The township’s new schools superintendent said that his main priority as he takes the helm of the district will be to empower students to achieve as high a level of education as they aspire to.
“We want to make sure that every student who comes through North Bergen is ready to be successful,” said Dr. George Solter.
The North Bergen Board of Education announced on Aug. 16 that it had appointed Solter as interim superintendent heading into the 2013-2014 school year. He replaces Robert Dandorph, who retired as superintendent over the summer after more than 40 years with the district.
Dr. Solter previously served as the district’s director of mathematics and No Child Left Behind compliance officer. Prior to that he had been vice principal of North Bergen High School, as well as a math teacher there. He is beginning his 33rd year with the township school system.
Solter has a doctorate in educational administration from Seton Hall University in South Orange, and a master’s in administration and supervision from New Jersey City University in Jersey City.
“I have been given the interim job to prove myself, and I want to prove myself.” – Dr. George Solter
Solter said he worked closely with Dandorph during his tenure as superintendent, and that it was positive relationship, and a professionally enriching one.
“I learned a lot of different things. How he handled people, made decisions, handled meetings,” he said. “It helped me formulate the way I think I want to handle things.”
Solter said that “diffentiating instruction,” or challenging students at each one’s own level of learning, was a main focus of Dandorph’s administration, and will be part of his too.
“I really believe in it. I believe in it as Bob developed it,” Solter said. Students who are not yet high-level learners are taught at a pace that they can benefit from. But this does not preclude students who learn more quickly from moving forward at their own pace.
“We take that student who is being successful and we challenge him too,” he said. “We try to raise the bar for everybody.”
Solter said two of his other major goals are focusing on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) core curriculum being followed across the country and better preparing high school students for the standardized testing they undergo to get into college.
“We want to be sure our students are ready to take these tests,” he said. “Better scores on these are good indicators of college success.”
Dr. Solter’s eventual hiring as regular superintendent is not a given and will be settled somewhat quickly.
He will serve in the interim role for the first semester of the school year and then will receive a performance review by the Board of Education in January. At that time, the board will decide whether to offer the position to Dr. Solter on a permanent basis.
“I have confidence in myself,” he said. “I have been given the interim (job) to prove myself, and I want to prove myself.”
Has been an adjunct professor
Dr. Solter has been certified to be a superintendent by the State Department of Education and his salary will be $170,000. He was appointed by the Board of Education in July.
“I have known Dr. George Solter for many years and I cannot think of anyone more qualified to lead our district forward,” said North Bergen Board of Education President Edward LaTour. “Dr. Solter’s knowledge and experience are second to none, and he combines that with a never-ending desire to improve his skills and learn new techniques and technologies. I believe he will be an excellent superintendent of schools.”
Solter has also been an adjunct professor at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, and frequently lectures graduate level students on curriculum development and use of statistical analysis in education. He said he is giving up the adjunct professor role, not wanting it to get in the way of his job as interim superintendent.
“My focus right now is on the North Bergen Board of Education and making sure all other things are in place,” Solter said.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.