MO Middle School Starts 2024 With New Principal  

By Cheryl Conway 

 

Working as an educator at the middle school level for the past two decades, Agatha Wilke of Independence Township is stepping up her role. 

Wilke is the new principal of the Mt. Olive Middle School in Budd Lake. She took over on January 3, replacing James Kramer who had retired after working in the Mt. Olive School District for almost 30 years. 

In her fourth year at MOMS, serving as vice principal there for the past three years, Wilke’s transition to principal has been rather smooth.  

“This is my first principal role,” says Wilke. “I wanted to be able to continue the great work of the staff of Mt. Olive Middle School. It is a tremendous learning community, and I am proud to be part of it.”

Wilke knew early on that she wanted a career in education, so she continued on her path.

“I immigrated from Poland to the U.S. at the age of 9 and spoke no English,” she shares her inspirational story. “The teachers that I had when we first came here had a life-changing impact on me; I wanted to do the same for others.”

Wilke got a bachelor’s in political science from Rutgers University, teaching certificates from William Paterson University, a master’s in education from Marygrove College, and a second master’s from Centenary University in educational leadership.

She worked at Wayne Valley High School and Randolph Middle School before coming to MOSD.

A mother of two teenagers, working at the middle school level has been her preference. 

“Having worked as a middle school teacher for almost 20 years, I feel that I truly understand the unique needs of a middle level education,” she explains. “I foster a positive and enriching learning environment and I possess a comprehensive understanding of curriculum development, student engagement strategies and effective faculty management. I am committed to promoting a safe and inclusive school community that encourages both academic excellence and personal growth for everyone at MOMS.”  

Getting selected was not easy as there was a pool of applicants.    

“I applied for the job and was part of the same process as every other applicant,” describes Wilke. “There were three rounds of interviews, two of which were in front of a committee of 14 MOTSD community members.” 

In her new role, she hopes to be a team player and build trust. 

“For now, I want to work with all stakeholders at MOMS and see what their needs are, and earn everyone’s trust,” says Wilke. “As with any new role, earning the trust of the entire community,” is probably her greatest challenge. 

“I want to work with all of the other district leaders to ensure the best possible educational experience for the ever-changing world our students are growing up in,” she says. “I believe that middle schoolers’ learning ability hinges on their social and emotional needs. I therefore want to work with the staff to make sure that we meet those needs of our students.”

She is truly looking forward to her fourth year working in Mt. Olive, where she coached the 7th and 8th grade girls’ recreation lacrosse team for two years while working as vice principal at MOMS. 

“MOTSD is an awesomely diverse community with an astounding staff,” says Wilke. “It is so full of potential and Dr. Bangia, the superintendent, is truly a supportive leader.” 

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