Education

Changes May Come for Madison School District Under New Superintendent

dfaf6f7d72af713ddd96_Screen_Shot_2017-08-17_at_4.29.57_PM.jpg
New Madison Superintendent Mark Schwarz said he is "so excited" to start work this week for the district. Credits: Twitter - @MarkRSchwarz
dfaf6f7d72af713ddd96_Screen_Shot_2017-08-17_at_4.29.57_PM.jpg

MADISON, NJ – Madison’s new superintendent Mark Schwarz officially joined the district on Monday, and said he has big plans for his first 90 days at the helm of Madison schools.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Schwarz suggested changing up the structure of these meetings in a way that may increase the level of communication between the masses and the Board.

Schwarz’s suggestion came in response to several parent complaints at recent Board of Education meetings about what some parents said they feel is a “lack of transparency” between the Board and the public.

Sign Up for E-News

“The Board really desires to operate in a transparent way,” said Schwarz, who has continuously attended Board meetings and talked with local parents on the topic since his appointment in May.

Under Schwarz’s plan, the Board would meet twice a month. One of these meetings would be strictly for discussion with the public. All votes and action would be taken at the next non-discussion meeting.

The proposed meeting structure would work well for somewhat “inexperienced” Board members, Ellis said, many of whom have less than five years with the Board, as well as parents who want more information about the inner workings of the Madison district.

“We want the community to be aware and informed,” said Board President Lisa Ellis. “It’s helpful to have more discussion time.”

What some parents have called a “lack of transparency” is really just the absence of a “point person” in the superintendent department before Schwarz was hired, Ellis said.

“The limitation has been that the primary way the board establishes transparency is by establishing a superintendent who communicates clearly, (and) who can establish effective processes so the board is set up for success in their deliberations and their decisions and the policies they set,” Schwarz said.

Madison public schools were without a permanent superintendent for more than six months before Schwarz’s appointment was announced May 23 at a Board meeting.

In recent months, Madison schools lost several top leaders, including the director of special services, the Madison Junior School principal and the assistant principal of Madison High School.

Schwarz said many of these positions may be filled by the end of his first 90 days in Madison, but asked the public for patience as he gets situated in his new district.

“I’m simultaneously hiring for high-level positions, opening schools and establishing myself as superintendent of the district,” he said. “I can assure the community that on an incremental basis, I will be dramatically increasing the amount of communication that comes out of the school.”

In his first 90 days, Schwarz said he plans to establish and build up a system of transparent communication within the Madison community. Changes to the Board’s meeting structure may help accomplish that goal.

A “thorough assessment” of Madison schools will be conducted and available to the public before the year is out, according to Schwarz. This will “drive the next conversations about where we’re going and how we plan to get there,” he said.

Looking to the future, Schwarz said he is confident in his staff’s ability to bolster Madison’s already-prestigious reputation within the educational community.

“I want Madison to become a district that inspires districts all over,” he said. “We have the talent to make that happen. Any student that comes through Madison schools is going to get the absolute best, world-class education available.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Madison

Adams Dental Proudly Supports the Madison Area YMCA Annual Banner Program

June 18, 2018

MADISON, NJ - Adams Dental is supporting the banner program of the Madison Area YMCA to help advance their cause.

Donations to the Madison Area YMCA’s Annual Fund go through the Y and directly to members of our community, making it possible for children, families and adults have access to Y programs that improve their lives.  

Donations help ensure that Y membership, ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Cool Ways to Save Money This Summer

As the summer temperatures rise, home cooling costs rise as well. But there are ways to help save money without sweating the heat:

To increase your cooling system’s efficiency by as much as 20%, get it checked out for summer.  A technician will clean the condenser, make sure you have the optimal amount of refrigerant, and ensure the airflow over the coil is ...