WESTFIELD, NJ — The school board has appointed a new assistant principal for Roosevelt Intermediate School.
Keith Brunson, who serves as a dean of students at Piscataway High School, will begin in his new role Oct. 15, or earlier if released by his current employer, school officials said. As the assistant principal, he will earn an annual salary of $112,500.
“Having this opportunity to serve in this district, is, to me, a true reward,” Brunson said at the school board meeting Thursday morning. “I know what it means to be here, and I just want to make you proud.”
The board voted unanimously to approve Brunson’s appointment during its special meeting. Board members Gretchan Ohlig and Amy Root were not present during the meeting.
Brunson is set to replace former Roosevelt Assistant Principal Brian Gechtman, who was named principal of Roosevelt last month. Gechtman, in turn, succeeds former Roosevelt Principal Mary Asfendis, who began as Westfield High School Principal at the start of this month.
Asfendis was named Westfield High School Principal following the death of Dr. Derrick Nelson earlier this year. Nelson died in April following complications from a bone marrow donation procedure.
Brunson said that he has met Nelson on multiple occasions and that Nelson’s example was a big part of why he wanted to join the district.
“The things that [Nelson] said about Westfield resonated with me,” Brunson said. “And I knew that I would want an opportunity to be part of a school system that was seeking to mold and build young people to be successful, to be committed, to be focused. It was something that I wanted to be a part of, and a lot of that came from him.”
During the meeting, Superintendent Margaret Dolan outlined the selection process. She said it began soon after Gechtman’s appointment to principal.
“The very next day, once he was approved, Mr. Gechtman started to assemble a search committee,” Dolan said. “The committee was very pleased with [Brunson’s] interviews, and felt as though he is really going to be a great match for Roosevelt.”
Board President Peggy Oster offered her thoughts on Brunson’s appointment.
“I’m very excited, I think it was a great search committee. And I understand there were a lot of applicants and so forth, so you really must have rose to the top of the group,” Oster said. “Westfield is a great district, and we’re very happy to have you.”
Brunson has been a dean for students in Piscataway for three years, and taught social studies at Piscataway High School for 17 years prior, according to a district press release.