Spotswood selects new superintendent

Walter Uszenski has served numerous educational roles


The Spotswood Board of Education has tapped a South Jersey school official to fill the role of retiring Superintendent of Schools Jack Krewer.

Walter Uszenski Walter Uszenski Walter Uszenski, currently the superintendent and school principal for Mannington Township, Salem County, will officially take over in Spotswood when Krewer retires on Nov. 1.

Board of Education Vice President Donna Faulkenberry said the board chose Uszenski because he seemed the candidate best suited to continue along the path that Krewer has carved. She said he is also very communicative and maintains an open-door policy.

The board looked at several applicants and conducted interviews, but Uszenski stood out, she said.

“He pretty much did in Mannington what Dr. Krewer did for us,” Faulkenberry said. “He helped to realign the curriculum to bring it in line with state standards. We were confident he would take what Dr. Krewer did and bring it forward and enhance it. He’s just a very good man and his character stood out in the references.”

“I knew of Spotswood, and I know it is a great district,” Uszenski said. “I heard raves, especially about Dr. Krewer. I thought it was an opportunity to step into a great school district.”

Uszenski began his educational career as a math teacher at Saint James School in Woodbridge, where he ultimately served as principal. He then moved on to Woodbridge Public Schools, working as a special education teacher at Colonia High School, as principal of Woodbine Avenue Elementary School and principal of Iselin Middle School. After serving as principal of Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School in Monmouth County, and just prior to his recent tenure in Mannington, he was the interim superintendent and principal of Liberty Academy Charter School in Jersey City, as well as an adjunct professor of elementary, middle and secondary education at Kean University.

In addition to serving as superintendent in the pre-kindergarten through eighthgrade Mannington district, he has served as director of special education and testing coordinator. While there, he aligned all curriculum with state standards and provided leadership to quad-district curriculum integration at Salem High School, according to a press release from the Spotswood board. Uszenski is a proponent of the Madeline Hunter Model of Direct Instruction and Effective Schools Research, and brings a K-12 mindset with the focus being on students competitively graduating from high school, officials said.

“We felt he was the best fit for our district in terms of curriculum background and varied jobs,” Board President Richard O’Brien said of Uszenski. “He’s got the blend of curriculum skills and people skills we felt was best for our district.” he board held a special meting Friday to appoint Uszenski and introduce him to the public.

Uszenski said he looks forward to continuing what he described as quality programs offered at Spotswood schools, and working on the curriculum. In addition, he said he wants to work with constituent groups such as parents, students and teachers to further the progress made over the past several years.

“I want to meet with them to get a complete understanding of how to lead this district,” he said.

Faulkenberry said the board found Uszenski to be ubiquitous as a school official.

“He was involved in attending sports and plays. He was very visible. He had done a lot of community outreach, and that was important to the board and community. It really was a pretty easy decision,” she said.

Aside from his professional career, Uszenski is a longstanding member of the Woodbridge Knights of Columbus and Woodbridge Elks. He has served as an emergency medical technician with the Woodbridge First Aid Squad. He has also served as a varsity basketball coach and junior varsity basketball, soccer and softball coach.

Uszenski will work with Krewer for 10 days in October to ensure a smooth transition, officials said.

“The Spotswood Board of Education is very excited that Dr. Uszenski will be joining our district,” O’Brien said in the press release. “We carefully considered the feedback from our community as well as our advisory committee, and feel that he represents all that is important to our stakeholders.”

The board plans to formally introduce Uszenski to residents of the three communities it serves — Spotswood, Helmetta and Milltown — and will announce those plans in the upcoming months.

As for Krewer, Faulkenberry said some of the improvements he instituted include an upgraded curriculum that includes advance placement classes. “He also created a five-year plan that our new superintendent can run with,” she said.

Faulkenberry said the district will miss Krewer, but termed his retirement as well- deserved.

“He has been quite personable and wonderful to work with,” she said.