Jeffrey Rutzky to be Named New Superintendent of West Orange Public Schools

April 23, 2014 at 10:31 AM

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Board of Education has announced that Jeffrey Rutzky will be appointed as the new superintendent of the West Orange Public Schools on April 28 at the Board of Education meeting in the Library Media Center at West Orange High School, 51 Conforti Ave., beginning at 8 p.m. Rutzky will officially begin as Superintendent on July 1.

The announcement came today from Board of Education President Sandra Mordecai and Interim Superintendent James O'Neill, after the district received approval for the four-year contract from the Essex County School Superintendent.

Rutzky is currently the Superintendent/Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Roseland School District, comprised of grades K-6 at the Lester Noecker School. He assists with Curriculum and Development at the regional middle and high schools in Essex Fells. His previous experience includes middle school principal in the Parsippany Troy Hills School District, elementary principal in the Ridgefield School District and assistant high school principal in the Teaneck School District. 

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Said O'Neill, "The Board generously invited me to sit in on the interviews and participate as they reached a decision. I am glad to say that I believe the Board absolutely selected the best candidate from the impressive pool of applicants".

He continued, "Mr. Rutzky demonstrated a deep understanding of all the issues that are critical to the long-term success of the district.  I have every expectation he will quickly establish himself as a dedicated and knowledgeable educational leader who will enjoy positive relationships with students, staff and parents".

Mordecai said, "Included in Mr. Rutzky's many strengths is the positive impact he has made on NJASK test scores in the districts he has served as well as his understanding of the strong relationship between parent involvement as it correlates to student success".

The board decided to utilize the services of the New Jersey School Board Association in the Superintendent search. The search began in December 2013, when the New Jersey School Board Association conducted community forums where community members, parents, staff, and the Administration of all West Orange Public Schools provided input about what they wanted in a new superintendent. 

After the surveys were compiled, the NJSBA and the board developed the search criteria and the job announcement was posted in December 2013. At the conclusion of the forums and with the completed surveys, the responses were compiled and given to the Board. The Board reviewed the results and together with the NJSBA designed the search criteria.

The advertisement for Superintendent was posted in December as scheduled. After the close of the advertisement in January, 39 requests for applications for the Superintendent's position were received. Twenty-nine candidates completed the applications; 10 applicants did not. The Board reviewed the remaining 29 applications and found that 16 met the Board criteria. Thirteen of those had been Superintendents at some time in their career and three had served as Interim or Acting Superintendents. The Board conducted first and second rounds of interviews of the top candidates in March and proceeded to check all references.

The board met in closed session at the April 7 meeting and selected Rutzky as their final candidate. Rutzky was apprised and the board began contract negotiations with Rutzky and his counsel. The new superintendent’s salary is now standardized and includes several statutory restrictions.

Superintendent's contracts are standardized and have many statutory restrictions including a salary cap in accordance with the size of the school district which encompasses student enrollment numbers and whether or not the district includes a high school. After revising and finalizing the contract, it was submitted to the Essex County School Superintendent for approval.

O'Neill also noted, "We will find a time after school in the next week or 10 days for all staff to stop by and meet Mr. Rutzky".

The district will hold a community meeting to formally introduce Rutzky as the new superintendent of schools and will notify the community once a date has been set.


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