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Markarian Officially Appointed Next School Super

Busy meeting includes appointment of schools superintendent to succeed Valerie Goger, due to retire in June.

The on Monday officially appointed the school district's next superintendent, current business administrator Nick Markarian, who is due to step into the top administrator's job following

The board voted unanimously to appoint Markarian, approving a contract that will begin this July 1 and run through June 30, 2015.

His beginning salary is $167,500. The board's motion on Monday also called for the development of criteria on which he can also received merit pay, with those criteria subject to approval by the Somerset County Superintendent's office.

The school board already hadin the position, after advertising for candidates both within and without of the school system.

However, before the board later voted to move this year's school election to November, the decision was put off until after the anticipated election in April, when any new board members would be put in place to make a decision that won't take effect until the end of the school year.

The move to the November election means that all current board members have terms continuing through July, and thus are qualified to vote on the superintendent's appointment.

Markarian has been with the Bernards Township schools system for 11 years. He said he started his career in Bernards as assistant principal at the in 2001.

He moved up to become school principal at William Annin until he later was appointed as business administrator.

Markarian said in November he was "very excited" about the appointment, which was made after the school district advertised for a new top administrator both internally and outside of the district. Both Goger and Regina Rudolph, assistant superintendent, at the end of this school year. Sean Siet, the school district's current director of curriculum, already has been chosen as the next assistant superintendent.

"I thank Valerie and Reggie for their years of mentoring," Markarian said in November.

He spoke of the challenges that lie ahead for the school district, which in recent years has been forced to withstand state aid cuts along with other so-called wealthier districts in New Jersey.

"I know we have a tough job ahead of us," Markarian said. However, he said he would be "looking for ways to make a great school district even better."

Markarian's appointment was subject to county approval, and his pay was governed by a state limit on new superintendents appointed in the size of the Bernards Township district. Goger has been receiving an annual pay of just over $200,000.

Last night's official appointment was brief, and was sandwiched between the introduction of the , outlined by Markarian, and continuing discussion and a board vote on whether through the adjoining Cedar Hill Elementary School.

During the public portion of the meeting, a Homestead Village resident, John Gannon, asked Markarian for his position on the bus routing. Board President Susan Carlsson intervened and said that public comment was not a period for "question and answer" with school officials.

Markarian later commented during the meeting that he already has met with municipal engineer Tom Timko to review options for improving the traffic flow and alleviating backups at the high school during the morning rush hour. The engineer talked about options for reconfiguring traffic, he said.

"At the end of the day, without some kind of capital work, he didn't really see a viable option that you can implement at the drop of a hat," Markarian reported.

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