ROSELLE, NJ – Dr. James C. Baker arrived at the Board of Education offices in Roselle in July with a full agenda to upgrade and enhance learning in the Roselle Public Schools.
In his initial four months, Dr. Baker said, he is pleased with the enormous progress that has occurred but notes that much more work is required for the district to ensure widespread student success.
“We are evaluating our teachers in a whole new way to maximize their talents,” Dr. Baker said. “We are using all resources at our disposal to ensure our students can learn in the least restrictive environment, with extensive educational opportunities.”
Lofty goals have required him to undertake a detailed assessment of the central administrative offices, the educational quality in all borough schools and all of the buildings and grounds. Such a critical eye extends to even the smallest items, such as a light bulb that needs replacing or a heater that could use a new grill. Already, staff, students, and community have noticed major improvements in building environments.
“I have always believed that no one rises to low expectations, and that is why we, all stakeholders, are taking a critical eye to all areas of this school district,” Dr. Baker said. “We are relying heavily on staff input to learn where the Roselle schools are the strongest and where we are the weakest. From there, we are using our best local talents – be it a teacher, or a student, parents, or an administrator –– to restructure.”
Dr. Baker says it is an ongoing challenge to provide a more robust education for students, while continually seeking and eliminating waste in the school budget. There are now reviews of every line item, ensuring there is a clean, unquestioned benefit to every dollar spent. For example, he wants all students to re-register for the school district, ensuring they are all residents of Roselle.
Serving as a superintendent for various districts in New Jersey for a number of years, including East Windsor and Hoboken Charter. He first became a superintendent for the Califon Public Schools and moved on to become superintendent for the Middlesex Borough Public Schools, where he stayed for close to ten years. He launched his own consulting company, James Baker LLC Consulting for Educators, offering consultative services to different school districts. He has National, State and Local involvement in all aspects of education, from the curriculum, budgeting, construction, and safety. He has been on the National Superintendent roundtable, the Executive Committee for the New Jersey Association of School Administrators and also the New Jersey Council on Education.
Dr. Baker also has prior experience in the public and private sector as a Program Development Specialist at the Garden State School District in Trenton, Director of Rehabilitation and Employment Specialist program at the Division of Narcotics and Drug Abuse Control in Trenton, Assistant Director for Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in Trenton, Chief Administrator of the Office of Intoxicated Driver and Criminal Justice in Trenton, Faculty Member at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, and Principal of Washington School and Director of the Community School in Saddle Brook.
Since the late 1970’s, Dr. Baker has been a pioneer in social and emotional learning, where he integrated these concepts in his schools. Those practices are being incorporated into all educational components within the Roselle Schools.
You can learn more about the Roselle Public Schools at on their website at RoselleSchools.org.
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