Superintendent Chuck Klaus announced at the board of education meeting last month that Donnetta Beatty has been named the new principal at Tatem Elementary School, a choice made after more than 50 candidates applied for the post.
Beatty succeeds Kimberly Dewrell, who resigned. The new principal comes to the school from the Black Horse Pike Regional School District, where she has served as supervisor of Teaching and Learning and supervisor of ELL, a program for students who are non-proficient in but learning English.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Gino Priolo noted that within three weeks of the job posting, the district received 55 applications, what he called a strong candidate pool. Officials narrowed the field through five rounds of interviews over the course of three weeks.
“Obviously when someone gets to this level in their career, we believe they have the administrative chops,” Priolo said. “They know the pedagogy, so what we really hone in on are what relationship skills do they have, what’s their vision, what’s their capacity to learn, what’s their responsiveness, how adaptable are they, what’s their situational awareness to work in a district like this?
“Donnetta checked all those boxes and we’re really proud and excited to have her as part of our team.”
Beatty will start her new job July 1 and the district will work with her and Dewrell to create a structured transition plan.
During his board report, Klaus clarified misconceptions about the state’s updated 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for health and physical education. While the state’s guidelines show a core idea and a performative expectation, school districts are only required to follow the standard. The expectation only clarifies the standard further, but is not a directive that districts must teach these specific things.
“We are a school district of our own; we get to make our own curricula,” Klaus explained. “We have to hit the standards, but how we do that is up to us.”
Klaus reminded parents they have the choice to opt out of lessons dealing with family life, sex education and health but said the district would start curriculum writing early for those topics to maximize community engagement before summer.
“We don’t want parents opting out because we’re giving them something they feel is unpalatable,” he said, “so we need all the voices here.”
In other news
- The board adopted a 2022-’23 budget of $48.3 million. The tax levy is estimated to increase by $115 for the average assessed home of $516,913.
- Community visioning sessions for next year’s bond referendum were held on May 9 and 10.
The next board meeting will be Thursday at the Haddonfield Memorial High School library at 7 p.m.