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.