Board of Education names new leader

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Haddonfield Sun

After several months of searching, the Haddonfield Board of Education unanimously voted to hire Richard P. Perry — a Haddonfield resident and superintendent in Palmyra — as the district’s new superintendent.

Perry comes to Haddonfield School District with 27 years of experience in education, most recently as superintendent of the Palmyra School District. Before becoming superintendent, he served as principal of that district’s high school and began his career as a science teacher. He earned his doctorate degree in educational administration from Temple University in 2001. Perry graduated from neighboring Haddon Heights High School.

Board of Education president Steve Weinstein applauded the decision to hire Perry.

“We are very excited that we have found someone who will continue the strong leadership that this district expects,” he said. “What made Dr. Perry such a strong candidate was his extensive experience and acknowledged success as an educational leader with a solid background in the classroom.”

The superintendent’s new employment contract runs through June 30, 2014. Perry’s annual salary will be $153,000. The salary is below the new maximum administrative pay level for a district Haddonfield’s size as set forth last week by Gov. Christie.

Perry will replace Alan Fegley, who announced his resignation in early May after serving in Haddonfield for the past 18 years. Fegley said he will be taking the superintendent position with the Phoenixville School District.

The entire Board of Education interviewed a number of current superintendents before selecting Perry. After completing the process, the decision to appoint Perry was unanimous.

Since he must give notice to the Palmyra Board of Education, Perry is not expected to assume his Haddonfield responsibilities until about Oct. 1. However, Perry will be in the district regularly before his official start to meet parents and staff at each Haddonfield school during August and September.

“For me, in a way, I am coming back home,” Perry said.

“I am very honored that the board has put their faith in me and I am looking very much forward to working with the board, parents, teachers, administrators, students and community.”

Vice President Michael Joseph Mercanti-Anthony said Perry’s experiences in Palmyra will help him adapt to the Haddonfield educational climate.

“I’m very enthusiastic about Dr. Perry’s appointment. In interviewing a number of experienced candidates, we felt Dr. Perry had both the educational knowledge and commitment to continue Dr. Fegley’s work in moving the district forward,” he said. “The school budget climate is not going to get easier and Haddonfield really needed someone who could think creatively and explore other ways of identifying revenue to preserve and strengthen our core academic program.

“Dr. Perry pursued that kind of entrepreneurial spirit in Palmyra and will do the same here in Haddonfield.”