After eight years as district leader, Joseph Meloche is heading for the Rose Tree Media school district in Pennsylvania. The appointment is conditional upon a vote in Media this Thursday.
By Matt Skoufalos | March 20, 2023
(UPDATED: 6:45 p.m. March 20, 2023)
Just a few months after securing passage of the biggest school bond referendum in New Jersey history, Cherry Hill Superintendent of Schools Joseph Meloche is poised to accept a new position leading a district out of state.
The school board of the Rose Tree Media School District, in Media, Pennsylvania, is poised to vote on Meloche’s appointment March 23, according to announcements from both districts.
“The Board of School Directors is pleased to announce the upcoming appointment of Dr. Joseph Meloche as Rose Tree Media’s next superintendent at the March 23rd, 2023, legislative meeting,” Rose Tree Media district leaders wrote.
“We are excited to have Dr. Meloche, an award-winning and nationally recognized superintendent, lead our district. We look forward to the start of his tenure on July 1, 2023.”
Meloche announced the move in a letter to Cherry Hill Schools families Monday morning.
“On Thursday, March 23, 2023, the Rose Tree Media School District Board will vote on my appointment as their new superintendent, effective July 1, 2023,” he wrote.
“There are, and will be, more words and thoughts to share as we move forward together during the next three months. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible as we finish the 2022-2023 academic year.”
Meloche is the first graduate of the Cherry Hill public school system to serve as its superintendent, a role he has held since 2015.
Rose Tree Media is a far smaller district than Cherry Hill, about one-third the size in terms of student population, and half as many buildings. Its current acting superintendent is William McLaughlin, whom Meloche will replace if the vote passes.
Cherry Hill Board of Education (BOE) President Miriam Stern said the board hasn’t met in full since Meloche’s announcement, and won’t until April 11.
At that meeting, the body will begin public discussions of its next steps in seeking a new superintendent.
“This is a process that’s new to all the board members, and we want to make sure we do it well,” Stern said.
“We don’t know how long that will take, but we want to do it carefully and thoroughly, with the right amount of effort.
“That said, we have a lot of resources available to us for doing a superintendent search,” she said. “There’s a lot of guidance out there, and we will be heavily pulling on those resources to take us through the process.”
Stern said it is “highly likely” that Cherry Hill could seek to appoint an interim superintendent to guide the district through the opening of the 2023-24 academic year, the better to shore up the daily business of the district while conducting a thorough search for Meloche’s replacement.
Whomever is chosen to fill the role will have a number of significant responsibilities beyond the educational priorities in the district. Construction projects funded by the bond passage top that list, along with implementing a full-day pre-K program.
If Cherry Hill is approved for a New Jersey preschool expansion grant, the district will add programming for some 1,700 to 1,800 three- and four-year-olds, which is “another big lift,” Stern said. An influx of expanded state aid — nearly $6.8 million — will further bolster its resources.
The new superintendent will also be tasked with building relationships with the community, district families, and staff, while continuing to navigate the impacts of post-pandemic learning and social challenges.
“In general, our district is at a very exciting time of change and transition,” Stern said. “It’s exciting, and it’s a lot of work. We need a superintendent who’s got the energy for collaboration with the schools and the community.”
Stern also highlighted district achievements under Meloche, including the bond passage, expanding kindergarten to full-day classes, and being the first public school district in the state to add an African-American Studies course to its mandatory high-school graduation requirements.
“There’s been a lot of positive developments; a lot of leadership,” she said.
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