opportunities created for students on the state’s workforce gap in STEM.

LEAD STEM is a collaborative movement of 68 STEM Learning Ecosystems made up of hundreds of after-school STEM organizations, thousands of school districts serving millions of students, hundreds of businesses and industries and dozens of community colleges and universities.

Adding to the program’s strength, LEGO Education is joining as a lead sponsor to encourage the fellows as they seek to ignite a passion for STEM learning in students.

McGann will map and execute a strategy to address a community-based educational need or growth opportunity. She’ll work with other constituents in the state STEM Pathways Network and its four STEM Learning Ecosystems: Delran (Burlington County), Liberty (Hudson County), Newark, and South Jersey STEM & Innovation Partnership (Camden, Cumberland, and Salem Counties), adding Hunterdon County to the effort.

National LEAD STEM faculty and mentors will guide the work through strategic planning and the identification of goals and outcomes.

“New Jersey needs leaders in education that are driven to provide opportunities for all students in STEM, especially girls and students of color, to ultimately build New Jersey's STEM workforce,” said McGann in a school press release. “LEAD STEM brings national leaders together in an interconnected, collaborative effort of a community working towards a shared vision.”