A plan for leading

New superintendent wants to engage with schools and community

New school Superintendent Dr. Neely Hackett held two community forums this summer to introduce the Voorhees community to her 90-day plan, a detailed look at how she will perform her duties, which began on July 1.

Hackett, who was announced as the full-time superintendent in March, took over for Mike Redfearn, who had served in the interim role since May 2021. In June, the township board of education indicated it planned to create a role in the district for  Redfearn after the community voiced its support for him to be named superintendent. 

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The superintendent’s 90-day plan includes a detailed description of Hackett’s leadership values and how she plans to engage herself not only in the schools, but the community as well. Hackett used her two community forums to hear feedback from parents and faculty in a controlled, relaxed environment. 

She plans to lead with four core beliefs:

  1. “Each student is entitled to a quality education that the entire community of invested stakeholders values, supports and enlarges by collaborating with one another.”  
  2. “Teacher quality is vital to engaging students in relevant, authentic tasks and improving student achievement.” 
  3. “Each student possesses the ability to achieve his or her potential in any learning environment when the adults provide the most appropriate support for success.” 
  4. “The educational environment must be safe, respectful, and guided by skilled administrators who focus on advancing teacher effectiveness and student achievement.” 


A recurring criticism from parents at district meetings has been what they call “a lack of transparency” from the board of education, dating back to 2020, with its ever-changing COVID regulations and protocols. It is a complaint Hackett has taken heed of while preparing her 90-day plan.

“I have developed a stakeholders’ expectations, a list of things that you, the stakeholders (in the community) can expect from me as the superintendent,” she said.  “You can expect that I will listen, be visible, be transparent, be passionate, be motivating, collaborate, use data to make decisions, (communicate), set and monitor goals.”

Hackett’s next community forum will be on Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., at the district administration building, The next board of ed session will take place on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m., also in the administrative building. 

Hackett’s 90-day plan is available in PDF form on the district website.

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