SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district has announced the hiring of former Holmdel Township Superintendent Dr. Robert McGarry as SPFK12's new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology.

SPFK12 Superintendent Dr. Joan Mast has essentially replaced herself with this hire; Dr. McGarry is taking over the job that Dr. Mast held before she took over as superintendent. The role was filled on an interim basis this year by Regina Botsford.

Why would someone leave the top job in one highly ranked school district to become an assistant in another?

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"They are two different jobs, and I know," said Dr. Mast in an exclusive interview with TAPintoSPF. "Curricular is his passion. After having had many conversations with Robert and with multiple groups, including teachers and administrators, I'm convinced the work he wants to do is curriculum-related."

Dr. Mast said that Dr. McGarry's accomplishments in Holmdel were both innovative and collaborative.

"He looked at the use of time at the middle school and pulled the stakeholders together to see how time could be used differently. He found new types of electives for kids and came up with programs to keep top students the Holmdel district, rather than having them leave for the magnet or private schools," said Dr. Mast, who also was impressed with his expertise in social media.

According to a press release issued by the Holmdel school district, during his six-year tenure, Dr. McGarry actively participated in a number of educational initiatives that led to smaller class sizes; enhanced technology capabilities; additional artistic, academic and athletic programs; the opening of a new all-day kindergarten program; and a growing focus on mental well-being and physical safety for students and staff. Under his watch, the Holmdel Township School District received many honors, including certification as a Future Ready District and a High-Performing District by the New Jersey Department of Education.

"We appreciate Dr. McGarry’s willingness to remain in the district as we plan for the next school year under the shadow of the COVID pandemic and its aftermath," said Victoria Flynn, Holmdel Board of Education President. 

Dr. McGarry takes over as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology for SPFK12 on August 28, 2020.

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