Meet South Orange-Maplewood New Superintendent Tuesday, April 7

by The Village Green
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The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will host a “Meet and Greet” with its candidate for new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.

The forum will be held at the Columbia High School Library on Tuesday, April 7 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Board President Wayne Eastman will introduce Ramos, who will then address guests and take questions, according to a district spokeswoman.

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The BOE announced March 16 that it planned to hire Ramos, currently the CEO and principal of Middle East International School in Doha City, Qatar. Ramos has served as the Deputy Commissioner of Education in the State of Connecticut, and the Superintendent of Schools in both Watertown, CT and Bridgeport, CT.

Ramos would start work on August 1, 2015 under a 4-year, 11-month contract. He would be paid $177,500 per year, per the state salary cap. The terms of the contract are not yet finalized.

Read more about the reasons behind the BOE’s decision to hire Dr. Ramos here.

Read Dr. Ramos’s letter to the community here.

Here is the full press release from the South Orange-Maplewood School District announcing the decision:

The eight members of the Board of Education of the South Orange-Maplewood school district participating in the Superintendent search announced Monday evening that, after an extensive search process, they have voted strongly and unanimously to hire Dr. John Ramos as the new Superintendent of the district.

Dr. Ramos will begin his new post as Superintendent of South Orange Maplewood School District as of August 1, 2015. He is currently serving as the CEO/Principal at the Middle East International School in Doha, Qatar. He is also a Leadership Consultant at the American Consortium Center for Training in Qatar. Dr. Ramos’ thirty year career in education spans a wide range of experiences, including serving as Director of Minority Student Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, Principal/Director of a laboratory high school in Providence, Rhode Island, Principal of Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Connecticut, Superintendent in Watertown and Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Interim Superintendent in Groton, Connecticut.

Dr. Ramos holds a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brown University, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, and a Doctorate in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Ramos’ doctoral dissertation focused on analyzing high school accreditation and advocacy design. His academic background and his long experience in developing the team culture and shared decision-making required for success will bring the district valuable skills at a time when we are undergoing Middle States accreditation and developing a strategic vision for Columbia High School.

The hiring of Dr. Ramos follows an eight month long search process by the district that included input from the community, administration and staff. The initial step of the process was community focus groups, which led to the development of the search criteria and the prioritization of areas of focus for the new Superintendent.

The Superintendent search criteria fell into four broad categories: 1. management experience; 2. financial expertise; 3. strategy and vision; and 4. character traits and personality. During the search process, the school board reviewed applications, supporting documentation, and conducted multiple rounds of interviews with prospective candidates.

Contract terms for Dr. Ramos include a four year and eleven month contract with a base salary of $177,500. Board President Wayne Eastman stated, “We’re excited to have Dr. Ramos joining us. He has a focus on listening to and empowering people that we think is exactly what we need to lift ourselves from being good to being great.”

The Board wishes to thank District administration, faculty members and, especially, the members of the community for their valuable input. The community focus groups provided valuable insight, which helped shape the eventual search criteria for the new Superintendent. Hiring a Superintendent is one of the most important jobs of the Board of Education, and partnering with the community was vital to the process.

Dr. Ramos will be visiting South Orange and Maplewood in April. At that time, there will be an opportunity for him to engage with students, District administration and staff, ASCA and SOMEA leadership, PTA and community leaders, and the community at large. A community forum is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, April 7th from 7:30 – 9:00pm. Dr. Ramos will also be visiting schools. Plans are being finalized now, and more details will be forthcoming shortly.

Wayne Eastman, Board President.

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