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Maple Place, Meet Your New Principal

Matt Howell was officially hired by the Board of Education on Thursday.

Along with their brand-new notebooks and sharp pencils, the students of will start this September with a new principal.

Matt Howell, formerly the principal at an elementary school in Hazlet, was officially hired by the on Thursday.

Prior to his two years in Hazlet, Howell also served as principal, vice principal and teacher in the Millstone district. He lives in Neptune City.

Howell started his career as a language arts teacher and told Patch that he loves literature and writing. But what he really loves the most he said, is middle school education.

"I loved elementary," he said, "but I'm excited to get back into middle school."

Superintendent Andrew Orefice told the audience at the July 19 board meeting that the district received 109 applications for the position.

"Frankly, I was disappointed at the overall talent pool," he said.

Orefice said the search committee whittled down the group to 10 excellent candidates but it was Howell whom the committee chose unanimously.

"That just never happens," he said.

Accepting his new position, Howell said he could see how much Oceanport values education by the amount of parents who came out that night to support their musicians who were recognized for their recent awards at Six Flags.

"I promise to give 110 percent  of my effort everyday to serve the needs of the students and the community," he said.

Howell's annual salary will be $103,000. He will likely start his position at the beginning of the school year, unless his current district decides not to relieve him of his position before Sept. 17, the final day of his contract's terms of separation.

In that event, Orefice will serve as acting principal. The superintendent said the school will host a meet-and-greet for parents and students with Howell prior to the school year's start.

You can read a full report of the happenings of the Board of Education meeting in follow-up stories on Patch.

T Sweeney July 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Thank you for the information!
Ed Barnwell July 20, 2012 at 03:06 PM
THANK YOU ANDREW! It is difficult at best to find a talented Superintendent. You have shown how much you care for the students and I for one have been nothing but impressed. I was unable to make the meeting last night, but I hope that we have wrapped up your contract as well. Our children cannot afford to lose another talented administrator, there are not many qualified individuals out there. Oceanport is fortunate to have a Mr. Orefice in place, it would be foolish not to do what we have to to keep him. I cannot wait to meet Mr. Howell, and thank you to the Board for getting this done! Ed Barnwell
Clare Drabeck July 20, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Thank you, Mr. Orefice! After last nights BOE meeting, I have even more respect and appreciation for all that you do to make our schools top-notch! It's more than obvious that you truly care about the students, teachers, and staff! Also, the parents--you are always willing to listen to our concerns, complaints... I have to say that I sat at last nights BOE meeting and admired your composure, tact, and positive attitude! You are a wonderful role model for our students (for parents too)! Again, I agree with Ed Barnwell's comment that Oceanport is fortunate to have you and would be foolish not to do what is necessary to keep you! Best of luck with the pursuit of your Ph.D. too!
Shannon K. Winning July 20, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Ed, The board did approve the superintendent's contract, but not easily. There was significant amount of discord among the members about whether the contract was ready to be approved. You can read the full story about it on Monday.
Ed Barnwell July 21, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I am sorry I missed the meeting; however, I am not surprised that our superintendent's contract was difficult to pass. Clearly there is a board member who's primary concern seems to focus not on pertinant issues such as our children, but on saving a few bucks. When I asked the aformentuoned boardmember, who seemed to think it would have been a good idea not to higher a new principal, what his reasoning behind this idea was I was accused of being " closed-minded" If being "close-mindrd" means that I support an aministrator who, not only was successful in improving the discipline in our schools, but raising the acadmic bar areas as well, making us a blue ribbon school, then i guess I am close-minded. Thank god, the right thing was done..

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