A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Matawan-Aberdeen School District Names New Superintendent

The Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education has hired David Healy to be the district's new superintendent of schools as of 1 March, according to The Independent. Mr Healy is alternately described as one of four district directors or the assistant superintendent for operations and personnel for the Middletown Township's school district.  His responsibilities included student discipline, athletics & extra-curricular activities, facilities, and transportation.

The Atlantic Highlands Herald published a piece in October 2008 showing Mr Healy getting tough on out of towners trying to attend school in Middletown. It would be interesting to know who these supposed interlopers were just to be sure this policy wasn't an institutionalization of racism or classism under cover of a need for fiscal austerity.

Oh, this isn't Middletown keeping out strangers?
David Healy, MTSD Assistant Superintendent responsible for enforcing residency requirement policy, comments, "Middletown has a great school system in a very safe and nurturing environment. It is no wonder that residents from other towns might attempt to enroll their children in our schools under false pretenses. Our hope is to discourage this practice in order to avoid any expense for families or hardship to their children who will be redirected to their town's school when fraudulence is discovered."
The Atlantic Highlands Herald featured Mr Healy discussing improvements in violence and vandalism statistics in the Middletown school district in Dec 2009. (He doesn't miss a beat as he tells us us that self-reported use of illicit drugs in the district was down by half but actual possession incidents were up 700%. Also, observe his emphasis on how the statistics are audited , therefore reliable, and says nothing about their potential for misinterpretation or even worthlessness.)
Middletown, NJ -  Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Personnel, David M. Healy, recently presented the annual report of Violence and Vandalism to the Board of Education, which showed a remarkable 35% decline in the total number of incidents reported of Violence, Vandalism, Weapons and Substance Abuse. The all-inclusive statistic fell from 315 for the 2007-2008 school year to 204 for the 2008-2009 school year.

“This drop is all the more significant,” Mr. Healy explained, “because Middletown gives an accurate report of data as confirmed by state auditors, who have commended the way we aggressively report incidents to the state.” 

Decreases were experienced in practically every reported category, including simple assaults, harassment/intimidation/bullying, damage to property, theft, weapons possession (the latter category reflects only 3 incidents and none involving firearms). Substance abuse also showed a significant decline in the area of reported use with only 43 incidents compared to 95 the year before. One increase occurred in reported drug possession, moving from one to seven incidents from the year before.

In November 2010, drug use in the Middletown district rose by 12%, according to My Central Jersey. At the same time, more and more students surveyed testified to being drug-free. Mr Healy made no effort to reconcile this obvious inconsistency,instead he cherry-picked the data.
The district's drug use total has risen to 68 incidents in 2009-10 from 53 incidents in the 2008-09 school year, but Healy said the district's random drug and alcohol testing program and aggressive counseling programs are working to identify and treat students who are using drugs. . . .
Healy also referred to an anonymous survey given to students at the high schools in 2006 and again in 2009 that asks questions about drug use. The survey has reported a 10 percent increase in the number of students who claim they are not using drugs at both the junior and senior class levels, Healy said.
Mr Healy doesn't attempt to explain why random drug testing, instituted in 2006 and intended to deter drug use, wasn't effective. (Source: World Lingo, citing "Middletown school board OKs random drug testing: Some say plan would deter use," Asbury Park Press, October 24, 2006.)

As for the MARSD challenge before him, Mr Healy is quoted as saying, “I look forward to build on all the good works of Dr. O’Malley and bring Matawan to a place that it needs to be." Hmmm.

UPDATE: The Asbury Park Press published its me-too article about Mr Healy on Friday. APP mentioned that the acting superintendent of schools, Patrick Piegari, in this role since 5 February, is making $640/day until the end of the month.


  1. What people should we allow to attend the schools? If you are saying that people who don't live in our school district should be able to attend our schools, then why can't our kids go to Holmdel or Colts Neck. We are only required to provide an education to students who ACTUALLY LIVE in the district. It costs us over $15,000 per year per student, so if you want people that live out of town to go to our schools, why don't you start by going down to town hall and write out a check for one of them to attend. As for me, my taxes are high enough with out paying extra to educate children who don't live here.
    Why don't you give the man a chance and see what he DOES before you pass judgement on him.

  2. I appreciate your concern for fairness, but the man is a public official with a record in the local media and I have a right to my opinion. Commentary on his past policies and positions is not out of bounds as long as it is reasonable. Sounds like you're more worried about your taxes than examining your incoming public officials. How much a local education costs isn't the only issue worth discussing, except maybe in New Jersey. Why don't you put your shoulder to consolidating municipalities to save some money?

  3. So the best possible choice for the MARSD superintendent is an operations manager? Good luck with that

  4. The Atlantic Herald article seems to indicate that Middletown requires four forms of identification that "prove attachment to the residence".

    My experience is that people may well have a passport, country of origin identification, and a single bill confirming current residency with a furnished rental (utilities included). If they pay bills by cash and use only prepaid cell cards, it could well be difficult for them to produce four distinct pieces of ID with an "in district" address on it.

    On its face the policy seems to penalize not only nonresidents, which it should, but also the poor and recent emigres who may lack necessary proof of "roots" in the community. This is not surprising given how Middletown bought its way out of its COAH housing obligations.

    I would personally hope that Matawan and Aberdeen will aspire to the goal of educating all of their citizens, regardless of economic or social status. In that regard, I salute the ESL program for adults at the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, and its dedicated volunteers, who understand more than most, the need to reach for the dreams and freedoms to which we are all entitled.

  5. "It would be interesting to know who these supposed interlopers were just to be sure this policy wasn't an institutionalization of racism or classism under cover of a need for fiscal austerity."

    I guess that calling the man a racist is "fair" commentary! How can you verify or disprove that assumption?

    Your points on the drug issue are more level and although I cannot find the 2010 statistics, it does appear from the news article there is an attempt to put some spin on the issue.
    Regarding municipal consolidation, it is not the magic bullet you suggest it is going to be.The farther away from the taxpayer the money goes the less of it we see, take a good look a Trenton. Out of every dollar sent there, what percentage disappears? Everyone knows that the size of the public payrolls, pensions and entitlements are the big ticket items. These will not be dealt with in any meaningful way until the state goes bankrupt.

    I stand by my comment that we should not pay for children to go to school that do not live in town. It is not my opinion, it is the law.