Superintendent takes to smaller-scale district

Staff Writer

By elaine van develde

Superintendent takes
to smaller-scale district

VERONICA YANKOWSKI  Leonard Kelpsh is taking on the superintendent’s position in Tinton Falls.VERONICA YANKOWSKI Leonard Kelpsh is taking on the superintendent’s position in Tinton Falls.

TINTON FALLS — He’s got the whole school district in his hands. He’s the borough’s new superintendent, Leonard Kelpsh.

Called to the office March 15 on good behavior, Kelpsh started his job as the chief schools’ administrator in the borough — a post the Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County, resident and former superintendent was looking forward to filling.

"I’m really a hands-on administrator" Kelpsh said last week on his second day on the job. "I’m coming from a K-12 district in which there were 6,200 students. In such a large district, the hands-on sense ends up getting inadvertently tossed aside."

Pointing out that Egg Harbor’s growth had escalated to more than 200 pupils a year, Kelpsh noted, "That’s growth at the rate of an entire school a year. In 1997, when I started, there were 4,500 kids in the district. When I left, there were 6,200. It got to the point that I was no longer recognizing the people I was hiring. I started to lose touch with the staff and kids, and I really didn’t want to be that type of superintendent."

The father of two young children, Kelpsh was attracted to the Tinton Falls schools because of what he deemed quality educational values and a tremendous rict potential. In fact, he’s in the process of moving his family to the borough for those reasons. Even his wife, who is in the education field as a guidance counselor, is looking for employment in the area.

In line with his hands-on work ethic, Kelpsh likes to think of his staff and students as an extended family for which he is a staunch advocate. "I like to be involved in staff development and curriculum," he added, "not to mention getting to know the students. Kids are my primary interest. They keep me young and on my toes — at school, at home."

Prior to his years, from 1997 to present, in the Egg Harbor Township district as a superintendent, Kelpsh was superintendent in the K-12 Ewing district in Mercer County, where he was top administrator for a student body of about 3,200 youngsters.

Administration of education may be his line of work, but on the subject of his own education, Kelpsh has a doctorate degree in educational administration from Temple University, Philadelphia. He also has a master’s degree in special education.