BRICK – There was no sign during the June 20 Board of Education meeting that anything was amiss. The board members came out of executive session before the start of the 7:00 meeting, which is a common practice, although it was somewhat unusual that they went back into executive session towards the end of the meeting to discuss an administrative matter.
Afterwards, the meeting was adjourned with no announcements.
It wasn’t until the next day, Friday June 21 that Superintendent of Schools Gerard Dalton said that he had submitted a letter during the Board of Education meeting with an initial notification of his intent to resign on June 26 “following approval for a new position in another district, that of principal.”
Dalton came to Brick after serving as the assistant superintendent of schools of the highly-rated West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District.
At the time, Board President Stephanie Wohlrab said that Dalton stood out amongst other candidates and impressed the board members with his vision and experience.
“Life often teaches lessons that we did not know were needed,” Dalton wrote in his letter. “As the school year comes to an end, I have reflected deeply on my work as your superintendent. Upon reflection of my career, skills, passions, personal and family life, and in consultation with trusted mentors, I have determined it is best for me to return to the role of building principal.”
He said that as principal, he has more of an opportunity to serve more closely with students, teachers and families.
Dalton accepted a four-year contract as superintendent in Brick starting on July 1, 2018, with a first year salary of $190,000, and with yearly increments, would have topped out at $196,000 in his fourth year.
With Dalton’s resignation, the district has had 11 superintendents in 11 years.
In his letter, Dalton said the district has faced many challenges with great focus and collaboration.
“We have come together during challenging times to support individuals and the community,” he wrote. “There is a great body of work for which we should be proud.”
Dalton’s departure comes during a period when the district is grappling with a $21 million loss of state aid over seven years, or a cumulative loss of $42 million during that time frame.
In January, Brick joined a group of school districts in filing a lawsuit against the NJ Department of Education calling the distribution of state aid to school districts arbitrary and lacking in transparency.
Dalton has met with legislators in Trenton and attended a march on Trenton with other members of the Brick school community to oppose the cuts.
“It’s the time of year that I think it’s important we remember the positives,” Dalton said during Superintendent’s Report during the Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
“It’s a mad dash to the last day of school, and we’ve had many positive celebrations and more to come.”
It is not immediately clear when Dalton’s last day would be or who would be taking the reins as superintendent after his departure.