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Moorestown Selects New Superintendent After Exhaustive Search

Berlin Township Superintendent Brian Betze accepted the BOE's offer Tuesday night.

After two exhaustive searches, the has selected a new superintendent.

The board of education offered the job Tuesday night to Berlin Township School District Superintendent Brian Betze, who subsequently accepted the offer.

Board President Don Mishler said the hire is still somewhat unofficial until the board formally approves it at their May meeting.

Betze himself broke the news in a letter to the Berlin School District community Tuesday, in which he wrote, “A once in a lifetime chance unexpectedly fell in my lap and is a professional opportunity I could not pass up.”

Reached for comment Thursday, Betze described Moorestown as a “very prestigious, well-respected” district, and sounded excited at the prospect of taking a major step forward in his career.

Betze comes from a district with just two schools (John F. Kennedy Elementary and Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School) and 750 students to Moorestown’s six schools and nearly 4,000 students. But he did not sound daunted by the change.

“Professionally, I’m ready to move on and accept a bigger challenge,” he said.

Betze, a Marlton resident, spent nine years as superintendent at Berlin, preceded by stints as a middle school principal in Cherry Hill, Washington Township (Morris County) and Shamong, as well as supervisor of special education and curriculum in Linwood. He began his career in education more than 25 years ago as a high school art teacher in Bethlehem, PA.

“I still consider myself a teacher and always will,” he said, explaining his efforts, as an administrator, to maintain a connection to the classroom.

In a statement, Mishler lauded Betze’s “distinguished record as an educational change agent,” who guided Berlin to “earn national recognition for student achievement, educational excellence, and technology innovation.”

According to Betze, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School was named one of the “New Jersey Schools to Watch” by the state in 2009, and the district received multiple awards from Renaissance Learning (an educational software and hardware company) for its curriculum.

In his letter to the Berlin community, Betze wrote, “During my interview process for my new position, I proudly told the Moorestown Board of Education my goal will be to make their teachers as good as my teachers in Berlin Township.”

Mishler said Betze was not one of the candidates considered , which collapsed when .

Betze’s name came up after he heard about the opening at a Camden County superintendents’ roundtable discussion and submitted his application.

Mishler said there’s still some red tape to be cut before Betze’s hire is official, including the negotiation of a contract, which must be approved by the board, the county executive superintendent, and the state.

“Betze’s success in this district will depend on all the stakeholders coming together and working for the common good,” said Mishler.

Betze hopes to start at Moorestown by July 1. Superintendent John Bach will end his five-year tenure at the end of the school year.

Chris Welch May 02, 2012 at 06:07 PM
So his plan is to make our teachers as good as Berlin Townships ? Don't do us any favors. The same Berlin township that has these rankings ? http://www.greatschools.org/new-jersey/west-berlin/Berlin-Township-School-District/schools/ JFK Elementary school ranks a 2 out of 10 Dwight Eisenhower Middle school a 4 out of 10 Meanwhile in Moorestown All three Elementary schools rank a 9 of 10 UES 8 of 10 Middle school 9 of 10 HS 8 of 10 He starts trash talking our teachers before he steps through the door. Brilliant. I guess he picked up the people skills at a summer program taught in Berlin. And he might want to check the state report cards on schools before sticking his foot in his mouth. Berlins JFK http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/dataselect.php?c=07;d=0340;s=050;lt=J;st=E&datasection=all Moorestowns Elementary schools ( look at the district average for the 3 schools) http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/dataselect.php?c=05;d=3360;s=060;lt=G;st=E&datasection=all
Chris Welch May 03, 2012 at 01:22 AM
A few more numbers of interest to parents and tax payers. Students/ faculty Berlin = 7.7 Moorestown = 10.8 Cost per Pupil Berlin = $16,929 Moorestown = $14067 Someone remind me again why Brian Betze was hired . “A once in a lifetime chance unexpectedly fell in my lap"
Townie May 03, 2012 at 10:50 AM
I was out gathering my pitchforks and torches and missed this.... I have concerns about test scores, leadership and the way events have transpired, but the numbers above are really tough to compare without context for two districts so different in size. Tenure, turnover, infrastructure, extra curriculars, demographics, all make it nearly impossible to compare such broad numbers given the structural / size differences.
Chris Welch May 03, 2012 at 12:10 PM
How else would you rate the job the man has done ? If that's the outcome of his district now, what makes you confident he'll do a better job leading one five times it's size ?
Chris Welch May 03, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Comparison of 7th & 8th grade state testing scores for LA, Math, & Science. William Allen Middle School http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/dataselect.php?c=05;d=3360;s=110;lt=W;st=E&datasection=all Dwight Eisenhower Middle School http://education.state.nj.us/rc/rc10/dataselect.php?c=07;d=0340;s=030;lt=D;st=E&datasection=all Average class size in Berlin for 7th and 8th grade students is 9.6. Moorestown is 22.
Chris Welch May 03, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Medford, Evesham, Mt Laurel also have over 10% going to private schools. In Berlin the largest percentage is HS. Berlin kids go to Overbrook HS. Betze has no involvement with that school.
Townie May 03, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Using your logic.... Car #1 - 12 MPG City, 18 Hwy, 3 year residual value 37% of cost Car #2 - 18 MPG City, 25 Hwy, residual value 66% Would you rather drive the Mercedes or the Mazda? Why in the world would anyone pay 6 or 7 times as much for the statistical under-performance of that Mercedes. Hell, it only has 2 doors! Numbers don't always tell the full story. Educational achievement across heterogeneous populations is dependent on factors not measured by NJ like mobility (how often kids move), family (divorced parents), and parental participation. Hey...I posted concern early. I just think selectively picking and posting "proof" statistics is unfair. I don't know what you see in the 9.6 average class size...but I don't see that as a positive. Sure the "smaller is better" sentiment has some appeal, but I wonder what's driving such small numbers, and if the economics of the town are killing the statistical benchmarks by shrinking the denominator, driving up the Per Pupil cost. It's possible this is the best thing that ever happened to Moorestown's kids; at the expense of a few Berlin kids who'll suffer because someone who was going to look out for them had "the opportunity of a lifetime".
Chris Welch May 03, 2012 at 06:04 PM
"I don't know what you see in the 9.6 average class size...but I don't see that as a positive." Ha, why do I bother You don't like the performance indicators I've provided. Do have any that are better ? If you don't judge the man by the performance of his schools (students) how would you judge him ? Great he started a program and got his school listed as "one to watch". Go read the article. The ranking doesn't mean much until they check the school 3 years later (end of 2012) and see if what he did worked. Then the school gets listed again showing that his changes had a positive outcome. So you might not like the idea of using student tests as a performance indicator. But the Federal and State BOE does. .
Residentsj May 04, 2012 at 01:19 PM
9.6 class size is a complete lie. Maybe 29.6...
Chris Welch May 04, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I didn't make the number up. It's right there on the State report. If it's wrong then someone at the school is reporting bad info to the state.
Chris Welch May 04, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Townie - checkout this PDF doc on class size. http://www.wested.org/online_pubs/small_classes.pdf Go to page 7 and read the section about the Tennessee STAR Project study. Most comprehensive study done to date. Page 14 gives the Major conclusions found from various studies done over the years in different states.
Townie May 05, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Was that the first or second link you opened after googling class size? I found someone who'll argue that...http://www.successacademies.org/page.cfm?p=508 If you want to hang on statistics and KPI's, you'll always be able to make an argument...in whatever direction you want to support. Class sizes too large are the problem, so generally speaking smaller is better. Is 3 better than 5? Would you concede there is a point where kids begin to lose other valuable skills like social interaction and friendships? Are you an advocate for home schooling? My point was the combination of costs and the impact on kids at 9 students per teacher can have unintended consequences. NCLB is statistics 101, and is now understood to be a disaster. Kids are learning memorization and missing out on learning to think. It's not an opinion, it's supported by a lot of research (which we know you require...google it...try Tony Wagner if you get stuck). Indicators are important to identify trends or changes, but don't always tell the story.
Tax Playa May 06, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Bottom line, Is the rookie a leader or not? That is what we need to find out. Are we going to let this guy prove himself or trash him before he evens starts?
dj May 07, 2012 at 12:14 AM
It makes me sad that Brian Betze will be Superintendent of the Morrestown Public School District. He is a charming and a smooth talker, leadership, not so much. You will soon find out who the BOE hired.
arturo hahn May 07, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Although I question the criteria that were used to pull Betze's appointment out of the woodwork, no candidate can be worse than John Bach. To be paid $175,000 to not return phone calls and look down your nose at your employers is a farce. It baffles me that taxpaying parents still delude themselves in thinking that the present BOE and school administration realize who they work for. At the very least, Mr. Betze is not a townie, and should be relied upon to count all students in the district. Toilet paper has more functionality than the current BOE policy.
Chris Welch May 07, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Townie - being a smartass works better when your google links work. Try again. Be more then happy to read it you can get the hotlink posted correctly. "Is 3 better than 5? Would you concede there is a point where kids begin to lose other valuable skills like social interaction and friendships?" I would concede that these questions have nothing to do with the discussion at hand. As does your question about home schooling. Instead of trying to lead the conversation away from the simple question I've asked you a number of times, why don't you just answer it. Or concede that you can't. What are you using to determine this man is qualified to lead Moorestown schools if not the success, or failure of the school district he currently leads ?
Townie May 07, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Sorry about the link... guess you're new to that whole www thing and couldn't figure it out. http://www.successacademies.org/page.cfm?p=508 You have an amazing capacity to see only your side of the argument. Class size was part of the discussion on indicators which I suggested have a useful limit for comparison. Apparently when I reach a point you can no longer defend or that doesn't advance your argument, it's no longer in scope? Since you continue to bother after questioning why, tell me what that number (class size) should be. What number would you like to see in Berlin that would make you feel better? You never answered my car comments. Was it that you would agree statistics don't always tell the story? In the end you ask: "What are you using to determine this man is qualified to lead Moorestown schools if not the success, or failure of the school district he currently leads". I'm not determining if this man is qualified, as I haven't met him, reviewed his credentials, compared that to other candidates, etc. I know you want to ignore this, but my posts were initially of concern as well. The difference you and I appear to have is one of objectively considering the possibility the numbers don't tell the entire story. Tell me something outside the numbers that warrants your disdain for this guy? Numbers alone are not enough to reject his hiring out of hand. To be concerned...agree 100%
Chris Welch May 07, 2012 at 09:46 PM
"Sorry about the link... guess you're new to that whole www thing and couldn't figure it out. http://www.successacademies.org/page.cfm?p=508" No problem with the www thing. It's when someone adds the word "that" in his hyper link that it fails to go to the correct page. See how all mine work, and your first one didn't. Anything else I can teach you today ? BTW, I don't disdain the man (yet another poor attempt on your part to steer the discussion in another direction). I simply think he's a bad choice. He comes from a mediocre school district 1/5 the size of ours and doesn't to appear ( from the only available stats) to have done a very good job running it. You can disagree with me. No problem.
Townie May 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
So what size class would you like? Since he's a bad choice, which of the candidates do you prefer?
Chris Welch May 08, 2012 at 02:46 AM
What does my opinion on class size have to do with the conversation ? I'm not applying for the job. As for candidates. How about : Dr. Dyanne Kerecman Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Haddonfield (NJ) Public Schools Mr. Michael Wilson Principal - Haddonfield Memorial HS The following three from Cherry Hill East Schools district Dr. Lawyer Chapman, Assistant Superintendent, James Devereaux, Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Marianne W. Gaffney, Assistant Superintendent, Dr. John O'Breza Principal - Cherry Hill East HS Having to make a choice without the benefit of conducting interviews I'd take any of the above folks in a heart beat over the current choice. I'd find you more but you'll need to pay me a consulting fee. ;)
Townie May 08, 2012 at 11:02 AM
You thought class size was an important indicator when you brought it up to make your point? If your opinion doesn't matter, why did you voice one at all? As for list, you forgot to copy/paste the names of last years noble laureates, the President at Princeton, and a maybe a who's who of Prep School administrators. Candidates generally have to participate, so just you're list is just foolish. You could have just said someone from Haddonfield or Cherry Hill, but thought it best to pretend to know something and take the time to list names. Admit it...Berlin is the reason you don't like this guy.
Chris Welch May 08, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Wtf, if I have to add cliff notes for everything I write this will take weeks. Is your level of reading comprehension really that low ? I brought class sizes up as a means of comparing teachers (performance) between school districts. It's a valid point. You do remember him stating that he was going to make Moorestown teachers as good as Berlin techers don't you ? "Candidates generally have to participate, so just you're list is just foolish" What candidates participated that you'd like me to choose from ? Do you have a list of names, because as far as I know they were never made public. BTW - you might want to check the webpage of the Charter school organization the woman runs that you used to show smaller classes aren't better. http://www.successacademies.org/page.cfm?p=11 . Guess what she uses to show parents her schools are succesful compared to others ? State test scores. Sound familiar ? One of the sources she uses: New York State Report Card. Just like the NJ State report Cards I posted
Townie May 08, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Chris...take a deep breath, get back on your meds, and try to calm down... I don't have a list of names, the only list was the one painstakingly created by you to obfuscate the point you wanted to make: Hire someone from Haddonfield or Cherry Hill. Was that really so hard? The problem with your "hiring plan" is maybe they don't want to be hired here! Maybe they see the "opportunity of a lifetime" as the one they already have. Maybe...just maybe...they don't want your money for the accompanying BS. Can you follow that? Want to make sure I don't lose you... I know you can't understand that children from different environments will have completely different opportunities to succeed, it's not something you can look up in 10 minutes and paste as personal knowledge to justify your perceived intellectual superiority. It takes time, appreciation, consideration, and a broader understanding of the issues than you exhibit.
dj May 10, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Think about this one... who would resign from their current position pubicly before the BOE approves your new position? Sounds a little risky to me. Actually, it does not sound very smart.
Maranda July 22, 2012 at 09:34 PM
He WILL!!!!!
Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 03:43 PM
In the News - JAMIE EPSTEIN ATTORNEY AT LAW www.jamieepsteinlaw.com/in%20the%20news.html CB v Berlin Twp. Bd. of Ed.: CB filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ... DK v Washington Twp Bd of Ed.: The Court granted our request for an ... intimidation and harassment; culminating in the Superintendent proclaiming at staff ... H.S. Bd. of Ed.: RS filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ...
Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 03:47 PM
In the News - JAMIE EPSTEIN ATTORNEY AT LAW www.jamieepsteinlaw.com/in%20the%20news.html CB v Berlin Twp. Bd. of Ed.: CB filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ... DK v Washington Twp Bd of Ed.: The Court granted our request for an ... intimidation and harassment; culminating in the Superintendent proclaiming at staff ... H.S. Bd. of Ed.: RS filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ...
Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 03:47 PM
In the News - JAMIE EPSTEIN ATTORNEY AT LAW www.jamieepsteinlaw.com/in%20the%20news.html CB v Berlin Twp. Bd. of Ed.: CB filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ... DK v Washington Twp Bd of Ed.: The Court granted our request for an ... intimidation and harassment; culminating in the Superintendent proclaiming at staff ... H.S. Bd. of Ed.: RS filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ...
Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 03:47 PM
In the News - JAMIE EPSTEIN ATTORNEY AT LAW www.jamieepsteinlaw.com/in%20the%20news.html CB v Berlin Twp. Bd. of Ed.: CB filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ... DK v Washington Twp Bd of Ed.: The Court granted our request for an ... intimidation and harassment; culminating in the Superintendent proclaiming at staff ... H.S. Bd. of Ed.: RS filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ...
Kimberly July 23, 2012 at 03:48 PM
In the News - JAMIE EPSTEIN ATTORNEY AT LAW www.jamieepsteinlaw.com/in%20the%20news.html CB v Berlin Twp. Bd. of Ed.: CB filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ... DK v Washington Twp Bd of Ed.: The Court granted our request for an ... intimidation and harassment; culminating in the Superintendent proclaiming at staff ... H.S. Bd. of Ed.: RS filed New Jersey Law Against Discrimination lawsuit for ...

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