JACKSON – Board of Education members unanimously approved the hiring of Geoffrey Brignola as the new principal for Jackson Liberty High School during a recent meeting.
Current principal, Maureen Butler, is retiring on July 1. That is the date that Brignola will start. Brignola was present at the meeting and heard high praise by board members and Superintendent Stephen Genco who recommended his hiring.
Brignola has worked in the Jackson School District as the assistant principal of Jackson Liberty High School for 11 years. Prior to holding that position, he was a supervisor of math and science, teacher of biology, anatomy/physiology, chemistry, and self-contained classroom science and a basketball, soccer and lacrosse coach in the Red Bank Regional school district.
“I feel Mr. Brignola will bring Liberty to the next level,” Genco said.
Board Vice President Vicki Grasso and board member Sharon Dey both expressed a need for change at the high school though neither explained specifically what changes they wished to see.
“I have a lot of concerns about Liberty which I have discussed. We have a changing town. I’m looking forward to some changes,” Dey said, adding that she had confidence in Brignola’s ability to provide those changes.
“I will echo Ms. Dey’s concerns. I do trust that Mr. Brignola is the man for the job. I’d like to see some changes moving forward,” Grasso said.
“Congratulations, Mr. Brignola, I know you will do an outstanding job,” Genco said following the vote.
Board President Scott Sargent also wished Brignola well with his new posting.
Sargent said “the beauty I see of this board is when they see concerns they go to Dr. Genco about them. He is their direct contact. He is in place to make those decisions. I trust Dr. Genco in making those decisions and the recommendations he makes.”
“My confidence in this superintendent is raised every month,” Sargent said. Sargent also noted that Genco had been named Ocean County Superintendent of the year.
Brignola made no formal comments to the board following his hiring and no one spoke during either public comment period during the meeting.
Advanced Placement Program Discussed
During the meeting Assistant Superintendent Nicole Pormilli gave a presentation to the board concerning the district’s advanced placement course program.
Pormilli said that program had received a year in review that involved five volunteer meetings by teachers and administrators. That meeting examined various aspects of the program including philosophy, requirements, a teacher survey, criteria and dual credits.
“Mental health of the student was also looked at. High school students suffer pressures of hearing GPA, GPA, GPA and while we want them to know the commitment involved we don’t want to have them overload themselves,” Pormilli said.
Pormilli talked about the district’s relationship with Ocean County College where certain courses were being accepted for transferable credits. She noted that in New Jersey credits are accepted but it is up to the individual schools to determine how they will accept them.
“This is the first step. We are looking to expand this to more students. Over the summer we’ll be looking to expand this beyond AP courses. We are building a plan for students in 2020,” Pormilli said.
“More options will come up to students for this,” Genco added.
“We’ll keep an eye on the mental health part,” Grasso said.
Genco gave praise to the district’s sports and music programs during the session. “I commend all our students involved with our bands, choir and who participated in our art expo. We have the two best baseball teams around.”