Education

South Brunswick BOE Picks New Superintendent, A Prodigal Son

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Newly approved schools Superintendent Scott Feder addresses the audience and Board of Education after his appointment to the post Monday night. Credits: Charles W. Kim Photo
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SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – The district’s new superintendent has come full-circle to carry on his career where he started as a teacher.

For Scott Feder, 48, becoming the superintendent in South Brunswick is “coming home.”

“South Brunswick is a special place for me,” Feder, a former teacher and administrator in the district, said.

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Feder was unanimously appointed by the Board of Education Monday night with members Azra Baig and Pat Del Piano absent from the meeting.

He will begin the position on July 1 at a salary of $177,000 per year, Board President Harry Delgado said.

As an elementary teacher with a specialty in advanced mathematics, Feder began his career in South Brunswick as one of the first teachers for then newly opened Indian Fields Elementary School in the 1990s.

Feder then became an assistant principal in Monmouth Junction and was one of the administrators involved in the change to a K-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-12 district when the new high school opened in 1997 as part of the team of the Upper Elementary School which is currently the Crossroads North Middle School.

During his time in South Brunswick, he met his wife, Jennifer, who was also teacher in the district and a graduate of SBHS.

He then went on to both the West Orange and West Windsor-Plainsboro districts for several years.

Prior to his appointment here, Feder spent the last six years heading the Millstone School District and served as superintendent in Rumson for several years before that.

He currently lives with his family in Millstone.

Feder said that he and his family had initially planned to move closer to Rumson to cut down on his commute, but plans changed after Gov. Chris Christie capped pay for superintendents meaning he would have taken a pay cut to remain in that upscale Monmouth County District.

“I loved my time in Rumson, but property values (there) are high and we had to make some family decisions,” he said. “My wife’s job was closer to (Millstone) and it became a family decision.”

As luck would have it, Feder said he was recruited for the top job in the Millstone district and went to meet that Board of Education.

“It was a great match,” he said. “I was there for six years and couldn’t have been happier. Moving to Millstone was a great move for our family and for me personally.”

Although he wasn’t looking to leave that job, he saw an opportunity and challenge coming back to the district where he started.

“I’m not leaving Millstone, I’m coming to South Brunswick,” he said. “I’m going to be in South Brunswick until I retire. This is my stopping point.”

He said that while he has been gone from the district for 20 years, he believes “the core” of the district, and its commitment to excellence, is the same.

Millstone Board of Education President Margaret Gordon came to the meeting to wish Feder well in his new challenge.

“The entire town (of Millstone) embraced him,” Gordon said as she left the meeting, wishing her departing superintendent well, but saddened that the district would lose such “an enthusiastic” and “ethical” leader. “He got out and did everything as well as a community member. He was the superintendent.”

Gordon said that Feder had an ability to “mend a lot of fences in town” in areas that traditionally had conflicts with the board.

“It was a really good and cohesive group in the community because of Mr. Feder,” she said. “He did a wonderful job.”

She said that district faced several challenges, especially regarding the budget, before he took the helm of the schools.

“He really turned us around in five years,” she said. “He always has a positive attitude and it infects the district. People embrace that.”

Feder was one of about 30 applicants for the position.

Board members as well as a public ad hoc committee spent the late fall and winter vetting the applicants, eventually weeding them down to three finalists.

The goal of the search, according to board members and Interim Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney, was to have someone in place by March or April to begin the transition for a July 1 start date, the beginning of the new school year.

Feder said he looks forward to working with Dr. McCartney on the transition and to get to know the district anew.

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