FH Sickles School Has a New Principal
Susan Alston, Humanities supervisor for Holmdel schools, begins in January 2013
“Let them eat cake!” Fair Haven Board of Education President Mark Mancuso quipped with a chuckle as the board and residents at last night’s meeting followed tradition and had a celebratory cake and coffee “take 10” to welcome newly appointed Viola L. Sickles School Principal Susan Alston.
No, Alston is not the same Susan Alston who is the schools psychologist. She is a different person charged with a different job but a coincidentally duplicate first and last name in the district. “Yes, that email situation is going to be tricky,” Superintendent Kathleen Cronin said with a smile. “I don’t know how we’re going to handle that, but we’ll figure something out.”
But, this Alston, who is coming to the Fair Haven district from Holmdel, is the only one headed for the Sickles principal’s office in January 2013.
The resolution to appoint the new principal at a pro-rated salary of $120,000 from January to June was unanimously approved by all nine board members. The appointment is only for those six months left in the school year because Tom Famulary, who is interim Sickles principal now, was hired through January. As a matter of procedure, in April Alston will be reappointed for a full year.
She came highly recommended from former colleagues and had all the qualifications Fair Haven school officials were looking for, Cronin said.
In Holmdel, where Alston is still working, she has been the longtime supervisor of Humanities — social studies, English, language arts and ESL — for the entire K-12 district and recently became certified as a principal after working not only in Holmdel, but, Cronin cited, in other districts as both a high school and elementary school teacher.
"She is thrilled about the principalship," Cronin said. "One of the things she said in several interviews is that she’s really looking forward to getting back to being with kids, because as a supervisor (you're) really not engaged with the kids on a regular basis."
Alston, herself, echoed that sentiment while grabbing a piece of her "welcome" cake.
"I'm so excited. I'm absolutely thrilled," Alston said. "I have just such (a) good vibe about Fair Haven and I've heard such wonderful things about Sickles School. I'm also thrilled to be getting back to working with students again … as well as teachers."
Cronin read a portion of "one of many" references sent to her on Alston's behalf, pointing out that it encapsulized the very reasons why she was chosen for the job:
"Susan is a leader and a lifelong learner ... She is well suited to this career path because of her personal and professional qualities ... She is cordial, respectful and caring; and, she listens, assesses and acts in a thoughtful manner ...Susan gets along well with faculty, support staff, students and parents. She is intelligent, a quick learner and will ask for the advice and expertise of others when needed."
Cronin did not say who wrote that recommendation.
The search team, comprised of teachers, administrators, board members and a board committee, "all agreed that those were the things that drew us to Susan," Cronin said.