WEST MILFORD The search is over for West Milford's new superintendent.
The West Milford Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint James V. McLaughlin, Ed.D., to the position of superintendent of West Milford Township Public Schools effective July 1, 2012.
The board then approved a three-year contract with McLaughlin for the position through June 30, 2015, at a salary of $165,500 per year.
Board President Dave Richards was not present at the meeting; Trustee Matt Conlon abstained on the contract vote, and on an earlier vote for reappointment of unaffiliated board office personnel he recused himself.
Experience and expertise McLaughlin comes to the district from Cranford Public Schools in Union County.
According to the board, McLaughlin has been part of the Cranford School District for 11 years, beginning as director of special services and currently serves as assistant superintendent. Cranford Public Schools have eight schools and about 4,000 students.
He received his doctorate in education administration and supervision from Seton Hall University, where he also received an educational specialist's degree. He earlier earned his master's degree from Kean College and holds a bachelor's from St. John's University in elementary and special education.
McLaughlin is an active member of several professional associations. He currently serves as president of the New Jersey Council of Special Education Administrators and is past president of the New Jersey Association of Pupil services Administrators.
McLaughlin served as an adjunct professor at Kean University, St. Peter's College and Caldwell College.
"Top of the heap" Trustee Greg Bailey said McLaughlin "has risen to the top of the heap here in a very long, arduous and thorough search and he comes to West Milford with excellent credentials and a very strong resume."
Bailey gave those in the audience a chuckle, telling McLaughlin he can call him anytime from 5 a.m. until midnight if things get bad.
Trustee Marilyn Schultz said McLaughlin was "the right leader for West Milford," adding that he brings energy and experience to face the many challenges of the district.
Interim Superintendent John Petrelli has been at the helm of the district since the fall of 2010 after Bernice Colefield announced her retirement just a couple of days into the new school year.
Moving forward For his part, McLaughlin said his visits to the district left him most impressed by the sense of community he saw here in West Milford. He said the commitment of the community was further evidenced by the board deciding to keep the budget vote in the hands of the public, trusting the community would support the budget, and adding a full-day kindergarten program. He called it an unbelievable achievement to implement the kindergarten program and "a tremendous testament to the value this community places on its children."
McLaughlin said he is very excited and can't wait to get started here in West Milford.
I will make my deepest commitment to make my strongest effort each and every day to work along with the members of the Board of Education, with our parents, with our teachers; to ensure the best education that we can have for our children," said McLaughlin, "to both honor and enhance the achievements that we have in place, and there are many; but also to make advances and go forward.