Education

School District Hires TJ Best For $75,000 Job in Communications Department

1cbc76f68fde8064d30b_best.jpg
1cbc76f68fde8064d30b_best.jpg

PATERSON, NJ – Former Board of Education President Theodore “TJ” Best has taken a $75,000 job as Paterson Public Schools’ interim Supervisor of Special Projects.

Best, who serves as a Passaic County Freeholder, started work on Monday. In the spring, he had been retained as a consultant who helped craft the district’s “Transformation Plan.’’ That contract was for $30,000. He now fills a new full-time position in the district’s communications department at a time when the state-appointed superintendent, Donnie Evans, is trying to cut administrative costs by 25 percent over the next two years.

“Something is wrong about this,’’ said school board member Errol Kerr. “This was not part of the structure that the superintendent told us about. I don’t think the superintendent has adequately communicated this to the board.’’

Sign Up for E-News

“I have mixed feelings about this,’’ said school board member Corey Teague. “I don’t have anything against TJ personally, I respect him. But I have questions for Dr. Evans and what he’s trying to accomplish with this. To me, it doesn’t make sense.’’

School board member Manuel Martinez acknowledged there would be a “negative public perception” of Best’s hiring. “Some people are going to think it’s favoritism,’’ said Martinez. “But TJ is a qualified and capable individual. He knows the inner workings of the district. He has done well for the district and I think he will continue to do well for the district.’’

The job description provided by the district says the Special Projects supervisor “will provide broad range support to the district by overseeing a wide variety of Board of Education projects and events and by playing an active role in the district’s efforts to utilize online media channels to effectively communicate with a culturally diverse public.  The Special Projects Supervisor will have an in-depth understanding of website design and digital technology, and will help to lead the school district’s exploration and usage of new media/social media tools to facilitate two-way communication with key stakeholders.’’

But district spokeswoman Terry Corallo, who will be Best’s supervisor, said he will not work on the social media project. Instead, she said he will focus his effort on helping the district regain local control through the state’s Quality Single Accountability Continuum process, also known as QSAC.

“Having previous Board experience, Mr. Best is a resident expert for our district on QSAC,’’ said Corallo. “As you know, returning local control has been a key district focus, and our ability to do so will be tied to the upcoming QSAC evaluation (in October).  Mr. Best will be working on this for the next few months as we re-evaluate the Supervisor position and go through a formal hiring process (not likely until November).’’

Corallo added that the supervisor’s position “was always intended to be more than managing social media – it was always written as one that will manage special Board projects.’’

Kerr questioned the wisdom of hiring someone to work on QSAC because the state education department has made it clear that it will be changing that process. “Why do we need to hire somebody to manage something that’s already considered dead?’’ Kerr asked. “Don’t give us that lame argument. Find some other excuse if you want to give someone a job.’’

Last month, the district had picked someone else for the communications department supervisor’s job. But officials decided not to hire that person when they learned he had inappropriate postings on his MySpace page.

“Since we were unsuccessful filling this role, we went back to our pool of applicants,’’ Corallo said, “and made a decision based upon an upcoming priority project – QSAC.’’ Best was among the original field of applicants, according to Corallo.  

Kerr said the district should have sought a new pool of applicants when the focus of the job duties changed from social media to QSAC.

Corallo said more than 20 people applied for the job when the opening was originally posted in March.

Peter Tirri, president of the Paterson Education Association, the union that represents city teachers. said he doubted the hiring process was fair.

“Let’s be clear here, what they’re doing is giving somebody’s buddy a job,’’ said Tirri. “He’s a politician and he’s getting a job.’’

“One of the reasons we were taken over by the state was there was too much nepotism and political interference in the district,’’ Tirri added.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_efec3d39ddc6008dd11e_4a256201-8c0a-450c-b62e-8a761d6f5b83

Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 12, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Big Plans for Small Park in Newark’s North Ward

NEWARK, NJ- An under-utilized pocket park on Mt. Prospect Avenue in Newark’s North Ward has become a symbol of what can be accomplished in neighborhoods throughout the city through effective public-private partnerships. 

The park’s supporters have big plans for the public space, located directly across the street from the busy North Ward Center, located in an historic ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...