ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury Schools Superintendent Patrick Tierney is leaving the school district and heading for Jefferson, where the school board tonight voted unanimously to hire him.

Tierney’s decision came as a surprise to Roxbury Board of Education President Theresa D’Agostino, who said she tonight was unaware that Tierney had been looking for employment elsewhere.

Tierney will replace Jefferson Schools Superintendent Joseph Kraemet, who is retiring.

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When he was interviewed by a newspaper in July 2012, after being hired by Roxbury, Tierney said Roxbury was the place he wanted to work until he retired. After the Jefferson board meeting tonight, he did not cite any specific issues at Roxbury that prompted him to change his mind.

“Roxbury has phenomenal people there; the teachers and the professional staff,” he said. “This was something that was my decision and it had nothing to do with anything in Roxbury. It was just that I felt that it was time. I established and worked collaboratively with the board of education and administration and teachers to implement many different programs. I felt that the time was right to make a new professional change.”

He noted that Jefferson is closer than Roxbury to his home in Sparta, but added “that’s just a fringe benefit.” Tierney noted Jefferson is similar in size to Roxbury and is “comparable across the board.”

Jefferson School Board President H. Ronald Smith said Tierney will be paid $167,500, the same salary he earned in Roxbury. His contract in Roxbury runs through June, 30, 2017. In the contract, Tierney is required to give the board “no less than 120 days notice of his intention to resign” or face forfeiture of any payment or benefits owed” under the contract.

Smith said Tierney will not be leaving immediately. Kraemer is retiring at the end of the month. Assistant Jefferson Schools Superintendent Jeanne Howe will serve as interim superintendent until Tierney is released by the Roxbury board. “They can hold him for a while,” said Smith. “They will tell him how long.”

D’Agostino said she does not expect the board will force Tierney to stay in Roxbury any longer than necessary. Although she was surprised to hear about Tierney’s move, D’Agostino was gracious.

“We have been very happy with the work he’s done in Roxbury,” she said. “I think he’s been a positive influence for our district and I sincerely wish him all the best in Jefferson. Jefferon’s getting a good guy.”

In his farewell comments to the Jefferson school board, Kraemer said Tierney should love his new job. "To my successor, well he's getting a real creampuff," said Kraemer. "This is what superintendents dream to have. This is a phenomenal town to work in. It's been nothing but a priviledge and pleasure for me."