The longtime principal of Hazlet's Beers Street School gave a farewell to students and staff today.
Marc Natanagara said he has accepted a new position with the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. His appointment was finally approved by the Board of Education there, at a Monday night meeting where the long agenda stretched on past midnight.
"I really want to have a sphere of influence over many schools, rather than just one," said Natanagara, who has been principal at Beers Street School since 2001. "I've been getting more involved in issues beyond the building, like teacher evaluation and common course standards."
Beers Street School is one of two district schools serving students in fifth and sixth grades. Under Natanagara's leadership, the school has made charity an educational experience, participating in RAINE Foundation toy drives, pantry food drives, Walk-a-thons, Hoops for Heart, and efforts to learn about and help Sylvia's Children and the Mbiriizi School in Uganda, among many things.
The school has particpated in a district initiative with Monmouth University, which led to professional development in unit planning, Understanding by Design, essential teaching practices, and evaluation methods. Technology has been incoroporated into classrooms, and parental involvement has always remained strong.
Last year, Natanagara earned his doctorate at Seton Hall University in South Orange in educational leadership, management and policy. "Dr. N," as he is known to students, is 47, and lives in Ocean Township with his wife and three school-aged children. He sometimes plays guitar for the students at assemblies.
"I'm really going to miss the community. In some ways, its been more of our home than Ocean," he said. The principal, who has a gift for humor and open manner, often brought his own family to events at the school, which ranged from pet fairs, to drama productions, community club fundraisers and fairs. "My daughter actually cried when I told her," he said.
His replacement has not yet been named.