During my tenure as an educator, I have had the opportunity to teach and/or supervise on elementary, middle, and high school levels. Additionally, I have extensive leadership experience including, but not limited to, building level as well as Central Office K-12. My philosophy of fostering a distributive style of leadership, and facilitating a culture of high expectations for student achievement has been the foundation of my success.
My expertise lies in overseeing areas such as staff development and training, curriculum development and implementation, financial and budget administration, community partnership building, and policy implementation to realize increased productivity and improved academic performance while containing costs. From conceptualizing and establishing forward-thinking development plans to collaborating with teachers and administrators to achieve consensus across multiple levels, I excel at directing strategic enhancements to drive goal achievement while communicating openly and collaboratively with teachers, staff, parents, and principals.
I attended Rutgers University beginning in 1996; completing my studies in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. In 2001, I went back to school to obtain a Master’s Dgree in Educational Leadership. Completing my Master’s Degree in 2005 from New Jersey City University, obtaining a doctorate was always the next part of the plan. I completed my dissertation and defended on February 4, 2019. My study was as follows: A Comparison of Complex Thinking Required by the Elementary New Jersey Student Learning Standards and Past New Jersey Curriculum Standards 2019 (See https://scholarship.shu.edu/dissertations/2613/)
Always wanting to provide students with a differentiated and engaging educational experience, I began my teaching career at Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School in September 2000. After five years in the classroom, I became Vice Principal at Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School; the same school I served as a substitute teacher and classroom teacher. In 2009, under the leadership of South Region Regional Superintendent Dr. Dale A. Talbert, I became the Instructional Special Assistant K-12. From 2010-2012, I served as the Principal of Chancellor Avenue/Annex Elementary School in the South Region. From 2012-2016, I served as Principal of Thomas G. Connors Elementary School within the Hoboken Public School District. In 2016-2018, I served as the Assistant Superintendent of School K-12 within the Hoboken Public School District. In June 2018, Mr. Leon, current Superintendent of the Newark Board of Education recommended me for the position of Deputy Superintendent of Schools. I was the Deputy Superintendent in the Newark Board of Education until June 30, 2019, at which point, I assumed my current position as the Superintendent of Schools in Orange Township. The greatest pleasure of my world is being married to Arlenia Fitzhugh for the last 12 years and being a father to the world’s great two children, Alyssa Ann, and Evan Gerald. My leadership and vision of being a father drives the concept that all children deserve a great education.
These factors and experiences have enabled me to accomplish the following; please note these are not all of the accomplishments within a span of 21 years within the education arena but I wanted to highlight a few:
- Received an 81% in the Curriculum and Instruction component of NJQAC in the Hoboken Public Schools; the district had not met the required passing score of 80% in 9 years. I worked collectively with the Superintendent of Schools as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
- Received the Life Changer of the Year Award for SY 2015-2016. Out of over 800 nominations, I was one of the top ten finalists and received the award on March 11, 2016.
- Provided instructional leadership and job-embedded professional development to the Focus School’s staff regarding effective implementation of school turnaround principles, which resulted in the following:
- Thomas G. Connors Elementary School met progress indicators in 8 of the 10 areas in Year 1 as a Focus School and was selected as a model for the implementation of Positive Behavior Supports in School by the New Jersey Department of Education.
- Improved teacher effective practices by 75% at Thomas G. Connors Elementary School as evidenced by the number of observed teachers designated throughout the hierarchy of effectiveness in lesson design and focus, lesson objectives, preparation for instruction, student engagement, and using data to guide instruction by the New Jersey Department of Education (CAPA Team), compared to findings from a Regional Assistance Center team review.
- Improved NJASK Student Performance as evidenced by the NJ Performance Report SY 13-14. 100% of targets were met in the areas of Student Growth and Academic Performance. As a result, Thomas G. Connors Elementary was removed from the Focus List as of June 30, 2015.
- Led Chancellor Avenue/Annex School throughout school years 2010-2011and 2011-2012 in making Adequate Yearly Progress in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This work was predicated through evidenced-based instructional feedback as well as individualized professional development across contents.
- Provided professional development to turnaround principals and teachers (April 20, 2015 - Regional Achievement Centers) on the utilization of technology in core content areas through the usage of professional learning communities. Requested by the Assistant to the Commissioner of Education to work with Jersey City Principals on pedagogy and moving schools out of Focus/Priority Status in February 2016.
- Began a consulting company to provide coaching to principals and school teams on 1) data and using it to strengthen instructional pedagogy, 2) instructional design and implementation, and 3) best practices (June 2015). Provided a workshop and follow-up consulting in July 2015 for the Sayreville Public Schools’ full administrative team on the topic of “Putting a Face on Data.”
- Presented at the Edcamp Newark Leadership Series as well as the Plainfield EdCamp Leadership Series on the topic of “The Road to the Principalship” (September 2017 and September 2019).
- Developed a new high school, a full-year elective course entitled “Black History and Experiences” in America for 10-12 grade students implemented in SY 18-19.
- Worked with teacher teams to reconstruct district curriculum in all content areas, including related arts (February-August 2017); aligned curriculum to ensure areas of diversity were indicated. The work continued the following year as well (March 2018-July 2018.)