School's Out For Superintendent James Habel
Habel will be out for up to six months
When Wall Township students leave school to begin the holiday break today, so too will district Superintendent James Habel.
The difference between the two is that the kids will return in January to finish out the school year.
Habel, who is in the waning months of his sometimes embattled tenure with the district, will be burning up to six months of accumulated vacation and sick time as he takes time off for a medical leave that he requested from the Board of Education. Habel is leaving to tend to an undisclosed medical problem, board members said.
The school board has met once already and plans to meet again after the break to find an interim superintendent to take the helm for the last six months of Habel’s contract, which expires in June.
“We’d like to get someone in place by mid-January,’’ said school board President John Tavis said Thursday.
Until then, the district will be under the auspices of the Monmouth County Office of the Executive Superintendent, Tavis said.
The job of Interim Superintendent has been posted for Wall school district employees interested in the position. The deadline to apply is Dec. 25, Tavis said.
The school board also is mulling a list of names provided by the state School Board Association and others.
The district’s administration has been in upheaval for months.
In July, former Curriculum Director Marianne Gaffney resigned to take a similar position in Cherry Hill. Gaffney's position originally was not going to be filled, but the decision was reversed.
In September, new Curriculum Director Mary Jane Garibay was hired.
Then, in October, former Assistant Superintendent Sandra Brower quit to take a Superintendent position in Lacey Township.
Meanwhile, a nationwide search for a new, full-time superintendent is ongoing.
Tavis said it was possible that Habel would come back early from his leave, but he was doubtful.
It was not immediately known Thursday exactly how much accrued vacation and sick time Habel has acquired.