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Ocean City Down to Five Finalists for New Schools Superintendent

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The audience listens to school board members during the meeting Thursday.

By MADDY VITALE

The Ocean City School District has narrowed down the schools superintendent search to five finalists.

During a Board of Education meeting Thursday night, school board President Kevin Barnes gave a status report on the results of the search thus far that the search committee, which is made up of five board members, has undertaken since the beginning of last month.

“We received about 52 applications. Of those applications, the committee went through a weeding out process to see what individuals met our needs. We sent out written prompts to 15 applicants,” Barnes said of seeking written answers to questions from the 15 candidates. “We reviewed their submissions, and we ultimately went forward and interviewed five candidates so far.”

The district accepted applications for superintendent through Jan. 29.

Interim Schools Superintendent Terrence Crowley is guiding the nearly 2,000-student district in the search. Crowley was sick with a cold and did not attend Thursday’s meeting. He told the board at the Jan. 25 meeting that it would be ideal to have a new superintendent selected by March and approved at the March 14 school board meeting.

Board of Education President Kevin Barnes, at right, gives an update on the superintendent search.

In addition, Crowley said during the January meeting that the district should have the superintendent begin work in June instead of July 1, the typical start date. By having the superintendent start in June, all of the school employees and students would still be around before summer break to meet the new leader of the district.

Barnes addressed Crowley’s goal of hiring someone by the March 14 school board meeting. He said that he believes it is a good goal and certainly possible if the search continues to go at the rate it is going.

“It’s going well. It does look like a very aggressive timeline. That’s by design. We have a lot of competition out there. I really want to be decisive on this,” Barnes said. “We really need a full-time superintendent. I know Mr. Crowley set a timeline of the March meeting. We probably could hit that date where we will have somebody in place.”

Barnes, along with fellow board members Michael Allegretto, Jacqueline McAlister, Fran Newman and Vice President Chris Halliday, are on the superintendent search committee.

It is the job of the search committee to do the initial paring down and selection of the most qualified candidates for the position. The full board will then do the interviews and make the final decision.

Helen Laverty, center, is recognized for 25 years of service to the district. She is shown with High School Principal Dr. Wendy O’Neal and School Board President Kevin Barnes. (Photo courtesy of Ocean City School District)

This is the third superintendent search in about three years.

The district has not had a long-term leader since former Superintendent Kathleen Taylor retired in August 2021 after 15 years of service. Interim Superintendent Tom Baruffi filled the void until the district hired Matthew Friedman as superintendent in June 2022.

Friedman resigned at the end of March to become superintendent of the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pa. Retired longtime educator Dr. Scott McCartney, of Egg Harbor Township, stepped in and served from June through Dec. 31.

Crowley stepped in to replace McCartney and is serving as interim superintendent until the new full-time superintendent is hired.

In addition to the discussion about the superintendent search, there were presentations for two longtime faculty members who are retiring.

Athletic Department Secretary Helen Laverty was honored for 25 years of service with the district, and Director of Facilities Henry Rodrique was recognized for his eight years of service to the district. They both officially retire next month.

Each month, Students of the Month are recognized from all three schools.

Primary School Principal Dr. Cathy Smith announced the students who were honored in the Primary School and the reasons why they were standouts.

Primary School Principal Dr. Cathy Smith with School Board President Kevin Barnes and the students of the month. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean City School District)

Intermediate School Principal Mike Mattina read the names of the students and why they were chosen as Students of the month.

And High School Principal Dr. Wendy O’Neal read the names and reasons why students were chosen as standouts for the month in the high school. In addition, she read the names of students who achieved academic excellence.

Each student received a certificate and had their photos taken with other winners of the monthly selection and school officials.

For additional information, visit oceancityschools.org.

Intermediate School Principal Mike Mattina with School Board President Kevin Barnes and the students of the month. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean City School District)
Henry Rodrique, center, shown with school officials, receives a ceremonial piece of the high school gym floor in recognition of his service. (Photo courtesy of the Ocean City School District)

 

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