New principals appointed at Lawrence schools

Lawrence Township school district officials are revising the school’s administrative structure to create two co-principals and an assistant principal at the Lawrence Intermediate School.

This action is a result of the decision by the school district officials who seek more leadership at the grades 4-6 school.

At a special school board meeting that was held on May 15, the Lawrence Township Public Schools Board of Education appointed Alyson Fischer and Thomas Toohey to serve as co-principals at the school. With an enrollment of nearly 900 students, it is the second largest school in the district.

Fischer, who is an assistant principal at Lawrence High School, and Toohey will replace Lawrence Intermediate School Principal Cynthia Westhead, who is retiring next month.

At the same meeting, the school board appointed Amy Amiet to become the new principal at the Eldridge Park School. Amiet will replace Principal Kathy Robbins, who is retiring next month. She will earn $125,000.

Amiet is the assistant principal at the Lawrence Intermediate School, and began work in the school district in 2006 when she was hired as the music teacher at the Eldridge Park School. There are plans to fill the assistant principal post at the intermediate school.

In their new posts, Fischer and Toohey will each earn $140,000. Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun said the addition of another administrator will not affect the budget because the district’s administrative structure will be reconfigured.

The new administrative structure at the Lawrence Intermediate School calls for Toohey to be the liaison to the 4th grade; the assistant principal to be the liaison to the 5th grade; and for Fischer to be the liaison to the 6th grade.

Fischer, who has worked for the school district since 2011, is an assistant principal at Lawrence High School. She has also held the position of director of health, physical education and athletics for the district. She previously taught social studies at Jackson Township Memorial High School.

Toohey is the director of special services in the Hazlet Township Public School District. He began his teaching career at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School as a special education and history teacher. He also worked as the tri-district supervisor of special education in the grades 7-12 Henry Hudson Regional School District.

The decision to create two co-principals, in addition to the assistant principal, grew out of a recent survey conducted by the school district that sought comments on all matter in the K-12 district.

“I have clearly heard from our school and the Lawrence community that more leadership is needed at Lawrence Intermediate School at such a critical time for our students,” said Ross Kasun, the superintendent of schools.

“The thing that kept coming up at Lawrence Intermediate School was that because of the size of the school – it has almost 900 students – is that it is a huge transition from four smaller elementary schools to one school,” Kasun said.

The Lawrence Intermediate School is a “very challenging place” for the students, who are all trying to find their place in the world, Kasun said.

“If we can get it right in the 4th grade – with gender, equity, diversity, climate, culture and wellness – what a place we would create for years to come in our district,” Kasun said.