Tomko appointed to governor’s taskforce

Gov. Philip D. Murphy announced the appointments of 23 new members to the Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey and among them is Richard Tomko, superintendent of the Belleville Public Schools District.

The taskforce, established by executive order, will provide recommendations to address the challenges facing New Jersey’s educational workforce and develop short and long-term recommendations to increase the quantity of K-12 school staff – including teachers and support staff – in the state.

“Educators play an invaluable role in shaping the lives of their students and ultimately molding our country’s future,” Murphy said. “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must recognize the impact that teacher shortages in our state and across the nation will have on our economy, the arts and our civil society. My administration remains steadfast in our commitment to identifying solutions to address this shortage and I am confident that this task force will offer the unique perspectives and experience that this moment requires.”

In addition to providing the aforementioned recommendations, the task force will also explore best practices and innovative ways to recruit and retain school staff. The task force will also identify best practices and resources to increase the pipeline of teachers and educational support candidates.

The taskforce, established within the Office of the Governor, will be chaired by Chief Policy Advisor to the Governor Dennis Zeveloff. In addition to Christopher Huber, the designee for the New Jersey Department of Education, the 23 members appointed represent school administrators — including superintendents who represent separate and distinct sectors of the diverse student population across New Jersey — school board representatives, an assistant principal, a paraprofessional and teachers, as well as representatives from various education-related associations and members appointed upon the recommendation of legislative leaders.

The taskforce will have until Jan. 31, 2023 to provide its initial recommendations to the governor.

Tomko has served as Belleville as superintendent of schools since 2015. He has spent the last 24 years as a school administrator in various leadership positions.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.