Education

Dr. Noreen Lishak, South Plainfield's New Superintendent

1e08b422902500cdaeab_f2969064f9c86e8ff1b1_Dr._Lishak.jpg
Dr. Noreen Lishak Credits: Victoria Caruso
1e08b422902500cdaeab_f2969064f9c86e8ff1b1_Dr._Lishak.jpg

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – It’s been a little over six weeks since Dr. Noreen Lishak officially took over the role of superintendent of South Plainfield Schools and, in that short time, the district’s new head administrator has been busy meeting with building administrators, district academic supervisors, analyzing curriculum, and evaluating facilities. Dr. Lishak recently sat down with TAPinto South Plainfield to discuss the challenges ahead, her immediate and future goals, and what she’s most looking forward to as the 2016-2017 school year quickly approaches.

“There are quite a few issues that we need to address. This is a long journey and not everything is going to be done immediately but, as we move forward, we have a strong team and with the support of the board and the public, we feel we will be able to accomplish our goals,” Dr. Lishak said.

Since taking on the role of superintendent on July 1, Dr. Lishak said she’s spent a great deal of time meeting with district supervisors and building administrators along with members of the teacher’s association. She has also implemented a team that includes Assistant Superintendent Mary Flora Malyska and Interim Board Secretary/Business Administrator James Damato; worked to relocate the district’s preschool program; and reinstated the foreign language program within the elementary schools.

Sign Up for E-News

In terms of academics, Dr. Lishak and Malyska have been reviewing not only South Plainfield’s curriculum and course offerings, but also the district’s instructional practices within the curriculum department, the various assessments, lesson plan program, and the best practices of teaching and instruction.

“The overall goal, is to be able to provide South Plainfield teachers ‘with the tools they need to make our students successful,” Dr. Lishak said, adding that she would like to work on developing partnerships with colleges and other career-related routes as well as look into offering students the opportunity of a full year world language program at the middle school.

“We want to ensure students are presented with every opportunity they need to succeed and, to do so, we need to take a look at what we are offering our students, ensuring we are meeting and exceeding the standards.  It is our responsibility to prepare our students for success in college or their chosen career path.” Dr. Lishak said. “Our students know what they want and where they want to be. We just need to find a way to get them there.”

Additionally, over the next few months, Dr. Lishak will be re-evaluating the district’s preschool program to determine if it is viable, sustainable and whether or not it should continue. According to the superintendent, no further tuition increases will be implemented during the 2016-2017 school year and all decisions regarding the future of the program will be rendered by December so that parents have ample time to make arrangements.

Together, Dr. Lishak and Damato have also been spending a great deal of time evaluating the district’s seven buildings and sports facilities, as well as meeting with principals to determine what areas need immediate attention. “Some facilities throughout the district really need some TLC. Our buildings, some of our infrastructure and sports complexes, have, overtime deteriorated,” Dr. Lishak said.

Future Stars, according to the superintendent, was a prime example of this problem. “Even before I accepted this position I heard a lot about the preschool program but whatever was happening last year, the complaints, had very little to do with the program and more to do with the facilities themselves,” Dr. Lishak said. “Moving the program into the elementary buildings so that the students are part of the school community made the most sense.”

With the district’s annual budget required to be within the set cap of 2 percent, funds for major improvement projects ­– new windows, blacktop/parking lots, and air conditioning in the middle school – not to mention academic and athletic enhancements such as increased technology, AP courses, a turf field, and more, the funds just aren’t there. Increased enrollment is an issue the district could be facing over the next number of years and funding to provide the support for increased enrollment would also have an impact on our increased budget.

“Capital improvement money built into the budget each year doesn't cover everything that needs to be addressed and constraints within a budget that is based on a 2-percent cap each year makes it impossible to fund some of the things necessary,” she said. “Even if all things remain the same, addressing the unavoidable increases such as the cost of rising health benefits or salaries the 2-percent cap each year is maximized.”

To pay for necessary infrastructure projects, implement new academic programs and enhance district athletic facilities, the South Plainfield School District will be putting a bond up for a public referendum in the spring. Informal informational meetings to discuss possible referendum items were held August 3 and August 10 with a third meeting taking place August 31. The finalized proposed referendum, including information on the cost of each included project, will be presented to the public and voted on by the board of education at a September 7 public meeting. If approved by the board, the referendum would then be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Education with a public vote scheduled for March 2017.

“There are needs that we have in this district that the budget, unfortunately, cannot sustain and there are programs we would really like to implement but the funds just aren’t there. We need to look toward the future and see what we can do and we have to reach out to the public and ask for their help,” said Dr. Lishak, noting that all ideas presented at the public meetings are being taken into consideration but only those items that are feasible will be included in the referendum.

“Our goal is for the referendum to encompass as much of what the community wants as possible in a large number of areas - facilities, academics, athletics, and more.”

Appointed by the board of education in May, Dr. Lishak is the district’s first permanent superintendent in over two years. In addition to stability, she brings to South Plainfield over 19 years of educational experience.

After a number of years in the business field, Dr. Lishak switched gears and proceeded to earn a bachelor’s in elementary education from Kean University. She secured her first job with the Elizabeth Public School District in 1997, teaching first and fifth grades.

“I truly feel that when you are working with a child and something clicks and they get it, the delight in their face and the happiness, makes you really feel like you accomplished something at the end of the day,” said Dr. Lishak.

Dr. Lishak went on to earn a master’s in educational leadership from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She worked in Warren County for the Great Meadows Regional School District, as director of curriculum and special services before joining the Township of Union Public School District, serving as director of secondary curriculum and testing and later as the assistant superintendent of schools. During that time, she also earned her doctorate in administrative leadership from Walden University.  

With the first day of school just around the corner, Dr. Lishak said she looking forward to going into the building, meeting with the teachers and, most of all, the students.

“I can’t wait to visit each elementary school. I love to hear what the kids have to tell me and I love to answer their questions,” she said.

As South Plainfield’s new superintendent, Dr. Lishak said she brings not just experience and stability but also a new prospective to the district and a respect for the community. “I enjoy the closeness of the community as a whole and I really care about the students here, their education, the programs and making things the best they can be,” she said. “I truly intend on having true, open communication and collaboration with teachers, parents, administrators.”

Dr. Lishak added, “This is our district. It is not my district. Everything I do moving forward is to benefit the students and the district as a whole.”

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield

The Athlete of the Week Joe Sacco Wrestling

The South Plainfield Wrestling Team finished their dual meet season with a deceiving 20-7 record.  This past week saw the Tigers defeat Ewing (69-4), Bordentown Regional (49-9), and Ocean Township (54-6) to win the Central Jersey Group III Sectional Championship.  This advanced South Plainfield to the Group III State Championships yet again.  The wrestling team defeated Voorhees ...

The Athlete of the Week: Alyzah Ziga Co-ed Swimming

This past week South Plainfield’s Co-ed Swim Team finished their season.  The team was competitive in most meets, many times competing against bigger schools.  Junior Alyzah Ziga was an integral part of the Tiger’s Swim Team.

On Friday 2/2, Alyzah scored a total of 8 points against Linden with a 1st place in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:29.55 and in 1st ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield - Mary E. Ridilla, 96,  passed away on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor from Mayor's Wellness Committee

February 19, 2018

Letter to the Editor:

The South Plainfield Mayor's Wellness Committee and South Plainfield High School Student Council Advisor Tony Encinas hosted the 11th annual Blood Drive at the South Plainfield High School on February 6, 2018 from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm in the South Plainfield High School Auditorium.  All students age 16 years old were able to donate life saving blood with signed ...

South Plainfield Residents  Named to Fall 2017 Dean's List at Seton Hall University

February 13, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- Seton Hall University is pleased to announce the following students who qualified for Fall 2017 Dean's list and to congratulate them for their outstanding academic achievements:

Brooke Barry, Lindsay Celentano, Cj Dudek, Kaitlyn Faustini, Christopher McNeil,  Meagan Praul,  

Kyle Russell, Matthew Taco Bravo and Tomasz ...

Community Happenings

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

February 7, 2018

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Friday, February 9, 2016 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per person includes:  ...

Volleyball Fundraiser for the Eggert Family on March 11, 2018

February 18, 2018

WHAT:

Two divisions, Co-Ed High School and Co-Ed adult

Guaranteed two games per team

Double Elimination

8 people per team

 

COST:

High School teams = $50 per team

Adult Teams = $100 per team

12 Teams Max for each division

Please mail checks to 1107 Worth Drive, South Plainfield NJ 07080

High school - please submit your teams and payment to Justin ...

Holy Savior Academy hosts appreciation luncheon for Deanery Pastors

February 16, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The students and Board of Limited Jurisdiction of Holy Savior Academy (HSA), South Plainfield hosted a special luncheon to honor and celebrate the Pastors of twelve local Catholic churches that sponsor the school.  

The event was held at HSA on Tuesday February 13 and included a festive lunch featuring a home-cooked meal prepared by members of ...

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4b13d74a66d28696835d_sp_cultural_arts

Tue, February 20, 7:30 PM

South Plainfield

SPCAC Meeting

Carousel_image_2016772e51de2589b65e_lenten_dinners

Fri, February 23, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

The Sacred Heart Lenten Fish Dinners

Carousel_image_160974dbc9379a0238f6_meet_the_mayor

Sat, February 24, 8:00 AM

South Plainfield

Meet the Mayor at the Senior Center

Carousel_image_01278d9d6764037b0a59_children_s_march_flyer-page-001

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

The Children’s March being shown at the South ...

Carousel_image_4d7f13f1bac1e8a84adb_races_flyer_4-page-001

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

South Plainfield

Night at the Races - Tricky Tray

Carousel_image_5a8b641c938a30a61d34_img_2324

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

South Plainfield

Open House 171 New York Avenue South Plainfield

Real Estate

Columns

Diegnan Bill Allowing Municipalities To Authorize Parking Authorities As Redevelopment Entity Now Law

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick Diegnan to allow municipalities to authorize a parking authority as a redevelopment entity is now law.

“We know that smart redevelopment can help to revitalize areas within a town or city, but we have to make sure that municipalities have the flexibility to undertake projects in the most effective way,” said ...

South Plainfield: A Heart for Giving

South Plainfield received over two inches of rain this past weekend. Fortunately, Mother Nature has cooperated, and the precipitation was not of the frozen variety. Despite the rain, nothing could put a damper on South Plainfield’s spirit of helping those in need.

On Saturday a few Borough employees and I had the opportunity to deliver funds that have been raised for a family that has ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Bookmarks

Tax forms are here!  The IRS has sent us printed copies of some of the most commonly used forms and instruction books.  We will continue putting them out as long as our supply lasts.  If you need other forms, we have them available for copying or you can print them out from IRS.gov.  Look on our website for more tax-related links.

The library will be closed on Sunday, ...

Knights Of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest

All young people ages 8 through 14 are invited to participate in the 2018 Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest sponsored by the South Plainfield Knights of Columbus Council #6203.  Students that attend any schools in South Plainfield are welcomed to participate.  Students are encouraged to develop an original poster and slogan idea designed to discourage their ...

Press Releases

New Brunswick/Middlesex County Reentry Site Opens

February 14, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - The New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC), a nonprofit agency serving court-involved individuals, is pleased to announce the grand opening a new reentry site in Middlesex County on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 at 11 a.m. The office is located at 57 Livingston Avenue, Unit 3, New Brunswick, N.J. 08901. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will offer remarks and cut ...