UPDATED: Kitchin named new superintendent

WEST MILFORD. Board of Education approves five-year contract with annual salary of $205,000.

| 03 Apr 2024 | 02:46

The Board of Education named Brian Kitchin as the new district superintendent, effective July 1, at a special meeting Thursday, March 28.

Board members also approved a five-year contract for Kitchin, who will be paid $205,000 a year.

He was selected from nine finalists; 29 people applied for the position.

Board president Claire Lockwood said Kitchin impressed board members “with his student focus, his achievements in building teacher and administrator capacity, his financial acuity, his commitment to the community, and his ability to build strong relationships.”

”We are delighted to have on our agenda for approval tonight a dynamic, innovative and visionary leader.”

Kitchin has been chief school administrator and superintendent of the Fredon Township School District in Sussex County for two years. The district serves grades pre-k through 6.

Before that, he was a middle school principal in Spotswood for four years and a health and physical education teacher in the Bridgewater Raritan Regional School District for nearly 10 years.

In his comments at the meeting, Kitchin said his job is to recognize the collective strengths of the community and of the staff as a whole.

”Finding ways to unlock that, finding ways to help each other learn and grow. And in many cases, as a school leader, getting out of the way and allowing the people who have the expertise to do what they do best and really drive this district forward. I think that’s really important.”

He sees parents and the school district as partners in raising children and making them productive members of society. That means the schools need to show community members what they are doing “and demonstrate some success in educating your children.”

While educators cannot know all the challenges that students will face in their lifetime, they need to arm them with the tools to take on those challenges, he said.

”That goes beyond just reading, writing, math, science. It’s everything. It’s helping them understand how to interact socially with one another. It’s helping them understand how to problem solve.”

Board member Teresa Dwyer said she was impressed by Kitchin’s commitment to the district. “I look forward to great things in West Milford. I look forward to those scores soaring. I look forward to good relationships between you and our staff.”

Board member Lynda Van Dyk said, “It excites me to know that we’re going to be moving forward with somebody who truly cares about the education of our students here.”

Mayor Michele Dale welcomed the new superintendent and thanked the board for their hard work and dedication in the search.

“I am confident with you at the helm and the dedication and passion of our teachers, staff, parents and community members, we will continue to build upon the strong foundation of excellence.”

Kitchin earned a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from The College of New Jersey and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Arizona State University.

In 2020, he received a Doctor of Educational Leadership from Centenary University in Hackettstown. His doctoral dissertation was a correlational study between self-esteem and academic achievement.

Lydia Furnari is serving as interim superintendent of the grades pre-K-12 district in West Milford through June 30. She was hired after former Superintendent Alex Anemone resigned last year. He held the post for seven years.