New Additions to HMHS; Haddonfield Public Schools

Gillian Keith, Contributing Writer

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Dr. Mussoline is the new superintendent for the Haddonfield school district, and Mr. Maguire is the interim Dean of Students. I had the opportunity to interview them and find out about their positions.

Dr. Mussoline has lots of experience in the field of education. He was a teacher of U.S. history, psychology, sociology, geography, and world cultures. He also was an athletic director, a tennis and basketball coach, and an assistant principal. After getting his doctorate, Dr. Mussoline spent 19 years as a superintendent in Pennsylvania. He had recently retired in Pennsylvania when a search firm reached out to him and asked if he had any interest in the superintendent position in Haddonfield. Dr. Mussoline was familiar with Haddonfield, because he has a cousin living in town whose three children went through the school system. Dr. Mussoline ended up getting the job, and started working in June. He worked on building support and on planning for the 2018-2019 school year throughout the summer.

Dr. Mussoline detailed what the job of a superintendent looks like. He explained that one of the things he loves about the job is that the day-to-day varies. There is work with improvement and growth, as well as internal meetings, parent meetings, observing schools, and getting to know the community.

The last district Dr. Mussoline worked in was Downingtown, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Philly. The school district there is comprised of 16 schools and 13,000 students. He explained that size is the only real difference between his previous job and his new one in Haddonfield. Dr. Mussoline relayed that “Problems are problems, and there will always be the angry, the negative, and the positive.” In terms of challenges, he has been a superintendent for a while, so he knows how to handle conflict and any issues that arise. In effect, his job is to solve problems.

The vision Dr. Mussoline has for the district is very innovative and positive. He explained that Haddonfield is a great community that is very well known throughout the Northeast for its academic power. His goal is to continue moving Haddonfield’s education system into the 21st century. He is focused on the incorporation of digital learning platforms, leveraging digital content, and adjusting to the times. He wants classes to focus more on the big idea and analysis than they have in the past. Dr. Mussoline is working to fill in the gaps existing in Haddonfield and to incorporate fundamental layers, such as hiring a communications specialist and working to get a curriculum director. The proudest part of his job so far has been getting to know people and meeting students.

A key part of HMHS this year is the diversity initiative and the Human Dignity lessons. Dr. Mussoline commented that understanding power and privilege in America is a very important lesson for kids growing up. It takes a lot to comprehend the world and grasp big global pictures, but understanding is a key aspect to citizenry and life.

 

Mr. Matthew Maguire has been in education for 15 years, 11 of which have been in Haddonfield. He enjoys leadership roles and helping students, which is why he was interested in his current position. He recently participated in the Masters program at Rowan, and so becoming interim Dean of Students was a great opportunity to build on that academic experience. Mr. Maguire came to the high school from his job teaching 6th grade at the middle school. He described the transition as great. He has been working very well with the teachers at the high school, and said that he has a very good team. staying in the same district eased some nerves that come with a new job. He gets to see students that he taught in the middle school and reconnect with them.

The role of the Dean of Students, as described by Mr. Maguire, is like being a second assistant principal. It consists of helping students with their year, solving any disputes that may arise, professional development, and scheduling.

When asked what characteristics a Dean of Students needs to possess, Mr. Maguire listed leadership, fairness, and being empathetic. The job does come with challenges, however. He explained that any job dealing with students and teachers requires lots of problem solving, communication, and collaboration. There are lots of people in the school community, and not everyone will always agree.

Mr. Maguire conveyed that “It is nice to have experience as a teacher, because you can put yourself in other’s shoes.” He appreciates the experience this job is providing him, and hopes he can use it to further his career.

 

Check back at Bulldawgbulletin.com soon to view a profile of Haddonfield Public Schools’ Chief Academic Officer Colleen Brazill-Murray!

Matt Skoufalos, NJPen.com
Dr. Larry Mussoline pictured in front of Central Elementary School

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