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Rex and Roxy Attended Our First Mendham Township School Board Meeting Last Night to Welcome New Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison

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Last week, London and Maddie came home with a memo in their “backpack mail” announcing the good news that the Mendham Township Board of Education has hired a new Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Kristopher Harrison will join us on November 16th, directly from the South Orange/Maplewood School District, a district with over 5, 000 students, where he served in a number of capacities, most recently as Principal of Maplewood Middle School for five years.

Rex and I succeeded in getting one of our favorite teenage babysitters to keep an eye on London and Maddie last night, and we attended our first ever Mendham Township School Board meeting. The evening was uplifting. While the formal meeting lasted less than 30 minutes, Rex and I were both pleased and impressed with our new Superintendent of Schools, Kristopher Harrison, who greeted the two of us with a friendly smile and a firm handshake before taking the seat in front of us as the meeting started.

As he spoke, we learned that Kris Harrison is a charismatic leader who has a track record of getting and keeping teachers and kids excited about school, creating a collaborative environment that empowers teachers and gives them the tools they need to enrich the minds of their students. He spoke about his experience in bringing a school to life, and making it a place people want to be. Turns out he shares my concern that there are tremendous obstacles, economic and otherwise, that could cause our children to be the first generation that has not “done better” than their parents. Instead of accepting the obstacles as insurmountable, Kris Harrison appears to be up for the challenge of preparing our children to succeed, encouraging them to “make people’s heads spin” (in admiration) as they leave our Middle School to enter Mendham High School and later the “real world.”

Those of you who know me personally or who have heard me share my thoughts at various public “principal chats” at Mendham Township Elementary School know that my “agenda” focuses on the high end of academics, energizing a gifted and talented program before students reach the middle school. For too long, our schools’ answer to “no child left behind” had been to slow down so everyone could keep up. Before Dr. Christine Johnson announced her resignation last Spring, she appeared to be on track to “raise the bar” of academic excellence in the Mendham Township Schools. Last night, Kris Harrison gave us every indication that he’s the right guy to take over where Dr. Christine Johnson left off in her quest for academic excellence in the Mendham Township Schools.

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