Glen Ridge School Board Welcomes New Members, Discusses Superintendent Search and School Initiatives

In a recent gathering of the Glen Ridge School Board, the community witnessed the swearing-in of new board members Darius Denard, Jocelyn Gottlieb, and Duval Graham. Elisabeth Ginsburg was appointed as the board president, with David Campbell and Jocelyn Gottlieb securing positions as first and second vice presidents, respectively. The meeting not only celebrated leadership transitions but also focused on the search for a new superintendent, acknowledging Superintendent Dirk Phillips’ impending retirement and the educational initiatives enhancing student well-being and engagement.

The search for a new superintendent is a concern following the announcement of Superintendent Dirk Phillips’ retirement scheduled for June. The board discussed community feedback on the desired qualities for Phillips’ successor, emphasizing the importance of experience, long-range planning, and budgeting acumen. With 31 candidates having submitted their resumes for the position, the Personnel Committee is bracing for a series of screening interviews to find the right individual who can lead with strong instructional leadership skills.

Superintendent Phillips, in his final months before retirement, shared the positive outcomes of several school programs. He highlighted the successful integration of a mindfulness exercise into the school’s culture, which has resulted in a notable decrease in behavioral issues among students. Phillips also introduced the therapy dog initiative and the Level Up Village program, which engages students in collaborative projects with peers in Mexico, fostering resilience and problem-solving abilities.

Central School’s adoption of diversity pillars was also a point of deliberation, with the initiative aiming to celebrate various aspects of culture, abilities, and language expression. Further promoting a culture of encouragement and learning, the Board discussed the novel Bookworm vending machine, which incentivizes acts of kindness and reading among students. The importance of parental involvement and community support was underscored, with a call to strengthen the symbiotic relationship between the school and its community for the betterment of educational activities.

During the meeting, Student Representative Dylan O’Neil provided an update on the school’s recent activities, including a successful Rider Day and the basketball teams’ accomplishments. He also briefed the board on the upcoming class meetings designed to reinforce school rules and expectations ahead of the new year.

Routine administrative matters, including the approval of minutes, appointing delegates for the New Jersey School Boards Association, and addressing personnel and curriculum items, were handled with due diligence.

The Board’s session concluded with a second public comment period, which did not feature any audience participation, followed by an executive session where confidential matters were discussed.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Dirk Phillips
School Board Officials:
Barbara Murphy (Business Administrator/Board Secretary), Elisabeth Ginsburg, Tracey St. Auburn, David Campbell, Tricia Akinwande, Anthony Bonnett, Duval Graham, Jocelyn Gottlieb, Kristin O’Neil, Heather Yaros-Ramos, David Kelly (BOE Student Representative), Dylan O’Neil (BOE Student Representative)

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