New principal takes reins at Applegarth


Chari Chanley Chari Chanley MONROE — A new principal took the helm at the Applegarth Middle School last week.

Chari Chanley is already familiar to students and staff, as she has served as assistant principal at the school since August 2003. The Board of Education appointed her to the top spot on June 10. She replaces Jeff Gorman, who recently became the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum.

Board of Education President Amy Antelis said Chanley was selected from a pool of 63 applicants. The field was narrowed, and a panel of teachers, parents, administrators and support staff then interviewed the final 17 candidates.

“Through an online survey, the Applegarth community identified traits and skills they felt were essential for the collective vision for Applegarth. Interview questions were generated based on this vision,” Antelis said. “Chari Chanley was selected because she was the applicant who best matched the district’s vision for Applegarth school.”

The 41-year-old Toms River resident is the mother of Jordyne, 13, and Joshua, 10. Her husband Kenneth is a social studies teacher at Monroe Township High School.

Chanley has nine years of middle school administrative experience, including three as assistant principal at Southport Middle School in Port St. Lucie, Fla. She also taught middle school for seven years, and has been a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at Rowan University and in K- 12 Administration at Florida Atlantic University. Chanley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from New York University, and a Master of Arts degree in teaching from Monmouth University, West Long Branch.

Chanley noted that Applegarth was recognized this year by the state Department of Education as an “Aspiring School to Watch.” She said the school strives to pro- vide a safe, supportive and healthy environment that meets the educational, social, emotional and physical needs of all students. School administrators and staff, she said, recognize “that students are valued individuals who learn differently.”

When asked about Applegarth’s strengths and weaknesses, Chanley replied that the greatest strengths include the Applegarth team concept and the continuing education of teachers as lifelong learners through the daily professional development period.

A big challenge in the coming years will be making the move from the existing building on Applegarth Road to the current high school building on Perrineville Road. That facility will become the township’s middle school when the new high school opens across Schoolhouse Road in a section of Thompson Park. The current middle school building become an elementary school.

The middle school, in its new, larger location, will house grades six through eight instead of just the seventh and eighth grades.

All of this is on schedule to take effect in September 2011.

“At present, we are faced with the exciting challenge of transitioning to the existing high school and coming together as a sixth-through eighth-grade building,” Chanley said. “We are eager to continue to embrace true middle school philosophy with the inclusion of our sixth-grade students, teachers and parents. As principal, I plan to include all stakeholders [and to] create and implement a plan of action for this successful transition.”

In general, Chanley said, her own professional goal is to help create good citizens who live their lives true to themselves and exceed all expectations.