McCourt Will Not Seek Permanent Westwood Superintendent Job
Westwood Regional Schools Acting Superintendent Rory McCourt said it was not the right time for him to pursue a permanent position leading the district.
Rory McCourt, the popular acting superintendent of the Westwood Regional School District, said Thursday that he would not apply for the position permanently when his role ends June 30.
The Board of Education recently took the first steps in searching for a replacement for Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller, who resigned effective April 25 and is currently out on a paid leave of absence. McCourt, the district's director of elementary education and technology, has been filling in as acting superintendent for several months.
McCourt said that leading the district had been "a rewarding experience," but he ultimately believed it was not the right time for him to take a permanent superintendent job, adding that he still intends to pursue a doctorate degree.
"I really want to focus on curriculum and instruction," McCourt said.
Board members praised McCourt for the work he has done for the district so far.
"We will forever be grateful for what Mr. McCourt is doing," board President Roberta Hanlon said.
Charles Seipp, the president of the district Administrators Association, thanked McCourt for his "ethical and moral leadership."
The board agreed to post an ad searching for an interim superintendent, as they do not expect to hire a candidate before July 1.
During the meeting, board members also addressed criticism from residents over their decision to grant Zoeller a paid leave of absence.
Board member Carol Mountain said the board had consulted with their attorney for the least expensive and most efficient way to reach their "goal," and chose "the most fiscally responsible thing we could do."
Hanlon said she hoped people would begin to focus on positives in the district again.
"We've got to move past that boil," Hanlon said. "I'm not saying, 'let's forget what happened,' because none of us will."
The board also heard the first of several presentations from potential contractors who will help the board in their search for a new superintendent during the meeting Thursday. New Jersey School Boards Association rep Al Annunziata spoke to the board about the services the association offers.
Annunziata said the NJSBA has a pool of 400 candidates already on file and that he believed Westwood Regional Schools would not have any trouble finding someone to meet their requirements because it's a "high-performing district."
"I've already been asked about your district," Annunziata said.