The Berlin Borough Board of Education hosted its community forum Wednesday, May 29 in a packed Berlin Community School cafeteria.
According to board President Jocelyn Lewis, the three final candidates for superintendent, as selected by the search committee comprised of teachers, board members, administrators and a secretary, were chosen while using information derived from a focus group and community survey earlier this calendar year that identified six initial candidates for the position that suited what the community desired.
From those six, four candidates moved on to the second round, which included more specific questions on their philosophy and vision with education, as well as site visits at the candidates’ current schools while interviewing parents, teachers, administrators and even custodial staff at their respective districts.
“We have tried to do our due diligence in ensuring that we select the best person,” said Lewis.
At the forum, Jason Vivadelli, Joseph Campisi and Scott Arnauer gave 10-minute presentations to those in attendance regarding their respective plans as an incoming superintendent and the different ways they would familiarize themselves with the community and the school.
After doing so, each candidate answered questions from students, parents and teachers during an approximately 15-minute Q&A session regarding multiple aspects – such as their background with developing curriculum, special education, school safety, improving student achievement scores, ELA and math program ideas and more.
At the conclusion of each candidate’s presentation, those in attendance filled out a confidential candidate feedback sheet, indicating what an individual felt a certain candidate’s strengths and weaknesses were relative to the needs of BCS, as well as their personal assessment of a candidate’s suitability for the position of superintendent, rating an individual either as extremely strong, strong, average or not a good match.
“We will take a look at the surveys, that is something we will discuss in our executive session,” said Lewis. “We will take that into consideration, because again, having the community’s support is really integral in us making a good decision. It makes it a lot easier for us if we have the support of the community in making a decision like this.”
Following the meeting, the board president said there is no timetable for when the board expects to announce its next superintendent.
The Sun previously printed and posted online a brief bio of the three final candidates that is viewable at www.thesunpapers.com/berlin-sun/ for information while the board of education reviews information before making a final decision.
Also at the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Kristin Groark as the middle school principal, effective June 30. Groark was approved at a meeting earlier that month as the middle school principal as BCS plans to move a two-principal administration starting next school year.
Groark was approved to become the principal at Cranberry Pines Elementary School in Medford Township on a one-year contract with a salary of $105,000.
“This opportunity is incredible, and I can’t wait to get busy and know everyone on a better basis, and just learn about this amazing town that you have here,” said Groark, at a Medford Township Board of Education meeting. “It is so telling of how much you value education here, and I just feel so fortunate and so blessed to serve here and to serve your community.”
The next scheduled meeting for the Berlin Borough Board of Education is Thursday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at the Media Center at Berlin Community School.