By MATTHEW SOCKOL
The South Brunswick School District has ended its search for a new superintendent, while Board of Education members in the Millstone Township K-8 District will begin a search of their own.
Millstone Superintendent of Schools Scott Feder will become South Brunswick’s superintendent on July 1. He was hired by the South Brunswick Board of Education on March 6 and will succeed Gary McCartney, who has served as the district’s interim superintendent since last year.
Feder was named Millstone’s superintendent in 2011 and became a resident of the township that same year. He announced his impending departure from the district in a letter dated March 6.
“Leaving Millstone was not an easy decision,” Feder wrote. “There are so many pros for staying and continuing the work in Millstone as it is by far the nicest place [my family and I] have lived and still plan to live, with caring families and an exceptional district faculty.
“Ultimately, this decision was not ever about leaving Millstone. It was more about taking on a new challenge in my career. South Brunswick has 13 schools, 9,000 students and the sixth largest high school in the state,” Feder wrote.
Feder’s career in education began in South Brunswick, which he noted in his letter. At a South Brunswick board meeting on March 6, Feder said he spent six years in the district and worked at the Indian Fields Elementary School, the Monmouth Junction Elementary School and the former Upper Elementary School (now Crossroads North Middle School).
“[South Brunswick] is a place where I began my career and held my first administrative position, and a place for which I have always held the fondest of memories,” Feder wrote. “Leaving [Millstone] is not easy, but I am excited to begin the next chapter in my professional career.”
Prior to becoming Millstone’s superintendent, Feder served as the superintendent of schools for the Rumson School District.
In Millstone, Feder received an annual salary of $155,000. According to a resolution read by South Brunswick school board President Harry Delgado, Feder will receive an annual salary of $177,000 in South Brunswick.
“Scott is an experienced superintendent [and] is highly regarded for his knowledge of teaching and learning,” Delgado said. “He is a man with demonstrated integrity. His commitment to his current district is 24/7 and he pledges as much for South Brunswick.
“The [South Brunswick] search committee found him to be bright, articulate and gracious. In addition, he has a proven track record as an advocate for all that is good about public education. We believe he is exactly the leader we want to lead our schools,” Delgado said.
In a statement provided by Millstone board President Sal Casale and Vice President Melissa Riviello, the board expressed appreciation for Feder’s work in the district.
“In his tenure, he has done an amazing job leading the district in a complete change-about, culturally, academically and financially.
“The Millstone school district turnaround has been quintessential, as six years ago, our district was in a pretty dark place. He has continually raised the bar academically while keeping the district’s operating budget flat for five consecutive years.
“It is hard to see such a hardworking and ethical individual move on, but in many ways we are not surprised. Mr. Feder is a visionary in his field and we knew that one day he would be on to bigger professional opportunities.
“Running the South Brunswick School District, which has the sixth largest high school in the state, will be a challenge at first, but something Mr. Feder will certainly adjust to and succeed.
“We wish Mr. Feder all the best as he moves to the next phase of his career. We will miss him as our visionary, but it is nice to know the Feder family will continue to reside in Millstone,” the board members said.
The new superintendent search was necessary because former South Brunswick Superintendent Jerry Jellig officially resigned at a school board meeting on May 23, 2016.
The South Brunswick Education Association had lodged grievances against Jellig since November of 2014 — just five months after he joined the district — including intimidation in the work place, loss of contractual time, questionable hiring practices and inappropriate administrative conduct, according to association President John Lolli.
Although Director of Human Resources Richard Chromey had been voted interim superintendent on May 9 — the same night Jellig was put on a leave of absence — the school board unanimously approved the appointment of McCartney on May 23 as interim superintendent for the period May 24, 2016, through May 23, 2017. McCartney served as South Brunswick’s superintendent from 2004-14.
There were 37 applications received after survey results were used to create the advertisement for the position, according to McCartney. Nine applicants went through first-round interviews. Feder was eventually selected for the position.
In additional staff changes in the South Brunswick School District, April Gonzalez, the assistant principal for Academic Leadership at South Brunswick High School, was named principal of Indian Fields/Dayton Elementary School.
As a result of this appointment, Jaymee Boehmer, assistant principal for the Class of 2019, will now be the assistant principal for Academic Leadership, Principal Peter Varela announced.
Due to Boehmer’s new role, Emanuel Caravano will become the assistant principal for the Class of 2019. Caravano has been an administrator in the South Brunswick School District for almost five years and has been appointed to the high school, Varela said.
- Jennifer Amato contributed to this story.