During a special meeting called for the purpose, members of the Mount Laurel Board of Education appointed George J. Rafferty as the new Superintendent of Schools on February 10. His hiring follows a search process that began last July upon the retirement of former Superintendent Dr. Antoinette Rath.
In announcing the decision, Board President Maureen Sojka said she was appreciative of the hard work on the part of fellow board members throughout the selection process.
“We had forty-six applications from eminently qualified educators,” she said. “Paring the list down to a final dozen and conducting two rounds of comprehensive interviews had us at the table many, many nights over the past six months. Everyone involved was very dedicated to this search and we are certain that we have achieved our goal of selecting the best candidate.”
Rafferty currently serves as superintendent of the Tabernacle School District, an elementary system with two schools serving 767 students. A graduate of Hahnemann University and Holy Family College with a B.A. in Special Education, he holds an M.A. in School Psychology and an Ed. S. from Rowan University, as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study in Administration. He is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University.
Rafferty began his educational career as a special education teacher in Pennsauken Schools in 1990. He later served as a School Counselor in Gloucester Township, returned to Pennsauken as a School Psychologist, and went on to assume the post of Supervisor of Special Services in Somers Point. He was the Director of Special Education in Haddon Heights Schools for three years prior to his appointment as Tabernacle Superintendent.
According to the terms of the resolution approved by the Mount Laurel Board on February 10, the new superintendent holds a four-year contract with a starting salary of $162,500. His start date has not yet been established. Dr. Sharon Vitella will continue as interim superintendent in Mount Laurel until Rafferty has fulfilled separation obligations with Tabernacle and assumes the post permanently.
In its search for a permanent Superintendent of Schools, the Mount Laurel Board of Education received 46 applications. According to New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) Facilitator Gwen Thornton, approximately one-third of the applications received were from sitting superintendents or assistant superintendents. All applications were submitted directly to the NJSBA, which is facilitated the search process.Two rounds of interviews were conducted.
Board members received public input from discussions with school staff members and reviewed responses to online surveys from both staff and community members in October as part of the preparation for the search. That input was used to help the board to frame interview questions.