Mount Olive Superintendent Robert Zywicki was in the news last month when his school board put him on administrative leave and he threatened to file a $10 million lawsuit against two board members. According to an inside source who will remain anonymous, Zywicki deserves to be in the news again, this time for some alleged antics at Kean University, whose president is Gov. Murphy’s former Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet.
According to this source, Zywicki is involved in a mess at Kean that has relevance to NJ’s struggle to fully staff classrooms. While Zywicki was still Mt. Olive’s superintendent in school year 2021-2022, he was moonlighting at Kean, teaching evening courses in the university education department. One of his responsibilities was to supervise student teachers in the Office of Clinical Teacher Placement at Kean University. While teaching evening courses didn’t interfere with his Mt. Olive duties, observing and supervising the interns did because supervising the interns is a day job.
But, says the source, Kean was “desperate for clinical supervisors” because they were short-staffed:. So Zywicki, a sitting superintendent, was assigned to supervise interns who were then placed in Mt. Olive so he could fulfill his superintendent duties. This source regards this double-duty as a conflict of interest.
Barbara Ridener, the Dean of Kean’s College of Education, later found out Zywicki was supervising interns in his home district and so she removed those interns from his list. While this took care of the conflict of interest, it also left more student teachers without supervisors. Currently dozens of prospective teachers at Kean do not have supervisors and, thus, some have dropped out of the program or have found their career paths delayed until they can complete clinical requirements for teacher licenses.