Eastern superintendent retiring

After nearly two decades with Eastern Regional, superintendent Harold Melleby is leaving the district that he believes is the best that there is

Eastern Regional Superintendent Harold Melleby Jr., pictured with his wife Cheryl and son Bill. Melleby was honored prior to the start of the board of education meeting for his retirement, effective July 31.

After nearly two decades, Superintendent Harold Melleby Jr. is retiring from the Eastern Regional High School District. The board and those in attendance at Eastern’s board of education meeting Wednesday, May 15 honored Melleby for his service as he looks to continue helping others after Eastern.

Melleby served as a principal at Eastern from 2000 to 2005 before serving as superintendent ever since. Despite an initial interest in law while in college, Melleby drifted toward teaching and a career in education due to his older brother being a teacher, his desire to coach and his enjoyment of working with young people.

Melleby originally started as a history and social studies teacher, doing so for six years with Cherry Hill Public Schools.

“I realized that you can have a tremendous impact in the classroom in the lives of young people,” Melleby said. “But I also recognized that by moving in to areas of administration that you can have a greater impact, in that you’re working with colleagues that will be teaching and you can work with curriculum development, instructional practices and more.”

After getting an itch for administration, he served as the Social Studies Department supervisor for five years,

“One of my best jobs that I had was when I was a supervisor in Cherry Hill because I was chair of the history department – it was the best of both worlds,” said Melleby. “I was in that leadership role and I was able to mentor teachers, but at the same time, I was still in the classrooms. I taught my two classes every day and then I would be able to do curriculum work and evaluate and mentor teachers.”

After leaving Cherry Hill Public Schools, Melleby went to Cinnaminson and Triton Regional High School to serve as a principal for several years before landing at Eastern in 2000, eventually becoming superintendent and retiring as the longest serving superintendent in school history.

While at Eastern, Melleby says he’s become the biggest fan of the school for a myriad of reasons.

“I tell people that I take a lot of pride in the fact that Eastern is a comprehensive high school, we have something for every student,” Melleby said. “If you’re a high-powered student, we have 27 Advanced Placement courses, if you have special needs we have great programs for special needs students.”

“In the arts, the music program and concerts and arts in themselves are fantastic, and in athletics we’re the envy of a lot of schools in a lot of ways,” added Melleby. “And plus we’re the home of the champions, it all starts with providing the services like coaching and athletic training.”

Melleby says he’s more than thankful for all the work that board of education members, faculty and staff members, students, administration and more have added to making Eastern a destination high school for some in South Jersey.

“I don’t believe in personal legacies because, in this profession, nothing can be achieved without cooperation and support,” said Melleby. “The parents in the three districts we serve all demand excellence, they moved here because of the schools. We have a great administrative team and teaching staff that have received all types of honors.”

Melleby says he is looking forward to a change and to visiting Eastern in the future. With Robert Cloutier set to take the reins as superintendent, effective Aug. 1, Melleby says the district is in great hands.

Moving on from Eastern, Melleby has two projects he’s looking forward to continuing to work with.

Melleby serves as the vice president of “Dan Melleby Foundation Inc.,” a nonprofit that is fixated on the continued improvement of the education and growth of local youth while also raising awareness about mental illness and suicide awareness in honor of his younger son, who was a teacher.

The foundation raised nearly $30,000 with more than 700 participants in a 5K fundraiser earlier this year, and Melleby is looking forward to working much more closely with his family and others through the foundation.

Additionally, Melleby currently serves as a mentor for new superintendents and will continue to do so to stay in the education world moving forward.