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NJ Special Education Schools Get New Business Leader

 Recognizing the many revenue-generating operations of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) to offset the cost of tuition, the specialized commission has selected its first-ever Deputy Superintendent to handle all business and marketing activities. 

Following widespread advertising and a review of dozens of strong candidates, the ESCNJ selection committee, with the unanimous approval of the Board of Directors, selected Nadia Romano for the newly-created position. She begins the new job on January 1.

Romano, of Highlands, who has served as ESCNJ’s Director of Human Resources since 2017, will report directly to Schools Superintendent Mark Finkelstein, working as a day-to-day leader of the largest specialized commission in the state, as well as serving in an “acting” capacity as superintendent when needed.

“We could not be more pleased that Mrs. Romano is taking on this new challenge at ESCNJ,” Finkelstein said. “During the interview process, she was remarkably impressive in her recommended approach on how best to move ESCNJ forward. Our independent selection committee shared our excitement for Mrs. Romano’s candidacy, and I appreciate the faith and trust of our Board of Directors, all of whom enthusiastically approved her as ESCNJ’s very first deputy superintendent.”

In her new role, Romano will be responsible for overseeing the school district’s co-operative purchasing program involving 1,400 school districts and government entities, aggregate purchasing of electricity and natural gas, a school transportation network for 12,000 students statewide, a competitively-priced professional conference center in Piscataway, a recently-expanded aquatics center in Sayreville, low-cost internet and cyber security services as well as other endeavors that support classroom instruction.

“ESCNJ has always had a unique, entrepreneurial structure, with the business side of our organization supporting classroom activities to enhance specialized instruction,” Finkelstein said. “Rather than relying solely on tuition funded by sending school districts, we have found many innovative ways in which to offset the taxpayer burden to fund many curriculum enhancements.”

That is why Romano was the ideal choice, he added, with her strong understanding of the organization, strong communication skills and the ability to manage and monitor all ESCNJ programs.

Moreover, the Deputy Superintendent must also possess all the skills of a traditional public school administrator, with experience in curriculum development, classroom evaluation and child growth development among a school population with substantial needs.

“I believe I have the leadership skills, temperament, objectivity and command of ESCNJ policies and procedures to hit the ground running in this role,” Romano said. “Above all, maintaining the integrity of the organization and the many services the Commission provides is necessary for continued excellence and success.”

Prior to joining ESCNJ in July 2017, Romano served for five years as the director of curriculum instruction at Hackettstown Public Schools and was an administrator in the Stanhope Public Schools. She began her career in special education.

Romano has an education specialist degree from Seton Hall University, a graduate degree in teaching and learning from Nova Southeastern University and an undergraduate degree in special education from The College of New Jersey.

“We look forward to Mrs. Romano leading our efforts to strengthen the fiscal future at ESCNJ and further increase the quality of our educational programs,” Finkelstein said. “As she already knows the internal workings of ESCNJ, and is already preparing for her new role, we are very much looking forward to achieving many new goals in 2023.”

Staff Writer

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