SUMMIT, NJ - Doreen Babis has been chosen to fill the Director of Special Education Services role for the Summit Public Schools, with Summit Superintendent of Schools June Chang announcing that he will be recommending Babis to the Hilltop City's Board of Education for approval at its June 14 meeting. Babis will fill the position vacated by the pending retirement of Jane Kachmar-Desonne, who has been with the Summit School District for more than a decade.
In her role as Director of Special Education Services, Babis will be responsible for Special Education programs, Child Study Team services, Nursing, Home Instruction, and will be the district Homeless Liaison. She will continue to build upon the range of services that are provided to students with special needs in Summit.
“I am impressed with her hands-on approach. Ms. Babis has a history of being a collaborative, supportive, and student-centered leader who will continue moving our Special Education Services program forward,” said Chang.
Babis began her career in education as a Special Education and Language Arts Teacher at the middle school level at the Clark Public School District, where she was awarded 'Teacher of the Month' and 'Teacher of the Year' for her school. In 2014, Babis became the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT-C) where she was involved in pre-referral interventions, provided training to classroom teachers, and was part of the Child Study Team. Following that, she became a Supervisor of Special Services, and subsequently, the Director of Student Support Services. In these roles she supervised K-12 special education staff, nurses, and school counselors, and was the Affirmative Action Officer and Homeless Liaison for the district.
Babis worked to open a Learning or Language Disabilities (LLD) program where students focused on daily living skills in addition to academics. She also spearheaded a Transition program for 18-21 year olds, allowing them to receive job coaching and other positive experiences to aid in their independent living.
According to the Summit Public Schools, Babis is "a staunch believer that special education students deserve to have as many opportunities as their peers" and, as such, she helped create a Unified Sports Team -- sponsored by the Special Olympics -- where general education and special education students could participate in their shared love of sports.
Just over a month ago, Chang and District Human Resources Director Matt Block held a community meeting regarding the status of the hiring process, soliciting input from parents and other stakeholders. While the meeting was respectful, many of the approximately 30 or so attendees expressed anger and frustration with the current state of the District's special education services department and how it has been been run.
Also at that meeting, Block noted that one of the goals of the gathering was to create a blueprint that the candidate could use when the job commences by taking into consideration many of the wants and needs of District parents.