HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The Township Board of Education has unanimously appointed Dr. Lisa M. Antunes as Superintendent of Schools affective Tuesday, May 12.
She has been serving as Hillsborough’s Acting Superintendent since October, 2019, when her predecessor, Dr. Jorden Schiff, abruptly resigned and retired.
Prior to that, Antunes had served as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction since August, 2005.
She previously served as Acting Superintendent of Schools in 2007. Antunes began her career in public schools as a special education teacher in Brooklyn, NY, then held a position, also in special education at Hillside High School.
Additionally, before working in Hillsborough, Antunes served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Jefferson Township.
She holds a B.S. and M.S. from St. John’s University, and an Ed.D. from Seton Hall University.
“Dr. Antunes has demonstrated exceptional leadership during all of her time in Hillsborough and especially as acting Superintendent during this very turbulent time," said Board President Dr. Lorraine Soisson "She has been a huge part of the success of Hillsborough schools since joining our district in 2005. She has been an important part of our history and the Board looks forward to having her lead us into the future.”
The school district has over 7,500 students and 1,000 teachers, with nine school buildings.
Schiff's resignation was preceded by a tumultuous year for not only himself, but students, parents, teachers, school employees, administrators and board members.
Teacher layoffs, budget cuts, decreased state aid, an impasse with teachers over a new contract and the resounding defeat of a March, 2019 referendum that would have raised school taxes to pay for all-day kindergarten and help the school district stabilize its finances took their toll.
Parents were also notified last year of a new “Pay to Play” policy that requires students to pay fees between $25 and $100 to participate in extra-curricular activities including varsity sports and clubs.
The teachers' contract has since been settled.
Schiff released the following statement in conjunction with his resignation::
"Serving as your superintendent for the past eight years has been one of the most professionally rewarding experiences of my career. We have provided more access to technology for our students, included Mandarin Chinese instruction beginning in first grade, and focused on equity by making Instructional Rounds a common practice throughout the district," he said.
"Hillsborough High School graduates 98 percent of our students with 92 percent continuing their studies at colleges and universities throughout our country. The number of students taking Advanced Placement courses continues to increase. The latest national rankings find Hillsborough Township Public Schools #15 in New Jersey, a state just ranked by Quality Counts as #1 in the nation," Schiff added.
"Our accomplishments have been a team effort, and I am very proud of the work of our faculty, staff, administration, Board of Education, parents, and most of all, our students," Schiff said.
He had been Superintendent of Schools in Readington Township, a K-8 district when he was hired in Hillsborough following a national search.
He was appointed superintendent in 2011, and was selected as the Somerset County Superintendent of the Year by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators in 2015.
“Dr. Schiff brought vision to Hillsborough and, under his leadership, we moved the district forward during his tenure. He will be missed.” Soisson said at the meeting when his resignation was accepted.