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MPS Home ➤ District ➤ Superintendent ➤ Newsletters ➤ Fall 2016

Fall 2016

From the Desk of the Superintendent

Volume 2, Issue 1

Fall 2016

Download printable version.

Dear Montclair Community:

A new school year is underway and all at Montclair Public Schools aim to make it an engaging, supportive academic and social/emotional learning experience for all students.

Part of doing that means helping you navigate the system, get the information you need, and quite simply, feel comfortable in working with us to bring about the best outcomes for your children. We, as educators, know where to look for information and can mistakenly think that you, our families and friends, can find it too. Therefore, if you have a problem or a concern and don’t know where to go, please feel free to reach out to your schools.

To the right is Navigating the School System, a step-by-step flow chart outlining a process for you to follow when seeking help and some general information on key contacts. Additionally, get to know our new Central Office Administrators with their responsibilities, contact information, and short biographies further down on this page.

On another note, I want to thank all in our community who worked so hard to feverishly oppose the charter school. This was the most brilliant display of community activism and collaboration that speaks to what Montclair is all about. The verdict is in and the charter school was denied by the New Jersey Department of Education on September 30, 2016. Thank you all for your support.

I appreciate the opportunity to share the district’s work with you, and I encourage you to visit this website to read more, especially about our new Subscription Busing program (see details to the right). The Announcements section of the website carries lots of practical information.

Digital backpack icon

We have changed the name of our community events section to reflect our “going green” effort. You can now find community events by clicking on the digital backpack icon (shown at right) on each of the schools’ web pages and district homepage. The link also appears in Quick Links.

Your opinion matters. Please stay active in your children’s education; it really does make a difference.

Ron Bolandi
Interim Superintendent

Navigating the School System

Step 1: Classroom Teacher. Step 2: Principal/Assistant Principal. Step 3: Central Office Administrators. Please contact them directly by phone or email. Step 4: Superintendent. Step 5: Board of Education.

Your child’s school is the primary source of information.

 Principal and Assistant Principal - Get to know and confer with your school principal and assistant principal on general policy matters beyond the purview of school staff.

Teachers - They are the focus of the educational process and key to the education of your child. Parent/teacher consultation is the key to the educational success of your child and first point of contact for concerns.

Counselors - Your middle school and high school have guidance counselors to help with class scheduling problems.  All schools in the district have Student Assistance Counselors to help you and your child over the rough spots, emotional/social, etc.

PTA Presidents - These persons are key in informing parents about the school community.  Knowing the function and phone number of these key persons will greatly facilitate your adjustment to the school community, and assist in the academic success of your child.

Just In: Subscription Busing

The Montclair Board of Education has approved a Subscription Busing program for students who do not qualify for courtesy busing. This new program will allow students who wish to use our busses to be assigned to existing bus stops on existing routes based on availability closest to their home. No changes or requests for additional routes or stops will be added. All students participating in the subscription busing program are subject to all rules and regulations regarding discipline and safety procedures.

For information and application visit the Transportation page. All families who qualified for Free/Reduced Lunch last year (year prior to which you’re applying) will be eligible for subscription busing with proper documentation/ verification at no cost.

Meet our Administrators

The Montclair Public Schools is pleased to announce administrator additions or changes in responsibilities.

Dr. Debbe Evans, Interim Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Dr. Deborah Evans joined the Montclair Public Schools as an interim administrator to assist the district in its transition. Last year she served as the Interim Director of Elementary Education.  This year the scope of her responsibilities in curriculum and instruction has expanded to include K-12.  In her previous work, she served students, staff, and communities in New Jersey as a teacher, principal, supervisor, and district level administrator.  Her seven years working as a Regional Consultant and Manager of a Fortune 500 educational publishing company rounds out her experience on the private sector side. Dr. Evans can be reached at 973-509-4030 or by email

Dr. Kendra V. Johnson, Assistant Superintendent for Equity

With a focus on equity, innovation and excellence, Dr. Kendra V. Johnson’s PreK-12 professional experience includes serving at every level – teacher, principal and central office administrator. Her unwavering belief in equity, access and opportunity for each student has informed her personal commitment to pro bono and advocacy work in the areas of special education, student discipline and juvenile justice. Additionally, her experience as a first generation college student frames her personal narrative relative to the importance of a high quality educational experience for each student in every classroom and every school.  She will bring her personal and professional experiences to positively contribute to the equity, access and opportunity agenda already established within the district. Some of Dr. Johnson’s responsibilities will include Office of Civil Rights concerns, Title I programming, Affirmative Action, Program/Student Equity, the district teacher evaluation process, and the district's Undoing Racism training and related professional development work.  You may contact Dr. Johnson at 973-509-4030 or by email

Dr. Felice A. Harrison-Crawford, Director of Operations and School Support Services

A lifelong resident and product of the Montclair Public Schools (MPS), Dr. Harrison-Crawford earned a B.S. from Northeastern University’s Boston Bouv’e College of Human Service Professions, an M.A. in Teaching, and an M.A. in Supervision and Administration from Montclair State College (University), completed all course work towards an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and earned her doctorate in Educational Administration and Leadership from Seton Hall University. She served as the MPS Chief Human Resources Officer/Assistant Superintendent for Personnel for four years, Director of School Community Relations for two years, principal of  Nishuane Elementary School for 10 years, and assistant principal for four years. Prior to MPS, Dr. Harrison-Crawford served as the Educational Director for Head Start, Montclair Child Development Center, Inc., and as an Area Program Coordinator for the Newark Preschool Council, Inc. Her commitment to educating youth has earned her a multitude of community awards. Dr. Harrison-Crawford oversees the PreK initiative; registration, re-registration and school placement requests; student attendance; parent and community partnerships; violence, vandalism, and suspension reporting; policy database and updates; summer camps; notice approval; and NJQSAC. You may contact her at 973-509-4015 or by email.  

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Kozlik, Interim Director of Pupil Services

Theodore (Ted) Kozlik, Ed.D, has been an Interim Director of Pupil Services in Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Assistant Superintendent for Student Services in the Livingston School District; Interim Director of Special Services for the Warren Township Schools; an Interim Director of Special Services in Berkeley Heights and an Interim Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Wyckoff Public Schools. For more than 24 years he served as the Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services in Westfield and Director of Pupil Personnel Services in Franklin Township for 12 years. He is certified as a school administrator, principal, supervisor, school psychologist (NJ&NY), LDT-C, Director of Student Personnel Services, Teacher of the Handicapped and holds National Certification as School Psychologist. Kozlik earned his doctorate from Teachers College/Columbia University NY; graduated with honors in school psychology from CCNY, earned his Ed.M. from Rutgers University and holds M.A.s from Newark State College (Kean) and Glassboro (Rowan University) in Student Personnel Services and Special Education, respectively. Dr. Kozlik will be handling all matters related to Special Education. He can be reached at 973-509-4022 or by email

Ms. Jennifer Bloch, Director of Special Programs K-12 and 6-12 Math/Science

Jennifer Bloch is a former math teacher and AVID coordinator at Montclair High School who returned to the District as the Director of Math in 2014.  A motivated and dedicated educator for over 20 years, she has taught math in  rural, urban and suburban areas from Sumter, SC to Montclair and Newark for over 15 years in grades 8 through 12 and college. She has more than 10 years of experience as a school administrator/coordinator, including five years as a Vice Principal in Arts HS, Newark. She has been a part-time college math professor and was the creator and coordinator of the College Algebra Support Initiative at Rutgers University in Newark for over 10 years.  A pivotal experience was in coordinating AVID, Advancement Via Individual Determination, a program that promotes minority achievement as well as good pedagogy and practices for staff.   This year her responsibilities have expanded to include coordinating K-12 Programs, supervising Grades 6-12 Math and Science Departments, coordinating NCLB/ESSA grants, AVID District Director, District Test Coordinator and student data management. Ms. Bloch can be reached at 973-509-4038 or by email.  

LaMonica McIver, Director of Human Resources

LaMonica McIver is a Newark native, alumnus of Bloomfield College, B.A., in English Literature, and M.A. in Educational Leadership & Policy and Procedure from Seton Hall University. She has worked in the field of Human Resources in the educational sector for over 12 years, serving Essex (Newark Public Schools), Burlington (Willingboro Public Schools), and Hudson (Secaucus Public Schools) counties. In addition, she has over 15 years experience dedicated to community involvement and engagement and non-profit organizations. Ms. McIver will be handling all personnel matters and can be reached at 973-509-4005 or by email.

Steve DiGeronimo, Interim Business Administrator (November 1)

Mr. Steve DiGeronimo is a Montclair native and graduate of Montclair High School. His career as a Business Administrator (BA) spanned 19 years. Most recently he served as Business Administrator for Millburn Public Schools. Prior to that he taught in our schools for 15 years and also coached for five years at the high school. The Business Administrator is responsible for critical financial and operational aspects of the district, including budget management in alignment with the district’s mission and goals, security, transportation, buildings and grounds, and regulatory compliance. Mr. DiGeronimo can be reached at 973-509-4050. 

TBD, Director of Technology

 The Director of Technology’s role is to provide vision and leadership for developing and implementing information technology initiatives throughout the district and to coordinate the planning and implementation of our IT systems in support of the district’s daily operations including both hardware and software. For all Information Technology inquiries, please call 973-509-6429.

Benjamin Selby, Transportation Supervisor

In transportation for over 10 years, Benjamin Selby has certification in several areas of Transportation and is currently receiving certification from Rutgers University in Transportation. Selby is a Certified Classroom Trainer for FEMA in TIMS (Traffic Incident Management) and is also attending Federal Training at TSI (Traffic Safety institute). Please refer any transportation issues to Mr. Selby at 973-509-4055. 

Marcos Vargas, Director of Secondary Education

Marcos Vargas began his career as an alternate route teacher of English with Newark Public Schools in 1999 at Barringer High School where he was a Future Teachers and alternate route mentor,  a member of the Language Arts Literacy Editorial Review Committee and Textbook Selection Committee. One of his biggest accomplishments was instituting a sustainable AP English program. In 2005, he transitioned to Dumont Public Schools where he successfully instituted the same high quality AP English Literature and Composition course. In 2011, he returned to Newark Public Schools as an administrator where he served as Department Chairperson of the Humanities for the Ninth Grade Barringer Success Academy from 2011-2012 and English Department Chairperson at Barringer, 2012-2013. In 2013, Vargas served as District Supervisor of ELA, 6-12 for the Irvington Public Schools where he led the ushering in of the Common Core by providing focused PD on the shifts in ELA, revamping curriculum and adopting new instructional materials. Vargas holds M.A. degrees in English and in Educational Leadership. Director Vargas will be in charge of 6-12 language arts, social studies, world language, and English as a second language. He can be reached at 973-509-4030 or by email

Edward Wilson, Renaissance Principal

Born in Myrtle Beach, SC and raised in Newark, NJ, Edward Wilson was educated in the Newark Public Schools where he learned early in high school that he wanted to pursue a career in teaching. As an EOF graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey, Wilson majored in history and education.  Mr. Wilson worked at East Orange Public Schools as a history teacher for seven years and then made the transition to working on the child study team for another eight years before becoming an administrator. In the Teaneck Public Schools, he served in a dual role as both an Assistant Principal and District Supervisor for the last four and half years. Principal Wilson can be reached at Renaissance School at 973-509-2566 or by email.  

Dustin Bayer, Montclair High School Director of Guidance

Dustin Bayer brings a strong skill set in all aspects of college and career planning, as well as extensive knowledge as a counseling professional. Bayer served as a guidance counselor at Mount Olive High School since 2010, assuming leadership capacity in numerous roles during his tenure. He served as School Test Coordinator, Anti-Bullying Specialist, NCAA Liaison and Local Scholarship Coordinator. Prior to Mount Olive, he was employed at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ as a Recovery Specialist in an outpatient crisis unit. Bayer also has nearly 10 years of experience in the field of mental health. He earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Rhode Island, M.S. in School Counseling from Capella University, and M.A. in Educational Leadership from Thomas Edison State University. All guidance matters at Montclair High School can be referred to Mr. Bayer at 973-509-4118 or by email.  

School and Board Calendar Changes

  • November 8, Election Day, Schools CLOSED
  • January 23, Schools OPEN for students
  • November 30, Board of Education meeting CANCELLED

Around our Schools

Click on the images below, to read the stories behind them, and browse our news stories for more on the latest happenings!

Kids posing for the camera outside Hillside
Kids on bikes
Medical workers checking vital signs

Updated: 11/13/2017