West Morris Regional High School District Welcomes New Superintendent
By Ejvind Boccolini
Michael Ben-David is the new superintendent of schools for the West Morris Regional High School district, and he is focused and has great ideas for educational excellence.
He hails for the Wayne School District, where he was assistant superintendent, and he replaces Mackey Pendergrast, who is now superintendent of schools in the Morris School District in Morristown.
As part of his educational background, Ben-David is a graduate of Rutgers College, Seton Hall Law School, and the College of Saint Elizabeth. He began his career as a law clerk in the United States Federal Courts and later served as a litigation associate at one of New Jersey’s largest law firms.
He spent ten years as a teacher/coach at two high schools, five years as an elementary and middle schools principal, and recently served as the director of Secondary Education in Wayne.
He holds New Jersey State certifications as a school administrator, principal and supervisor.
Ben-David recently answered a questionnaire from the Black River News/Mendham News about his outlook on education.
- What are some of your philosophies as an educator? What are some of your philosophies as an administrator?
“My approach to education and educational leadership is rather simple–Education is about fostering student growth and achievement. At the administrative levels, student growth and achievement is advanced by keenly focusing on the factors/practices that most influence/inspire student engagement: hiring, developing and retaining great teachers/coaches; offering relevant/challenging programs; and developing/maintaining superior facilities.”
“Of course, what’s also of critical importance to families is that educational services are sustainable and cost effective- which is to suggest that any/all philosophies of education and/or administration must be supported by smart/prudent budgetary planning.”
- What are your goals within the West Morris Regional High School District?
“Obviously, the educational landscape, particularly in the areas of curriculum, assessment and technology, has been rapidly transforming over the last few years. What’s important is that we continue to focus on the development of 21st Century skills while cultivating a student centered environment which emphasizes exploration, creativity, confidence, resilience and entrepreneurship. The goal is to graduate students better prepared for college/careers in a vastly different global and domestic economy/market place.”
- Hopefully the faculty and administrators have welcomed you into the WMRHS district so far. Is there anything you’d like to say about them as colleagues, and how you look forward to working with them?
“Being that it’s July and that I’ll be finishing in Wayne on Aug. 7, I’ve only had the opportunity to meet a few teachers/administrators. That said, I couldn’t be more excited about being part of an exceptional educational community. I believe that what they will find in me is a person very passionate about the role that educators/education plays in the lives of students, and, someone deeply committed to both supporting their professional growth and, equally important, removing the obstacles and muting the noise that can obstruct their work.”
- What would you like to say to parents and students in the district as you come aboard as superintendent?
“Again, that it’s an honor to be a part of an exceptional educational community. And, that I’m committed to ensuring the continued development of an educational environment which is safe, ambitious, challenging and best encourages students to discover who they are and what they are passionate about.”
- Where do you live now and where did you grow up?
“I grew up in Bergen County and currently live in Franklin Lakes with my wife Amy and two children, Aden,12, and Leah, 11.”