Interim Superintendent Signs On For Second Year In Mahwah
Board says it hopes to find a better pool of applicants for the job next year
Mahwah’s interim superintendent will max out the time she’s legally allowed to hold the position in the district. Board of Education President Tricia Shada announced Wednesday night that Dr. Karen Lake will be staying on as interim superintendent for another year.
“We had a great year with our interim, and she is a good fit for us right now,” Shada said.
Lake was hired after Superintendent Dr, Charles Montesano retired at the end of the last school year. The district ran one formal and several informal searches for a permanent replacement, but those were unsuccessful.
“We have already paid for one more Superintendent search that we have yet to do, so having Dr. Lake here will help us have the time to do that next year,” Shada said. “We are hoping that the pool of applicants will increase in value.” School administrators have blamed a new Superintendent salary cap for the lack of candidates for the job.
The cap, imposed by the state last year, limits the superintendent salary to $167,500, plus some potential for merit-based pay increases.
Legally, Lake is only allowed to be in the interim position for two years. However, Shada said if the district cannot find a permanent replacement in that time frame, it is not “stuck in filling the job. We can hire a different interim.” However, she said the board hopes to find a qualified applicant. “We are an attractive district for potential superintendents, so we are hopeful.”
Lake said her positive experience in the district this year helped her make the decision to stay on for another. “I wasn’t planning to stay initially, but I have really found a home here,” she said. “I’ve had a great time, and everyone here is so helpful, involved and great to work with.”
Lake said her main focuses next year will include increasing scores on state assessments, continuing the implementation of the “Commom Core” curriculum that the state is switching to, and putting in place a new evaluation system for teachers.
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