BOE Chooses New Brick Schools Superintendent

Walter Uszenski will lead Brick district

Dr. Walter Uszenski will be Brick's next schools superintendent.

The township resident of 15 years, who currently serves as superintendent in the Spotswood school district in Middlesex County, will take the helm of the Brick school district Aug. 1 as chief schools administrator.

Uszenski, 60, was present at a meeting Tuesday night at Brick Township High School where the Board of Education unanimously voted to recommend his hiring and four year contract to the county executive schools superintendent.

"In my opinion, his character, his integrity, his honesty and his leadership qualities were outstanding," said Board President Sharon Kight, looking back at interviews conducted over the past few weeks. "They just came out loud and clear."

"I think that's something this district has been looking for for a long time," she added.

"Living in the district, I've always had my eye on Brick schools," said Uszenski, who was accompanied by family members at Tuesday night's meeting.

"My dream has always been to have my capstone. I've felt that being a Brick leader would be my dream come true."

Uszenski said his specialities have been in the areas of curriculum and community outreach.

"I think we can partner with the community, get them to come in," he said. "They have to be active partners."

Uszenski added his past academic endeavours have included instituting four-year math programs at the high school level, advancing honors and AP programs and focusing on foundations in the lower grades.

He also said he has introduced modified block scheduling at the high school level and has instituted peer evaluations among teachers to be used as a learning tool.

"I'm a collaborative leader, and a team player," he said.

Uszenski will earn $175,000 per year as superintendent in Brick. In Spotswood, he was to be paid $150,648 for the 2012-13 school year, according to a copy of the K-12 district's school budget.

He will replace current Superintendent Walter Hrycenko, who will revert to the position of assistant superintendent, the last position in which he holds tenure, on Aug 1. The current assistant superintendent, Patricia Lorusso, will be bumped to the position of principal, her last tenured position.

pTpoint May 31, 2012 at 02:28 AM
that guy looks miserable. I'd have a smile on my face making 175.000 A yr Plus all the perks & benefits I guess it cant get any WORSE.... right???
J.JONES May 31, 2012 at 03:30 AM
but lets fix the bleachers first !!!!
Jen May 31, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Haha, I thought the same thing, ptpoint. He looks like he's about to be ill. His wife looks pretty happy though....
My Two Cents Worth May 31, 2012 at 08:25 AM
@Lil'DragonMom, You sure did your homework! We need more people presenting facts, or people like @Watchman can get away with putting out misleading information and making misrepresentations. Hope Dr. Uszenski takes a little time to read the posts here.
Ashamed May 31, 2012 at 09:51 AM
Jen, that's funny...only problem is that isn't his Wife in the picture but is actaully the BOE President Sharon Kight. I would have to agree that she does look awfully happy in that picture.
Ashamed May 31, 2012 at 10:04 AM
Joseph, I have been careful not to rip on the new Superintendent in comments, he hasn't done anything wrong, he just took a job he was offered (kind of the way McConnell did as principal at Drum Point or Dowling did as football coach in Brick or Wolf did as football coach in Lakewood). People get offered better jobs and take them, that's what happens, and in MOST cases people are allowed to do their jobs. I don't fault him and hope he does well in Brick, we need him to! Now this BOE, well I have ripped them, for their arrogance, for their vindictiveness and unprofessional attitude. This has been unacceptable....they need to change or this will continue to happen towards them and then they will be fired. Good luck to Dr. Uszenski!
Ratiocination May 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Congratulations and good luck to our new superintendent! I do hope, however, he is not reading this, since so many of the posters are representing the people of this town as negative, ignorant bullies. For the record, the township budget and the school budget are two different, separate budgets. Also, the public does not see the personnel files for school district employees so the BOE bases their decisions on ALL the information, not just bits and pieces or how likable someone is. Even the principal you are threatening the board about only handed out two of her confidential evaluations to the public. Where were the other four, since nontenureds are supposed to have three per year? Also, the board members are the 7 elected volunteers--I think many are confusing the board and the administration. The super, asst super, and business admin that sit with them are the highly paid employees. I agree that past boards stifled the public and were rude to them (remember the giant stopwatch?), but this current board always allows the public to speak. Perhaps those complaining have not attended meetings since the the last two presidents were running them. Here are the 2010-11 salaries for the district: http://php.app.com/edstaff/results2.php?county=OCEAN&district=BRICK+TOWNSHIP&school=%25&lname=&fname=&job1=%25&tfm_order=DESC&tfm_orderby=SALARY. Come on, people, go outside and get some sun--the melatonin and vitamin D might improve your mood. Smile!
michele sunny May 31, 2012 at 12:34 PM
they r offering her a another position in the district so why r people saying she is getting fired ....the drum point principal I'm talking about....also maybe whoever is getting bumped there was asked if u wanted to be principal at any school in brick what school would u want? drum point is a beautiful school the landscaping is nice,it has a awesome playground...my daughter goes to lanes mill and her playground sucks....anyways back to my comment the new guy does look ill
My Two Cents Worth May 31, 2012 at 01:19 PM
@michelle sunny - would you rather be president or vice president of your company?
michele sunny May 31, 2012 at 01:30 PM
i would take what is offered ....her salary isn't changing is it? i rather have a job then no job...right now I'm in the hospital field making 45,000 would i like more money ...yes but this economy is in the tank u take what you can a job is a job....
My Two Cents Worth May 31, 2012 at 01:38 PM
@michele sunny, with this BOE, and in this regard, economy is not the issue.
Ashamed May 31, 2012 at 01:56 PM
michele, for the record here is what the deal is: McConnell is getting fired as a principal, they will offer her a lower job as vice principal (because they have to), for less money. Then they will have to go and promote someone into that same principal position, I am sure they have a payoff of some friend in mind, this has nothing to do with merit. These actions are not cutting anything, they are not saving anything, they are doing this against the recommendation of the administraiton, who is tasked to make these decisions. As for the teachers they are firing, they too will have to go and hire more teachers. Pat Dowling, a teacher of 20 years is being fired because he took a football coaching position that Warren Wolf didn't want him to, his one asst he brought with him Sacco is also being fired. Reductions are one thing, these are NOT reductions, these are FIRINGS against the administrators recommendations. They will rehire into these spots. This BOE is clearly taking vindictive steps, it is wrong, they are wrong.
Sad to See Him Leave May 31, 2012 at 03:53 PM
As a former Spotswood student, I am sad to see Dr. Uszenski leave the district. I am also ashamed at some of these comments. For those of you who know nothing about the Spotswood school district, although it is one of the lower-paid districts in the state, the quality of the education that I had received is invaluable. Our schools have become far more diverse over the past few years, and ignorant comments such as labeling Spotswood as a "lily-white" community are atrocious, unfounded, and closed-minded. Spotswood may be much smaller than Brick, but judging by many of these comments, a few of the residents of Brick seem to have a superiority complex. The Brick school district is lucky to have found a leader like Dr. Uszenski. He is just as this article describes him. Rather than sitting at his desk all day, he makes it a point to go out into the schools and to get to know the entire student body. He listens to our concerns and actually acts on them in a positive way. Maybe that should be more of a focus than the pay raise that he will be receiving. Currently, education is treated more like a business than anything else. I only hope that when my children attend school, students are once again the highest priority.
Joseph Woolston Brick May 31, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Maybe he just had met the other board members or read the posts on this board before the picture was taken.
JD May 31, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Sounds like you are not from Spotswood... what brings you to brick patch when spotswood doesn't have patch??? How did you find this article!! Related to Uszenski perhaps?? Anyway... he is in for a rude awakening when senior citizens start speaking at board meetings... or if he is not a puppet of the BOE... etc The comments are around the $175K payrate... which is the going rate and I have no problem with that... most of the salary comments come from seniors!!
Joseph Woolston Brick May 31, 2012 at 04:42 PM
We know that the BOE members are elected volunteers, volunteers they may be but the code word is elected. Many use the BOE's as stepping stones to higher political office and power. There's the other code word POWER. With politicians it's not the money, it's the power, the ability to pick up a phone and get what you want when you want it. Look around at all the mayors and other political types that have said they only want a dollar a year as pay. Really? If they are willing to do the work and only get paid a dollar a year, then you know damn well they're after other compensation and that other compensation is.... power. Most politicians consider power worth more than any legal tender you can give them. Power to a politician is a drug more addicting than heroin. So it critical for us to keep an eye on people in the BOE, make sure their decisions are based on facts and not political favor as they head to bigger and better positions. It is important to train our future politicians to know that they work for us and not the opposite way around, volunteer or not. The BOE is that perfect training facility for us.
Joseph Woolston Brick May 31, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Many of my neighbors have ripped their kids out of the Brick system and now pay tuition to Point Beach High and provide their own transportation to there as Point doesn't. With Brick being a larger town and a larger school budget, shouldn't it be the opposite way around? Why is that? Maybe the new school superintendent can make that happen given a chance.
Joseph Woolston Brick May 31, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Oh that explains the ill look on his face. Kite has that effect on people.
Daniel Nee (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Ashamed -- McConnell is going through a legal process to determine whether or not she is eventually granted tenure. Dowling has not been a Brick teacher for 20 years, as you make it sound. I know most people know this, but in case some don't, I do not want them to be misinformed.
Ashamed May 31, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Dan Nee - You say that McConnell is going through a legal process like somehow she hasn't been voted down tenure by this BOE? I know this is how Kight was trying to spin it as well. The fact is she has been voted out of her position by this BOE, they could change that decision at any time, they have not done so yet. The legal process you are referring to is that she, and any, have a legal right to demand a public or private hearing, as does Dowling, Sacco or anyone else denied tenure against the adminstration's recommendation. But this doesn't change the fact that this BOE has have voted to deny her tenure as a principal. If the BOE changes their prior vote than it is just that, a change. As for Dowling, you are correct, he has only spent 3 of his 20 years teaching at Brick.
tooosoon May 31, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Say what you want about Brick, ... Would MUCH rather have my kids in Brick then Point... I have cousins& (now cousins children that where/are raised in Point, & know of the Youth there today ( worse then it was 20 years ago) While Brick may have its flaws , By far A MUCH better well rounded community, & lets face it much more diverse then Point ... Where basically its all "vaniilla" The kids may not realize it, But there is a World outside of Point. Sorry Disagree Strongly about that comment & anyone that is doing that is in lala land & think they are protecting their kids while the truth is its hurting them ...... Just another step to over protecting kids & building a bunch of self centered whimps...
Joseph Woolston Brick May 31, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Toosoon, your comments a joke right? I'm talking Point Beach schools not Point Boro, there is a world of difference. You would rather your kids go to a inferior school than a superior school to learn the ways of the world? Do I have a school for you! It's in the South Bronx, very diverse and hardly anyone graduates from it. It's situated in a wonderful neighborhood and surrounded by razor wire. I'm sure your kids would learn a lot there!
it should be fun May 31, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@ joseph Woolston I agree w toosoon, Not compairing Point to the South Bronx (( however would LOVE to see a kid from POINT spend 24 hrs there))) kids from Point have no idea what the real world is about, I grew up in Jersey City, Brick is paradise compared to JC. BUT my peers never assumed anything. MOST of us worked hard, Tried are best & wanted to do well in school, some of the smartest people I know are from inner cities because they want to do everything they can to improve themselves and have a better life. ( not waiting or expecting someone else to do it for them) agree raising a bunch of whimps these days... Oh & we grew up playing with a broom stick & played in the street, & had a great time no sod fields in the middle of the street... Get a grip & stop complaining, sounds like alot of you Need to take a ride threw south Bronx & realize how good you all got it!!
Seen Enough May 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM
But Brick will soon have state of the art bleachers, Beach, Boro and the Bronx can't say that, thank you Wolf, Talty and Kight. Can't wait for the photo tour this fall.
J.JONES May 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Everyone has a choice where to live.and you just have to make the move and do the best you can to survive.. And your correct this a good area to live with your families ..but its getting bad slowly..look around ..not the same as 10 yrs ago..or 20 yrs..the times they are a changing..
lol June 01, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Why are we getting new bleachers when the inside of the high school is falling apart ?
Jerseyclone June 01, 2012 at 03:18 PM
The BOE has hired a new superintendent and Dr. Walter Uszenski is the " chief schools administrator" and the demoted Walter Hrycenko will be the assistant superintendent or assistant schools administrator. Saying that, why do we need James Edwards as the business administrator????????????Seems like another administrative waste of taxpayer money. NJ and especially Brick, are totally in a state of disarray when it comes to our children's education. I have observed family members in other parts of the country whose children are more advanced, the class rooms better equipped and the property tax bill 50% or more less then Bricks. Also, the schools are not falling apart. Brick better watch out because we being invaded and our tax bill is only going to go higher unless it is controlled.
Sad to See Him Leave June 05, 2012 at 01:15 AM
JD - it's called "Google". This involves our district too.
Jean Peace June 26, 2012 at 04:49 PM
someone did NOT do their homework with this appointment!!!
Resident July 29, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Whether I support the BOE or not, the residents of Brick voted these people onto the BOE. If you don't like them, find others to run against them! Residents can't just sit and complain. If you're not happy, learn more about what being a BOE member really is and run for a spot when it's time for elections!


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