Changes at the top at RBR

Risa Clay appointed as acting principal

Risa Clay Risa Clay LITTLE SILVER — Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) is realigning administrators due to the retirement of the district superintendent and the resignation of the high school principal.

At its Oct. 7 meeting, the Red Bank Regional Board of Education appointed Assistant Principal Risa Clay to the position of acting principal to succeed current Principal Jim Stefankiewicz, who has resigned effective Oct. 30 to become assistant superintendent in the Middletown Township School District.

The board was expected to name a new assistant principal to succeed Clay at the Oct. 21 meeting.

During the year, RBR’s new Superintendent, Dr. Howard Lucks, who officially joined RBR on Oct. 19, will have an opportunity to make his recommendations to the board for permanent appointments.

Dr. Edward Westervelt, who officially retires from the district on Nov. 1 after more than 11 years as superintendent, recommended Clay’s appointment based on her abilities and exceptional job performance at RBR.

Clay joined the district in 1992 as a student assistance coordinator. She cofounded the school-based youth services program The Source in 1999 and became its director. In 2000 she was additionally appointed supervisor for bilingual instruction. She was promoted to assistant principal in 2006.

Westervelt said Clay is qualified to step

into the role of principal.

“Risa has worked very closely with Jim Stefankiewicz over the past four years and is well prepared to take over the dayto day management of the building. She has built a strong rapport with all our school stakeholders. The programs she has supervised have earned both state and

national recognition and have significantly contributed to RBR’s continued success. She has performed well in every capacity and has great outreach to the community. I have every confidence that she will be an excellent principal.”

This year, RBR has introduced several new initiatives and programs that administrators and staff have carefully planned and executed. These include block scheduling and the four three-year small learning academies. RBR has also improved performance based on standardized tests, Advanced Placement test scores, graduation and college attendance rates, according to a press release from RBR.

“Our district’s success was attributable to a synergy of our school administrators, supportive staff, parents and Board of Education. All shared a vision to improve this school and present it as a model to others,” Westervelt said in the press release.

“Karen Bilbao, superintendent of Middletown [Township School District], specifically expressed her desire to have Jim Stefankiewicz implement many of these innovative programs in Middletown. That is a great compliment to our school district.

“From the day Jim started at RBR, he was anxious to bring the smaller learning community model to the high school,” he continued. “Once he won this major $1.2 million grant, he adroitly managed it to include

support for International Baccalaureate and AVID [Advancement Via Individual Determination] training, a reading specialist to address comprehension, and tutoring to improve state testing results.

“While it is very sad for RBR to lose him, we recognize the incredible opportunity he has in Middletown and wish him well,” Westervelt continued. “We also

know our very capable acting administrative team will continue to administer and perfect the programs and vision that have propelled us so far forward.”