District World Language Supervisor Approved, Introduced
Board talks personnel, promoting from within, and training for new tenure system
Josephine Serrano, a Spanish teacher at Chatham High School, was enthusiastically approved as the district’s new World Language and ESL Supervisor at Monday’s School Board Meeting. Serrano will fill the vacancy created by Jill Gihorski, the former supervisor currently transitioning to her new role of Chatham Middle School Principal.
Serrano sat in the audience as her approval was announced.
“On the agenda tonight, the appointment of a World Language and ESL Supervisor Josephine Serrano,” Superintendent Michael LaSusa said. “This is our final administrative appointment that came in the wake of Jill Gihorski’s taking on the role of principal of Chatham Middle School.
"We’re very excited to have Josephine join us, and that essentially completes our staffing needs from the standpoint of teaching and supervisory administrative positions."
Board member Richard Connors said the personnel committee made the decision to move Serrano into the position after an extensive search, and the committee gives her a wholehearted endorsement.
“There’s no question in the entire committee’s mind that she is absolutely the right person for this position. Her enthusiasm for the job was clear, and her insight and desire to move the program forward. The world language course in Chatham is going to be in good hands,” he said.
Connors asked Serrano to say a few words. She stood up from her seat.
“I’m very happy to take on this role, and very excited about it, and I thank you very much for your kind words, Mr. Connors,” she said. “I look forward to working with the board and continue to keep Chatham right up there with premiere educational districts.”
Chatham readying for New Tenure System
LaSusa spoke to the board about New Jersey's new tenure system just signed into law by the “TEACH NJ Act.”
“Since our last board meeting, Gov. Christie signed into law the TEACH NJ Act, which is an overhaul, essentially, of the tenure system and the teacher evaluation system in the state of New Jersey,” he said.
LaSusa said it requires that every school district adopt a teacher evaluation framework with four levels of performance. If a teacher receives consecutive ratings at the two lowest levels—“ineffective” and “partially effective”—the superintendent must file tenure charges, which will go to an arbitrator.
LaSusa said decisions will be rendered on a timelier basis with this new system than with the old system, and will focus on whether or not all procedural aspects of the process were in place, rather than the facts in the case.
LaSusa said the district completed training the administrators on Monday.
“We got our hands on 49 pages of approved regulations last week and we’ve been trying to make our way through that,” he said. “We had our entire administrative team trained today in the Danielson Framework, which is the model that we use here in Chatham for our teaching staff.
“Throughout the course of this year, we’re going to have to comply with a number of the deadlines of the act, LaSusa said. "Full implementation is required in the 2013-2014 school year.”
Teachers employed in the district prior to this year will receive tenure in three years. Teachers who begin employment in the 2012-2013 year will wait four years.
Item's Meaning Clarified
The printed agenda distributed at Monday's meeting contained an action item that required some clarification in order to avoid confusion. Human Resources Director Debra Becker explained that No. 15, titled "Abolish - Positions," is not what it seems. It is simply record keeping and cleanup of control numbers related to the volume of what is processed in the human resources department. It has no implications on current hiring, Becker said.
"I didn't want anyone to be alarmed that these are eliminated positions from the district," Becker said. "We are required to assign position control numbers to all staff positions. If we have eliminated positions, those numbers need to be formally abolished. For some positions, we're able to recycle numbers. It just helps keep everything clean.