Getting called into the principal’s office is a dream come true for Erin Embon.
And because of that the 22-year veteran of the Wall Township School District just may be the most excited person inside the Wall Intermediate School today as the district on Thursday kicks off its new school year with the first day of classes.
Embon, 43, on Thursday begins her first day as principal of the Intermediate School, the latest in a long history with the school district that began when she was a student at West Belmar Elementary School.
Embon, a lifelong Wall Township resident, takes the reins of the grade six-through-eight school from longtime principal Gary Azzolini, whose retirement after 16 years with the district was effective Sept. 1.
“I’m super excited,’’ Embon said in an interview Wednesday. “I really think this is like a dream come true job – the kids, the teachers, what could be better?’’
Embon, who as a teen attended the Intermediate School, previously taught math at Wall High School, a position she held for 11 years. She then moved into administration, first as a supervisor of math instruction for grades 6 through 12 and, for the last three years, the district’s supervisor of instruction.
The Wall Township Board of Education at its Aug. 20 meeting approved Embon’s appointment. She will be paid a salary of $141,605.
Embon, who described her management approach as “collaborative,’’ said she sought out the principal’s position because she craved more day-to-day interaction with students.
“I just love the Intermediate School and this position offered me a more direct line of affecting change,’’ she said. “That’s something you miss when you’re in administration.’’
Embon is taking over the Intermediate School as it struggles to advance its ranking on statewide standardized tests.
Although it was ranked as having a high academic achievement in comparison to schools throughout the state, it “significantly lags’’ behind schools with a similar demographic, according to the NJ School Performance report.
Embon was quick to point to areas where the school performed well, specifically the 8th grade math scores and pointed to other flaws in the past year’s scoring system.
But, she said, there have been improvements in the academic performance overall in the recent past, which she attributes to the institution of the modified block scheduling that effectively doubles the amount of time pupils spend in math and language arts classes.
Embon said she expects to place a premium on the curriculum rigor, with an eye toward making grades more meaningful and ensuring that Intermediate students are well prepared to enter high school.
“I’m actually looking forward to the next year’s results,’’ Embon said.
Embon said a Tuesday meeting with teachers and staff helped her get ready for the school year.
“I told them that they may not always agree with my decisions,’’ Embon said. “But every decision I make will be for the benefit of the students.”