Business Administrator Nick Markarian has been chosen to fill the position of new schools superintendent after Valerie Goger retires next June 30, but his appointment won't become official until next May.
School officials said the next sitting Board of Education, including any new board members elected next April, must vote on his appointment, since he won't step into his new position until after that time. However, Monday night's approval of the intent to appoint him as superintendent will allow the district to start looking for another business administrator, Board President Susan Carlsson said.
Markarian, who has been with the Bernards Township schools system for 11 years, said he started his career in Bernards as assistant principal at the on Sept. 11, 2001.
He moved up to become school principal at William Annin until he later was appointed as business administrator.
Markarian, attending the meeting as business administrator, said 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.
"I thank Valerie and Reggie for their years of mentoring," Markarian said following the board's announcement.
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 also is subject to county approval, Carlsson said.
State guidelines set pay for new superintendent
As per new state guidelines governing school districts the size of Bernards Township, Markarian will be paid $167,500. Goger's most recent annual salary has been just over $200,000, subtracting voluntary givebacks for her contracted amount of about $217,000.
Markarian also has the experience of teaching in the classroom, having been a math teacher at Hunterdon Central and Spotswood high schools, Carlsson said.
Members of the public, including former school board members Beverly Cwerner and Lisa Winter, applauded the choice of Markarian as a new superintendent.
"That's an excellent decision," Winter said of the choice of Markarian. She added that he will have "big shoes to replace" following Goger.
Like others, Winter said she also likes the fact that Markarian's resume includes a range of experience from classroom teacher, through building principal and then involvement with the district's finances as business administrator.
Markarian's "good, strong background" makes him a great asset to the district, Cwerner said.
Board member Mike Byrnes said he supports Markarian as superintendent, but he abstained from voting to approve the intended appointment, otherwise approved unanimously, since he said he would prefer that the board vote officially in May.
Board member Susan McGowan said the board's action on Monday was a "proper and legal procedure."
The vote also allows Markarian to begin searching for a new assistant superintendent, since his role requires him to select a candidate for that position, Carlsson said.