New business administrator hired in Clinton Township
By CLAIRE KNAPP, Staff Writer
April 14, 2009
CLINTON TWP. – The school board has appointed Patricia Leonhardt as the district’s new business administrator. Leonhardt is a member of the school board in the Delaware Valley Regional High School District (DVRHS), the same district that hired Clinton Township’s former superintendent and business administrator last year.
The school board appointed Leonhardt as the new business administrator at its meeting on Monday, April 6.
James Strimple, interim business administrator, said the details of Leonhardt’s contract are still being discussed. Her salary will be $125,000 per year, but the breakdown between Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough, which sends about 30 students to the Clinton Township Middle School, has not been determined.
Leonhardt, 49, has also been business administrator and board secretary for the South Bound Brook School District for about four years. She will leave that post and join the Clinton Township school district on July 1, the same day on which the new superintendent, Kevin Carroll, takes over.
Leonhardt, a resident of Holland Township, said in an interview on April 8 she will have to resign from the DVRHS school board after six years as a member when she begins work in July due to a conflict of meeting dates.
“Delaware Valley is on strong footing now administratively,” said Leonhardt. “It is a good time for me to leave. It had been a very difficult time on the board, but things have improved a great deal.”
Leonhardt said being a school business administrator is her second career, one she is very enthusiastic about.
After graduating from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., with a math degree in 1981, she worked in the computer programming field for a number of years.
“With changing technology, I felt the need to further my education,” said Leonhardt. “I had become interested in education, so I obtained my master’s degree in education administration from Rider University in Lawrenceville in May 2008.”
Leonhardt also spent Saturdays attending the New Jersey Association of School Business Official’s certification program in Robbinsville for a year to obtain her certification as a school business administrator.
Working for the Clinton Township School District will be a step up in Leonhardt’s most recent career. The South Bound Brook School District is smaller with only one K-8 school building and a student population of 430, compared to 1,750 students being served by Clinton Township.
James Dincuff, president of the Clinton Township school board, said on April 7 that Leonhardt’s enthusiasm made her stand out above other the applicants.
“There were at least 20 to 25 applicants,” said Dincuff. “About six or seven were interviewed by the interim superintendent and business administrator as well as our new superintendent, Kevin Carroll. The board interviewed the two finalists before making its decision.”
Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Leonhardt followed her family to Morris County after they made the move while she was in college. After marrying Douglas Leonhardt, the couple moved to Holland Township 21 years ago to raise a family of four children. Leonhardt’s two oldest children are now in college. Of the other two children, one is in high school and the youngest is in middle school.
“They have all received a public school education,” said Leonhardt.
Although Leonhardt said she does not feel commuting to South Bound Brook is excessive, she is looking forward to working closer to home. Ironically, her husband is a computer programmer for New York Life on Cokesbury Road, the same road where Leonhardt will soon be working in the district’s administrative offices at Round Valley School.
“I’m looking forward to working closer to home,” said Leonhardt. “We won’t be able to commute together because the job of business administrator does have the same regulated hours that computer programming does, but it will be nice working in the same area.”
Meanwhile, Leonhardt is looking forward to beginning her new job in July.
“I respect the Clinton Township School District,” said Leonhardt. “It is a really well organized business office and I hope to retain the high quality of work that has been done before. I know the former business administrator, Daria Wasserbach, not only since she came to Del Val but also from when we attended the same classes when getting our certifications.”
Dincuff said Leonhardt’s willingness to go out in mid-life, become certified in a new career, and her enthusiasm for public education is impressive.
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