Montclair school district welcomes new administrators
The Montclair school district hired several new administrators for the 2022-23 school year, some new to Montclair and some stepping into leadership roles from elsewhere in the district.
Schools Superintendent Jonathan Ponds introduced the new administrators in his Sept. 2 community message, and the district will be encouraging the community to get to know the new hires through releases posted to the website over the next few weeks.
Brenda Coe, named Nishuane School assistant principal, served as a teacher, mentor, curriculum leader and curriculum supervisor before stepping into her new role, according to a Sept. 28 release posted to the district website.
“As I enter my 21st year in education in Montclair public schools, I continue to stay passionate about exploring new ideas, supporting staff, partnering with families and finding new ways to meet the needs of all learners,” Coe said in the release.
Her recent focus has been working to support training and resources for culturally responsive teaching and equity.
“I believe all learners need an engaging academic environment where they can grow mentally, emotionally, and socially,” Coe said. “I look forward to working with Nishuane’s caring and dedicated teaching staff to provide high quality instruction, intentional to the needs of all learners.”
Coe is also an adjunct faculty member at Montclair State University, instructing about teaching and learning, according to her MSU profile page.
Maggie Dock is the district’s new mental health and anti-bullying coordinator. Dock began her mental health career in Essex County as a family therapist before becoming a teacher and then a middle school counselor, the release says. She also participated in Rutgers’ Developing Safe and Civil Schools initiative, specializing in social-emotional character development.
Dock became one of the first anti-bullying specialists in the state and “realized her greater calling was to serve school communities as a school counseling administrator,” the release says.
“I am motivated by the district’s dedication and mission to serving the ‘whole child’ and with the level of diversity that the Montclair community embraces,” she said in the release. “I look forward to my roles as I aim to enhance and expand upon the district’s school climate initiatives, bring light to the importance of supporting the mental health of students and staff, and seek opportunities to celebrate the diversity and talents of the Montclair public schools community.”
Lisa Rollins, named Glenfield Middle School interim principal, is an educator with more than 20 years of experience, the release says. Rollins has been in the Montclair district for four years, working as a teacher and the Title 1 supervisor at Glenfield.
“Believing passionately in the power of education to expand human potential, transform lives, and shape new visions for leading and learning, Dr. Rollins prides herself in being an advocate for those students who do not have a voice and have given up hope for access to higher education,” the release says.
Throughout her career, Rollins has held many different positions — teacher, literacy specialist, dean of discipline, supervisor of humanities and vice principal. She has also been a director of financial aid, an adjunct professor and an educational opportunity fund counselor at the collegiate level.
The final new administrator featured in the district's Sept. 28 release is Tameka Stafford, a new special education supervisor. Stafford is a Montclair native who attended and graduated from the Montclair schools.
She began her teaching career as a special education biology teacher in Virginia in 1999. In 2000, she joined the Montclair district and has served as a special education teacher since. Stafford has also taught at Montclair State as part of the Newark Urban Teacher Residency.
She “strives to be an effective leader, supporting teachers, paraeducators, child study team members, and related service providers,” the release says.
She has received the Judy and Josh Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching and is a two-time recipient of the Governor’s Educator of the Year award. She has also been awarded a certificate of appreciation at the NAACP Celebration of Excellence for Montclair Educators and been toasted by Montclair families for working "effectively with students with specific learning and emotional needs through the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence," the release says.
“Her mantra is ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ and she believes in always remaining teachable,” the release says.
Other new administrators in the district include Christina Hunt, business administrator and board secretary; Edwin Brown, assistant business administrator; Sheila Maurice, transportation manager; David Cantor, executive director of communications and community engagement; Tyreek Hunter, director of buildings and grounds; Tina La Gala, district nursing supervisor; Terence Somerville, Northeast School principal; Jeffrey Gannon, Montclair High School assistant principal, and Sophia Kenny, director of school counseling.