BRICK – The township Board of Education held a special meeting on July 30 to name Sean Cranston as the acting superintendent of schools since Superintendent Gerard Dalton announced his resignation just one year into his four-year contract.
Cranston – who has a background as a math teacher for the Toms River School District and as a math supervisor in the Brick School District – has most recently served as the director of Human Resources for Brick schools, and comes to the position of acting superintendent with no experience heading a district.
He would be serving as the district’s 11th superintendent in 11 years.
Board of Education President Stephanie Wohlrab said Board members thought it would be nice to have somebody in the position who was already part of the Brick school community without bringing in an outsider.
“We have a plan in place and we have a team that’s ready to work the plan while the Board goes and interviews and gets another superintendent in place as quickly as possible,” she said.
During the June Board of Education meeting, members voted to award a contract not to exceed $11,500 to Educational Services Commission of NJ to perform a superintendent search. Even if they find a candidate quickly, the process would take months, Wohlrab said.
Brick resident and recently-announced Board of Education candidate Rob Canfield asked how many candidates were interviewed for the acting superintendent position.
“How many people were there to choose from? Was there a candidate pool?” he asked.
“We looked at everybody within the district that held the paperwork and the certification that would allow them to serve as an acting superintendent,” Wohlrab said, which was a list of some 11 to 13 candidates.
She said the Board wanted to choose from the in-district resources “so we weren’t going out again.”
Some of the deciding factors for choosing Cranston was that he was already in the front office, and the board did not have to pull a principal away from a school, causing a disruption to the students, Wolhrab said.
Another reason for choosing him was “the fact that Mr. Cranston was an active member of the administration during the time that we put the plans into place for next year; and the fact that he understands the human resources piece of this,” she said.
The board felt that he was a very strong and good candidate for this position, Wohlrab said.
Canfield asked if Cranston would continue to serve as the Director of Human Resources while serving as acting superintendent. Wohlrab said the district is looking at hiring someone on a part-time basis to assist with the Human Resources department to make sure that “nothing falls to the wayside.”
The Board voted unanimously in favor of Cranston – whose salary as Director of Human Resources is $123,936 – would be earning an additional $184.23 per day while serving as the acting superintendent of schools. His duties began Aug. 1.
Towards the end of the special meeting, Dalton made his final remarks as superintendent. He said his year had been “an awesome experience, and I really want to see the best for this district.”
There will be many challenging days ahead as the district grapples with the decisions that have to be made after the loss of millions of dollars in state aid, but “everyone in this community pulls together,” he said.
“Thanks for letting me be a part of it this year. I wish you all the best,” Dalton said.
The next regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting will be on Thursday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Professional Development Center at the Veterans Complex.