OCEAN CITY — After an extensive search, the Ocean City Board of Education has named Matthew Friedman the next superintending of the city’s school district.
He is currently the assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum and instruction for the South Orange and Maplewood school district in Essex County. A statement from the local school district states he has worked in education for more than 23 years.
“A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and other distinguished universities, Dr. Friedman’s diverse educational background will provide a wealth of experience to his new role,” reads an announcement from the school released Monday.
“I am honored to be the new superintendent of the Ocean City School District and am looking forward to partnering with our students, educators, school board, families, and community in accomplishing the district’s mission of continued excellence by inspiring critical thinking, fostering intellectual curiosity, and promoting acceptance of individuals,” Friedman said. “This allows our students to achieve their full potential as responsible, contributing citizens of an ever-changing global community.”
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Thomas Baruffi has served as interim superintendent this year, after Kathleen Taylor retired in August of last year, after 15 years as the district superintendent. In 2018, Taylor was named the Superintendent of the Year by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.
While many school officials praised Taylor’s work in the district, including efforts to focus on mental health for students, she was a controversial figure in the community, so much so that many protested outside of her retirement celebration last June. Those gathered outside included alumni and parents.
With an initial list of 40 applicants from across the country, the school district has been whittling down the list of candidates for her permanent replacement. This year, 10 candidates were interviewed by the Board of Education in closed-door meetings, with the list further narrowed to five potential candidates in March.
Last week, the school board held a special meeting, at which the position of superintendent was on the agenda, although Friedman’s name was not listed. School board members expressed confidence in Friedman.
“The Ocean City School District has a long history of excellence and I look forward to seeing the future growth and development of the district under Dr. Friedman’s leadership” said Patrick Kane, the president of the Board of Education. “His innovative approach to education, communication skills, and strong sense of family will fit well with our community.”
For the 2022-23 school year, Friedman's salary will be $190,000, according to school business administrator Timothy Kelley.
The district has three schools, Ocean City High School, Ocean City Intermediate School and Ocean City Primary School, running from kindergarten to 12th grade, with a little more than 2,000 students. Students from Upper Township, Sea Isle City, Corbin City and Longport attend Ocean City High School as part of sending/receiving agreements.
“With a passion for education, Dr. Friedman brings his guiding principles to the Ocean City School District,” reads a statement from the school district. “He believes that service to others, integrity, inclusiveness, equity, and collaboration are vital in effective leadership.”
The district described him as a husband and father of three children and a native of Pittsburgh who one day wants to visit every Major League ballpark.
“This is a pivotal time for the Ocean City School District, I fully embrace this opportunity to lead and will be a catalyst for growth in the district and the community,” Friedman said.
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