Moorestown’s board of education meeting last month started off with remarks from newly elected President Mark Villanueva.
“This is an exciting time and I’m very happy to introduce again Mr. Bollendorf, who will be our interim superintendent …” Villanueva said of the former Washington Township school superintendent.
“In four short days (Bollendorf started on Jan. 23), he’s really delivered everything that we had expected.”
Bollendorf – whose temporary position was approved at the board’s Dec. 13 meeting – retired from Washington Township last June. He currently serves as president of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and has been a member of its executive board for seven years.
Bollendorf is also a consultant for Rowan College of New Jersey, where he helps address a statewide teacher shortage and is involved in the development of a Model Code of Ethics for educators.
“He has such great leadership skills and to a T,” Villanueva noted. “Everybody that I’ve spoken to this week has been nothing but impressed.”
Former Moorestown superintendent Michael Volpe announced his resignation last year.
Villanueva also praised board members at the meeting for their dedication to the district.
“I wanted to thank the board and the cabinet and administration for their patience and grace, as there’s been a number of leadership transitions as Mick (board member Maurice Weeks) had mentioned in the December meeting, and we were offloading our prior superintendent and onboarding Mr. Bollendorf.”
“I and Cheryl (Makopoulos, board vice president) were getting acclimated to our new roles, and I think there was support certainly by the cabinet.”
Bollendorf then addressed the community during the board session.
“I really appreciate the many platitudes; I’m not sure that they’re all so deserving, but it’s certainly been a nice transition coming here,” he said. “I don’t have a monthly report, because I’ve only been here for four days, but in those four short days, I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the people that I see working in the district …
“The work, the collaborative work, that exists between our staff and our administration is really something. There’s really quite a lot of give and take that goes along, and I think that’s really critical in trying to provide the very best that you can for our kids.”
Following committee reports, the board opened the floor for public comment.
“I teach at the high school, and I would like to commend the WAMS (William Allen Middle School) staff for what they’ve been doing for MLK Day to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and his vision of acceptance,” said Moorestown resident Elizabeth Everette.
“WAMS staff went to student lunches and (put) students into different groups,” she added. “They facilitated discussions with different groups of students for three days to allow them to meet and get to know other students, with whom they don’t usually sit.”
“The message from the staff to the students was that, despite all the differences among us, we have many things in common as well.”
Villanueva then offered an update on the search for a superintendent.
“ … We put out an RFP (Request For Proposal) for a search firm,” he pointed out. “It has been evaluated, and we are in the process of deciding how to move forward in terms of a search firm. From my own personal perspective, we would like to really start gathering candidates and interviewing candidates very soon.”