Somerville Educator Honored as NJ School Business Administrator of the Year

NJASBO School Business Administrator of the Year Derek J. Jess, right, is congratulated on stage at the annual conference by Louis Pepe, NJASBO president. Credits: Courtesy NJASBO


SOMERVILLE, NJ - Borough resident Derek Jess, Business Administrator and Board Secretary of Perth Amboy Public Schools has been named School Business Administrator of the Year by the New Jersey Association of School Business Officials (NJASBO).

Jess was honored at an award ceremony at NJASBO’s Annual Conference.

As part of the award, Jess had the honor of presenting $2,000 in scholarships from NJASBO to local students: Delaney Koddenberg and Jordan Mehan of Somerville High School each received $500, and Reggie Boston of Perth Amboy High School received $1,000.

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Jess was selected as SBA of the Year from among this year’s six Distinguished Service Award winners, who were chosen from across the state. Jess has served as BA/Board Secretary for Perth Amboy Public Schools since 2003. Previously, he served in the same role for Spotswood Public Schools.

In nominating Jess for the Distinguished Service Award, Nilkanth Patel, president of Middlesex County ASBO said, “Derek is highly respected by his colleagues in Middlesex County and he continues to be a mentor to aspiring candidates for the position of the School Business Administrator. He is a wise counselor and gives good guidance when his advice is sought. Derek is dedicated to education and takes great pride in his work.”

John Nemeth, Middlesex County Executive School Business Official said, “Derek was and is a stabilizing factor ensuring that Perth Amboy continues to work towards improving instructional programs and services needed to meet student needs.”

Jess received a bachelor’s degree in finance and a Masters in Business Administration, both from Mount Saint Mary’s University. He also is a Certified Municipal Finance Officer, Qualified Purchasing Agent, and Registered School Business Administrator.

Jess is a certified NJASBO mentor and has mentored five current and aspiring BAs, currently employed in both urban and suburban districts. He also has been a moderator and presenter at the annual NJASBO spring conference, the New Jersey School Boards Association fall conference, and the annual ASBO International conference.

He serves as the chairperson for the NJASBO education committee; previously he served as a member on the committees for the conference and budget, and was the Chair for the Distinguished Service Award process.

Jess held multiple positions, including president, for Middlesex County ASBO from 1999 to 2003, currently serving as the chairperson of the scholarship committee, and was president of NJASBO from 2012 to 2013. He was a member of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners from 2007 to 2015; he currently serves as acting chairperson for the organization and is a member of the credential review committee.

He was awarded the Pinnacle Award by ASBO International in 2011, for a program he began in Perth Amboy Public Schools titled “Free Breakfast for All.”

In his spare time, Jess enjoys golfing, spending time with his family, and coaching soccer.

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