SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Thomas Ficarra, Interim Superintendent of the South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD), sent a letter via email on Saturday to the school community outlining administrative changes for the upcoming school year, which will become effective on Monday, July 2.

The letter outlined several administration position changes including Elizabeth Aaron, the current principal of Columbia High School, joining the Central Office Team as a Principal on Special Assignment, working on "district-wide initiatives," according to the letter from Ficarra.

Bonita Samuels, who previously was the principal at Marshall Elementary School, will become the Principal of Montrose Early Childhood Center.

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The full letter is below:

Dear SOMSD Families,

I am writing to announce some important changes in SOMSD administrative positions.  We believe these changes will strengthen our efforts to improve SOMSD’s operations, foster student-centered learning, and enhance student engagement as a means to increase student achievement while ensuring equitable access to all that SOMSD has to offer.

Elizabeth Aaron – Ms. Aaron will join the Central Office Team as a Principal on Special Assignment to work on district-wide initiatives.  Ms. Aaron’s tremendous talents, her strong commitment to the community, and her deep understanding of the many facets of the district will be invaluable as we transition to new leadership.

Dr. Kalisha Morgan – Dr. Morgan will serve as Interim Principal of Columbia High School.  Prior to joining SOMSD, Dr. Morgan was co-Principal at Orange High School, and has worked closely with CHS staff in her current role of Director of Planning and Assessment.

Renee Joyce – Ms. Joyce will take over the vacant Supervisor of Special Services position at Central Office, and use her many years of experience with various components of SOMSD’s special education programs to help the new Interim Executive Director strengthen systems for this important department.

Bonita Samuels – Ms. Samuels will be the new Principal of Montrose Early Childhood Center, using her early childhood education and special education experience to build on the strong foundation laid by Ms. Joyce and her outstanding preschool staff.

These changes will be effective Monday July 2, 2018, to give these educational leaders time to prepare for the 2018-2019 school year.

Please join me in welcoming these administrators to their new roles.


Dr. Thomas Ficarra
Interim Superintendent

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