The state board of education approved the appointment of Eileen Shafer as acting superintendent of the Paterson Public Schools. She is filling in for state-appointed district superintendent Donnie Evans who retired at the end of June.
Shafer is the first woman to be named superintendent of the Paterson school system, according to the district. She served as deputy superintendent under Evans. Assistant superintendent Susana Peron has been elevated to deputy superintendent.
“Over the past eight years, this district has realized many successes but there is much more work to be done,” said school board president Christopher Irving in a statement on Monday. “Our Board is confident in Ms. Shafer’s leadership skills and her ‘get things done’ attitude; and we are very much looking forward to working with her as we remain steadfast in our commitment to returning this district to full local control.”
Shafer (pictured) has worked in the district for the past almost 25 years. She played a key role in breaking up the city’s comprehensive high schools into career themed academies that resulted in improved learning environments within both Eastside and John F. Kennedy High School.
More recently, Shafer led a committee that produced alternatives to out-of-school suspension for the city’s youngest students. She has a bachelor’s degree from Montclair State University and a master’s from the Slippery Rock University.
Shafer selected Peron to serve as deputy superintendent. The city’s school board confirmed her appointment. Peron will oversee the district’s day-to-day school operations, instructional programs, and data, accountability, and technology office, and academic services, according to the district.
“Ms. Peron’s well-rounded background in curriculum and administration are a tremendous asset to Paterson Public Schools and I look forward to working with her in this new capacity,” said Shafer in a statement.
Peron has worked in the district for 31 years. She began as a bilingual teacher and climbed up the ranks over the decades. She was responsible for producing an aligned curriculum for over 400 courses. She was also instrumental in securing authorization from the prestigious International Baccalaureate Organization to create an International Baccalaureate program at International High School.
Peron has two master’s degrees from the New Jersey City University.
Shafer will fill in as acting superintendent until a permanent appointment is made. A permanent appointment may not happen until 2018. The Paterson Education Fund is expected to hold a series of community forums to gather community input prior to the selection of a new superintendent.
The school board is expected take a lead role in the search. The appointment will ultimately be made by the state’s next governor via the New Jersey Department of Education which has been in charge of the district since 1991.