At a special meeting on Feb. 10, the board approved a resolution appointing current Tabernacle Township Schools Superintendent George Rafferty to lead Mt. laurel Schools.
Rafferty will join the district later this year on or before July 1 with a four-year contract and a starting salary of $162,500.
An official start date has yet to be determined as Rafferty has a 90-day resignation notification clause in his contract with the Tabernacle school district, which was set to last through June 30, 2018.
Sharon Vitella, who was appointed as Mt. Laurel’s interim superintendent after the resignation of former superintendent Antoinette Rath last summer, will continue to serve as interim superintendent while Rafferty fulfills his separation obligations.
Rafferty, who was attendance for the special meeting, said the interview process was rigorous and comprehensive and allowed him to see how much the board truly cared about its schools and community.
“I’m very honored and I’m very grateful and overwhelmingly pleased and happy to be your candidate, and I can’t wait to start working with you,” Rafferty said. “You have so many strengths and so many wonderful things about your schools that I just can’t wait to be a part of that.”
Rafferty is a graduate of Hahnemann University and Holy Family College with a degree in special education. He also holds a master’s degree in school psychology, an education specialist’s degree from Rowan University and a certificate of advanced study in administration.
His teaching career first began in 1990 as a special education teacher in Pennsauken Schools. He then served as a school counselor in Gloucester Township before returning to Pennsauken as a school psychologist, and then later moving on as the supervisor of specials in Somers Point.
Rafferty then served as the director of special education in Haddon Heights schools for the three years prior to his appointment as Tabernacle superintendent, a position he held for nearly five years.
At the special Feb. 10 meeting, Rafferty thanked members of his family who were also in attendance, including his grandchildren, who he said want him to be a better person when he wakes up in the mornings — a lesson he said he believes can be imparted to all children, including those in Mt. Laurel Schools.
“By living through example and being a good model for them, we can instill the kind of values we want to see them acquire for themselves — to know that if you work hard, you do your homework, you listen to your teachers and you put a lot of effort into things, you can be successful and you can accomplish your goals,” Rafferty said.
As someone who was already part of the Lenape Regional sending district, Rafferty said he was familiar with the Mt. Laurel district, and it was the only district he applied to at the time.
Rafferty said he is pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Wilmington University, and hoped his new position in Mt. Laurel would allow him make a more substantial impact in education.
“I’m so honored to be able to come on board, and I’m filled with optimism and hope and positive attitude in terms of what we’re going to be able to do here together, and they’ve already done so many great things and they continue to do good work, and like I said I’m grateful to become part of that,” Rafferty said.