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Interim school superintendent looks to 2024

Bollendorf wants to see what the district can accomplish this year

Special to The Sun
Joseph Bollendorf says his compass is always pointed to kids in the Moorestown schools.

The Moorestown school district’s interim Superintendent Joseph Bollendorf saw the focus for 2023 as a return to normalcy post-COVID.

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“People just reacquainting themselves with school as we remembered it was, I think, an important step for the district,” he recalled. “I would say that that’s probably the same for districts across the state, and being able to apply those things that we learned throughout the course of the year, to help protect us and protect our kids …

“It’s just been wonderful, too.”

Bollendorf came to the district in January of last year and will serve as interim chief through half of the next school year. He’s found that Moorestown is a community incredibly passionate about its education, where residents care deeply about the quality of the schools and what they can provide for students.

“That means a lot to me, because that’s really what I’ve dedicated my life to, in providing and doing all we can to help our kids grow and learn and become a really important part of our American society,” Bollendorf noted.

“And I’ve found that it’s well and alive in Moorestown.”

No matter what the district faces, Bollendorf stressed that the compass always has to point toward kids.

“You’re often confronted with decisions that you have to make, and when you’re really pressed and you’re not really sure what the right thing to do (is), I follow two rules of thumb,” he explained. “Usually in my life, my experience has taught me, usually the harder thing to do is the right thing to do. But most importantly – and really before that – is to measure what is the impact of this decision? … At the end of the day, which decision is going to have the best impact on our kids?

“That’s the decision you lean towards and that’s always been my compass point,” Bollendorf added. “That’s where my compass point lands and stands and it will always be there. I can put my head on the pillow at night when I feel like I’ve made decisions that I believe are in the best interest of our students, and that’s where I live.”

Bollendorf is involved with the Model Code of Ethics for Educators (MCEE), a guide for future and current educators faced with the complexities of PreK-12 education. It establishes principles for ethical best practice, mindfulness, self-reflection and decision- making, setting the groundwork for self-regulation and self-accountability.

“I believe that (the MCEE) is a real blueprint that will ease the decision-making process that teachers are faced with every single day that often can lead to issues in their professional lives,” Bollendorf pointed out. “Without there being a set of guides, a set of principles, something that they can lean on to help them make those decisions, they’re often left with making those decisions based on their own moral beliefs and their own conscience.

“If we see teachers finding more success and more happiness in the work that they do, they share that,” he added. “They share that content and that happiness with what it is that they do, and that helps motivate and inspire others to perhaps want to go down the same path.”

The school board’s future goals include expanding its facilities and offering full-day kindergarten, and Bollendorf is happy to work with his colleagues and see what they accomplish in 2024.

“In my career, I’ve had the fortune of working with many incredibly great board members and Moorestown is no different,” Bollendorf said. “I think that the community is lucky to have people living amongst them that are willing, at a volunteer level, to commit themselves to the amount of time and effort and energy that it takes to be a good board member.

“It’s clear to me that these people have put themselves out there (and) ran for these (board) positions because they just want to do their very best that they can to help our kids and to make our education system the very best that it can be.”

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