Brick Township’s new superintendent will begin work for the 2018-19 school year in July after previously serving as assistant superintendent at one of the state’s most prestigious and affluent school districts.
Gerard Dalton, a resident of Asbury Park, will come to Brick from the West Windsor-Plainsboro regional school district, which educates just under 10,000 students across 10 schools, including two high schools. The district has been consistently rated among the best in New Jersey, and among its most affluent, situated off the Route 1 corridor that is home to myriad pharmaceutical companies.
Dalton, who drew high praise from colleagues who came to a Board of Education meeting in Brick on Thursday night, will take over as schools chief a district that has seen eight superintendents come and go over the past decade, while facing struggles with meeting state goals for college and career readiness.
Dalton and the board agreed to a four-year contract worth $776,072. The contract is inclusive of extra compensation allowed under state law for superintendents whose districts include high schools, though the document – which was not publicly released before the meeting – does not include additional merit-based bonuses that some schools chiefs receive in other districts.
According to the basic terms of the agreement, which was released before the meeting began, Dalton will earn $190,000 in the 2018-19 school year, $193,145 for 2019-20, $196,343 for 2020-2021, and $196,584 for 2021-22. The salary of the final year of the contract represents the absolute limit of the state’s cap on superintendent salaries.
“Selfishly, I wish I could tell you that you were making a mistake,” said West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education Vice President Michele Kaish. “But nothing could be further from the truth. You will be working with an inspirational, instructional leader, an incredible listener and a true team player. Always, always, always guided by what is best for children.”
The regional district’s superintendent, David Aderhold, described his soon-to-be former deputy as a “consummate champion for students,” adding that he and Dalton largely partnered in running the district.
“What you’re going to find is an individual who is going to find the value in every student,” Aderhold said.
Dalton’s remarks were brief.
“I’m honored to have been chosen and I am humbled to serve this community, I truly believe it is my role to serve,” he said. “I really look forward to working with the board, with the faculty and staff, with this community, and to build relationships. I hope they are very long-lasting relationships in the service of children.”
Dalton also served as a member of the Board of Education in his hometown of Asbury Park for a year after being appointed to replace a member who resigned, but ultimately lost a re-election bid to Qzeena Taylor, his opponent in the 2012 board election there.
Dennis Filippone, who has served as acting superintendent this year, said he is looking forward to stability in the district.
“We need long term leadership,” said Filippone, who has served the district for 41 years. “We’ve had about 10 superintendents in 10 years, and that’s not a good statistic.”
Brick’s school board approved the appointment unanimously, save the vote of board Vice President John Lamela, who abstained since he said he initially was not part of the superintendent search process. He abstained because acquaintances of his had applied for the position. Lamela works as an administrator in the Jackson school district.
Dalton will begin work July 1, which officially starts the 2018-19 school year.