Saturday, June 14, 2014

BoE VP Ruthy Tyroler McAllister and her thoughts on Dr. Toback's departure

Dear Hoboken Board of Education Parents and the Hoboken Community,
As you all have heard Dr. Mark Toback has accepted a position as superintendent for the Wayne NJ school district.  I wish to share with you my personal thoughts on this matter.

Yes, as a Board Trustee I was aware of this potential situation, however it would have been unethical for me or any of the other eight board trustees to discuss a personnel situation until it is no longer confidential or we would have been exposing the district to possible litigation if the information was misused. As soon as the board was informed that this potential existed we began discussing as a full board what our next steps would be not only to find a permanent superintendent but also to ensure that the district continue to run smoothly during a possible interim period. 

In the state of NJ the average tenure for a superintendent is less than 3 years.  Dr. Toback is currently here over 3 years and our last permanent superintendent, Mr. Jack Raslowsky, was here about 2 years.  Our community has watched most of the schools in our town, transition to new leadership and also watched these parent groups feel anxiety during the selection and transition process; inevitably, the interim period passes and the new leader brings new ideas and new energy to the school.  

Dr. Toback will leave big shoes to fill, but I am confident as we begin the search for a replacement, we will find a capable committed individual who brings new ideas and energy to our schools. 

Parents, I want to address you directly and hopefully relieve some of your anxiety, I know how you are feeling because my son is a 6th grader at Wallace on his way next year (and he is EXTREMELY excited) to the Junior High School.  Remember, good leaders prepare an organization for every possibility.  An important part of leadership is ensuring that you empower your employees to perform their responsibilities independently.  A great leader insures that the organization can stand on its own even in their absence.  Your children remain in very capable hands.  Your principals are intact; they continue to report to the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Miguel Hernandez, who personally works with all our school administrators to assist them when they need it.  This happens today and it will continue to happen when Dr. Toback moves on.  When I was elected to the board in 2009, I worked with the Raslowsky administration, Interim Carter/Rusak Administration and now the Toback administration.  I have complete faith in the organization that Dr. Toback has built.

This district has made tremendous progress under Dr. Toback, the latest being the 93% language arts proficiently on the HSPA at the High School and the turnaround of Connors elementary school.  An important criterion of our first search was documented proof of high school improvement/success.  Though I can only speak for myself, this will still be a priority for me as the progress and tremendous momentum in our High School must continue.  With our dedication to revitalizing classroom resources, textbooks, smartboards, science labs and professional development our K-12 teachers engage our “twenty-first century” children every day to succeed and will continue to as we end this year and come back in September.

We need to come together as a community to celebrate the progress and success of our district and thank Dr. Toback for giving us three and a half years of steadfast commitment to our children.  I will miss him, as a colleague and a friend; however, I look forward to a new chapter in the Hoboken District Schools as they are re-energized by a new future leader.

Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better. —Bill Bradley

With kind regards,
Ruthy Tyroler McAllister

District Parent and Vice President of the Hoboken Board of Education