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Brick School District Quietly Begins Superintendent Search

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Could the turmoil of four superintendents in two years for the Brick Township school district be coming to an end soon?

The search for a new permanent superintendent for the school system, an endeavor often launched with much fanfare, was quietly started Monday with an advertisement posted within the district’s human resources website.

The Board of Education, sources said, is planning to undertake the search in-house, without the assistance of a search firm. According to the job posting, prospective candidates to become Brick’s next schools chief must apply digitally by Dec. 1, 2017. The district prefers, but does not require, candidates to hold a doctoral degree.

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The next superintendent will, technically, replace Dr. Walter Uszenski, who has been suspended since being charged with providing services to his grandson that the child was allegedly not entitled to receive. The charges against Uszenski were later thrown out by a Superior Court judge, but the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office brought a third indictment in the case, lengthening the legal troubles that cut Uszenski’s tenure in Brick short. Uszenski has indicated he may sue the district and the prosecutor’s office for tens of millions of dollars.

Uszenski’s contract runs out at the end of the 2017-18 school year, and it is unclear whether the case will be disposed of by then. Since he was suspended in May 2015, the district has had three interim superintendents – Richard Caldes, Thomas Gialanella and currently Dennis Filippone.

Before Uszenski was hired, a search firm held public meetings to help solicit criteria for a new schools chief. This time, the criteria has already been developed, though it was unclear Tuesday who, exactly, decided on it. According to the job posting, the successful candidate will: 

  • Possess a New Jersey Administrator Certificate (required), Ed.D. Preferred, Current CSA, Assistant CSA, as well as successful general or special education classroom teaching experience in a similar district.
  • Provide “evidence of job stability, community involvement, professional growth and participation in professional associations.”
  • Be “skilled in all aspects of fiscal management, operations: curriculum and instruction, personal management, facility operations and labor relations.”
  • Possess “effective leadership skills: visible and accessible with a strong community presence; ability to make tough decisions and take public responsibility for them, ability to delegate when appropriate, and able to inspire and motivate staff leadership roles.”
  • “Will be expected to deal with professional staff negotiations, facility expansion efforts and implementation of maintenance plans.”
  • Possess “strong commitment to student achievement.”

A salary was not provided along with the job announcement. Traditionally, prospective superintendents or their attorneys negotiate contract terms upon hiring. Filippone currently earns the equivalent of $177,500 per year.

Filippone, upon taking the interim position, said that he is not interested in becoming the district’s permanent superintendent.