MADISON, NJ—The Madison Board of Education on Tuesday appointed Mark Schwarz as the borough’s new superintendent of schools, ending a months-long search for a permanent replacement of Dr. Michael Rossi.
Schwarz now works as the superintendent for the Rockaway Borough district, where he has previously held positions as principal, vice principal and curriculum coordinator.
Just one year after receiving his Master’s degree in educational leadership, management and policy from Seton Hall University, he became supervisor of social studies, arts and technology in 2010 at Jefferson Public Schools, a district where he worked for more than ten years before taking his current position in Rockaway. He is now pursuing his doctorate in K-12 school administration at Seton Hall.
“We are honored that Mr. Schwarz has accepted this position,” said Lisa Ellis, president of the Board of Education. “Intelligent, articulate, driven, Mr. Schwarz will bring a renewed culture of accountability and collaboration to Madison. The Board felt very strongly that his leadership style will perfectly complement the strengths of our outstanding staff.”
Schwarz said his passion for education is deeply rooted in his family, including his wife, Sharon, who is an eighth grade language arts teacher in Clifton, and his two sons, Kyler, 7, and Brayden, 5. Madison is a town in which Schwarz said he and his wife have always dreamed of working.
“Carrying a rich tradition of academic excellence, broad curricular offerings and a whole-child focus, Madison schools are fully committed to providing students with a world-class education,” he said.
Schwarz was selected from a pool of eight applicants, narrowed down from 21 by Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), a research firm hired by the Board of Education. HYA in March released a report that detailed the desires and concerns the community said it hopes the new superintendent will address, which the firm acquired from interviews with residents and town officials.
“Madison Borough attracted several highly-qualified candidates for the superintendent’s position,” said Dr. Dwight R. Pfenning, Senior Associate for HYA. “The Board worked diligently in meeting the demands of the search schedule, as well as the desire of the community to find a visionary superintendent to guide the district in the near future.”
Though he was appointed at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Schwarz will not officially begin his new position until the late summer, with a tentative start date of Aug. 24. Dr. Thomas Ficarra is Madison’s current interim superintendent, but because he was appointed May 9 following the departure of Dr. Rich Noonan, he must by law serve 90 days before vacating the position.
Schwarz is still finishing out his final days in Rockaway Borough, and said he is happy to use his nights and weekends to work with Dr. Ficarra in the coming months. Rockaway Borough, according to Schwarz, is still his “first priority” and he said he in no way wants them to feel “short changed” before his time there is up.