MORRISTOWN, NJ - A new three-administrator team will lead the Morris School District Pupil Services Department.  The team is comprised of Marc Gold, Director of Pupil Services; Danae Heywood, Supervisor of Special Education, Grades Pre-K-5; and Rori Benson, Supervisor of Special Education, Grades 6-12.

“We are very excited to contribute to this community the good and necessary work that our roles entail,” said Gold. “We inherited a strong and highly effective department, and we will dedicate ourselves to ensuring that Pupil Services continues to provide for the equity and inclusion of all students at all ability levels.”

Superintendent Mackey Pendergrast explained the district’s reorganization of Pupil Services:  “Following the retirement of Suzanne Olimpio, Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Services, we restructured the administration of the department, adding two special ed supervisors so that we could be as responsive as possible to families at each level of schooling.  When the departure of Jessica Neu left an opening for the Director position, we were fortunate to have among the candidates someone from within our district who was already poised to assume the leadership of the department and who will continue to build strong and productive partnerships within the vast network of people and organizations that support our students.”  

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As Director, Gold will oversee the department’s range of programs, including special education, disability services, counseling and crisis intervention, child study teams, and health services.  He joined the Morris School District in 2016, when he assumed the role of Assistant Principal, Athletic Director, and Special Education Liaison at Frelinghuysen Middle School. Before joining the FMS administrative staff, he was an Assistant Principal and former Special Education Teacher at Maplewood Middle School.   

Danae Heywood has been a member of the Morris School District community since 2011, first as a Special Education Teacher at Normandy Park School, and then as a Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant at Frelinghuysen Middle School. She is thrilled to work collaboratively with the Pre-K through 5th grade teachers, child study teams, and principals to ensure each student in the Morris School District will ascend. 

Rori Benson joined the Morris School District community in 2018 as a Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant at Morristown High School.  Prior to that she served as the Supervisor of Instruction for the Career and Technical Education Programs at the Morris County School of Technology.  She brings to the team twenty years of knowledge and experience in education and a passion for preparing students with special needs to be independent, productive, and confident contributors within the community and society. 

Superintendent Pendergrast stated that the Pupil Services Department is “integral not only to the district’s operations on a functional level, but to the faithful execution of our mission to empower students to ascend academically, socially, and emotionally.  I know that this exceptional administrative team will further our district’s commitment to building and sustaining a healthy, inclusive community in which each student can thrive.”


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