BARNEGAT – At a special meeting of the Barnegat Board of Education on March 14, officials announced the new superintendent-to-be as Dr. Brian Latwis.
Latwis is the current Director of Special Education for Barnegat schools, appointed to this position three years ago. Many members of the special education department as well members as the rest of the district were present at the meeting to sing Lawtis’ praise.
A motion was unanimously passed by the members of the board to select Latwis as the next superintendent to succeed current superintendent Karen Wood starting July of 2018. The motion received a resounding round of applause from residents and members of the district.
“First I would like to thank the Board of Education for having the trust and the confidence to afford me this opportunity,” said Latwis. “To say that I’m excited would be an understatement.”
Latwis called his decision to apply to the position of Director of Special Education for Barnegat schools three years prior, “the best decision of my profession career,” as it was the stepping stone to his newest achievement within the district.
“We have the potential to achieve some amazing things here and I’m confident that we will,” he added.
Board President Scott Sarno noted that the board is “ecstatic” to have Latwis as their new superintendent, come July, noting his enthusiasm and passion for what he does as a factor that made him stand out during the arduous interviewing process.
Sarno said that there were 26 applicants for the position of superintendent, 22 external and 4 internal. Of the 22 external applicants, 7 were interviewed. All 4 internal applicants were also interviewed. From there, the choices were pinned down to 4 finalists, of which Latwis came out on top.
The board noted that applicants for the position need to possess a PhD, a requirement which 50-75 percent of the applicants fulfilled.
“We’ll be falling in line right behind you, working with you hand in hand, to get the district where we want it to be,” said Sarno to Latwis, during the meeting.
As per request from Barnegat Resident Jake Taylor, Sarno informed that the new superintendent’s starting salary would be $155,500 with a five year contract that allows for a 2 percent only raise each year.
He also noted that the starting salary for Wood when she started 7 years ago was approximately $135,000. Since then, it has been raised to $160,551.
Dr. Latwis will be continuing his position as Director of Special Education until his term as superintendent begins in July. The board has not yet decided on a replacement for the Director position.
Principals from a few of the Barnegat schools came up to give their congratulations to Latwis during the meeting. Principal Stephen Nichol of the Barnegat High School said that he has been with the district for 15 years, “and I hope to have another 15 years working with you.”
“I know he’s going to do a great job and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Josh Toddings, principal of the Joseph T. Donahue School.
Some residents and board members also expressed their disappointment at the meeting at the lack of transparency during the hiring process of the new superintendent.
“Although I am disappointed that the committee has decided not to have input from the public or from the teachers…I do feel that of the four candidates that were presented to the full board, I do feel that Mr. Latwis was the best,” said board member Christine Harashinski.