Secaucus schools superintendent Cynthia Randina effectively resigned Thursday night, saying she would step down at the conclusion of her five-year contract after the 2012-13 school year.
Randina, who saw the last two school budgets shot down by voters and faced a barrage of acrimony from the Secaucus teachers union and some factions of parents, expressed a desire to finish her dissertation. But the move also comes as she would have faced a steep salary if the board of education offered her a new contract this year per new rules implemented by the Christie administration.
Her base salary is listed at $227,000, a figure that would be cut to $150K based on the size of Secaucus.
School board trustee Salvatore Manente noted the maximum amount that any superintendent working in Secaucus for the year 2013 -2014 would be about $157,000. “At the present moment we have two administrators make well over that amount, which is going to make it a little difficult to attract some quality people into the district,” he said.
“I know she will do well because I have seen her with her colleagues at the various meetings when I went as part of the new evaluation team and they have the utmost respect for her,” Manente said. “She is a brilliant individual that has brought many programs here to our schools to bring them up to and beyond where many other schools are at.”
Manente echoed the remarks of other board members who said Randina’s political skills were seen as lacking, rather than her qualifications and capabilities in education.
“Her delivery of what she may want to get across may not be what people like, but she does it with all good intentions for the children and staff,” he said. “It will be difficult to replace such a talented and knowledgeable individual. With the governor’s capping of the superintendent salaries we will be finding individuals who do not have the intense experience and knowledge as many of the previous superintendents have throughout the state.”
Randina joined Secaucus in 2008, when she took over for the Constantino Scerbo, who retired. She was assistant superintendent in Wayne, N.J., and earlier worked in The Bronx, N.Y. Her husband, who retired as a New York City principal, died in 2010.
She told the Jersey Journal June 19: “I just did some introspection. I’m exploring. I’m not sure the direction I want to go in the next stage of my life. I was originally from New York state, so that might be a possibility. I have lots of options and I just want explore them.”
(Update: Correction made in first graph. Superintendent Randina’s contract was five years, not four as initially reported.)