Cheryl Best, a former director of curriculum for the Franklin Lakes K-8 district, will take over the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment on Oct. 1 at an annual prorated salary of $160,000.
After a decade in the post, Regina Botsford accepted a job as the superintendent of a regional district in Southbury, Conn. in July.
Superintendent Dan Fishbein said that the district began the search for a replacement shortly afterward, and zeroed in on Best for her experience as a curriculum director in both K-8 and K-12 districts.
“She understands all the levels of education, she has a background in curriculum and instruction, and we’re looking for someone to continue the great work begun by Regina,” Fishbein said.
Best holds a master’s in public administration and an advanced certificate in school administration and supervision from City University of New York.
Her experience includes over a decade in the West Essex Regional School District in Caldwell, NJ, teaching science and coordinating curriculum and eventually becoming the district’s supervisor of mathematics, science, business and technology.
After serving as an elementary school principal in Fort Lee, Best became director of curriculum for the school district there, and until recently served in the same post for the Franklin Lakes K-8 district.
The Franklin Lakes school board opted not to renew Best’s contract in April, in a razor thin vote that stirred some controversy among community members, with petitions circulated and an outpouring of support in the administrator’s favor.
Best is already at work in advance of her official starting date, with the board’s approval of a per day $615 consulting fee for her to work in the district immediately to smooth the transition.
“She’s been in for several days and will continue to come in to meet with Regina and get up to speed,” Fishbein said.
The board also hired Ojetta Townes to be the district’s new human resources manager at a salary of $135,000, as well as approving an English supervisor for grades 6-12, one of two new administrative positions the district hopes to fill.
Dara Gronau, who has worked in the Newark school district since 2002 and holds a master’s in school learning from Monclair State University, will fill the position at a $130,000 salary. The district is also seeking a K-5 supervisor to oversee curriculum in the elementary schools.
“We brought in this position to assist in the support of teachers and the assessment of teachers,” Fishbein said.
While not the primary motive for bringing on new administrative staff, Fishbein said that the new positions will help ease the burden of new state guidelines that will require more oversight of tenured teachers and nearly double the amount of evaluations the district must perform, Fishbein said.
Fishbein has previously said that the new positions fill out an administrative staff diminished by cuts in state aid three years.