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BOE Introduces Incoming Superintendent

Caldwell-West Caldwell school board votes to move elections, shorten winter break.

The Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education Monday night appointed James Heinegg as superintendent of schools effective July 1.

Heinegg will replace retiring Superintendent Daniel Gerardi, who has been with the district for 27 years.

Heinegg’s salary for the length of the five-year contract in $157,500, the maximum allowed by the state based on pupil enrollment and the district containing a high school, according to Gerardi. 

Gerardi said all superintendents are eligible for merit pay increases of 14.99% of the base salary each year for the accomplishment of up to five performance goals. The goals will be established by the Board of Education, the Executive County Superintendent and the local superintendent.

On Monday, Heinegg acknowledged he may have big shoes to fill, but said he admires the work Gerardi has done.

“I think he’s an excellent superintendent,” he said. “I admire his wise leadership and excellent educational judgment.”

Heinegg added, “The district has a tremendous culture of learning and constant improvement.”

The former teacher currently works as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Roxbury Township Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, he served as supervisor of curriculum and instruction for Saddle Brook Public Schools.

Heinegg began his educational career as a project specialist at Montclair State University. He later taught fifth grade at Washington School in West Caldwell for about 10 years before going to Saddle Brook.

Heinegg has a bachelor’s in philosophy from Union College in New York and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Montclair State University. He earned a doctorate in education from Teachers College Columbia University.

Heinegg lives in West Caldwell with his wife, Maureen, and their daughter, a 2009 graduate of James Caldwell High School.

Former Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education President Jay McCann welcomed Heinegg during the public portion of the meeting.

“You do have big shoes to fill,” McCann said, adding “but you have the confidence of the community."

Denise Smith of West Caldwell asked Heinegg what he sees as his greatest challenge.

The incoming superintendent responded by saying one of the challenges facing many districts will be implementing teacher evaluations as mandated by Trenton and making them work.

Gerardi said Heinegg's appointment this week allows for a four-month transition period. He and Heinegg will begin meeting next week, and Heinegg will attend the board's work sessions starting next month. He will also have a chance to meet with administrators and teachers as the district sets goals for the next school year.

Other School Board News

  • The board passed a resolution moving school board elections from April to the November general election. The change will be effective starting this year and remain in place for the next four years, at which time the board can choose to reverse its decision. The resolution also eliminates the annual voter referendum on the proposed general fund tax levy so long as it stays within the mandated 2% cap. Board members whose terms would have expired in May will continue to serve until the Jan. 2013 reorganization meeting. and throughout the state by making the move.
  • The board approved the 2012-2013 district school calendar. The calendar includes an abbreviated winter recess, with schools closed only on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, for the typically weeklong break. Superintendent the shortened recess was necessary for next year in order to end school by Friday, June 21.  
  • Maryanne Melnyk, supervisor of guidance at James Caldwell High School, will retire effective July 1. Melnyk worked in Bloomfield and West Essex before becoming superviser of guidance for Caldwell-West Caldwell seven years ago. "We thank her for her time and all that she's done for our students," Gerardi said.
Cj February 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Wow , My boss does not give me a merit pay increase of $14.99% and I run the company for him.
wcmom February 15, 2012 at 10:44 PM
All those increases are the reason why our WC property taxes go up every year.
Frank M. February 18, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Starting out at the maximum cap? Hmmm It may have made more sense to to gradually increase to the "Capped" amount based on performance. With that said I wish Mr.Heinegg all the best!

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