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Wood-Ridge schools superintendent: surprised to learn she’s being replaced

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

ONLY ON CVP : Wood-Ridge Board of Education members have scheduled a special meeting this Thursday to discuss hiring an interim schools superintendent to replace Dr. Beth Ebler — who said she was surprised when CLIFFVIEW PILOT broke the news to her this morning. ( EDITOR’S NOTE 5/29/2013 : District officials posted a notice this morning that tomorrow’s meeting has been cancelled. )

UPDATE: The Wood-Ridge Board of Education today appointed an interim superintendent to replace Dr. Beth Ebler, who the board president said was on “leave.” READ  MORE….

“I have no idea what they’re thinking. I don’t know what the board is doing,” said Ebler, of Westfield, who’s been on vacation nearly three weeks. “I am still the superintendent.”

After CLIFFVIEW PILOT ‘s first call this morning, Ebler said she would make calls to the district to determine what was happening. In a follow-up nearly three hours later, she said she hadn’t gotten a response.

She said she did, however, hear from her daughter, “who wanted to know what’s going on.”

Her daughter had seen the notice spotted by CLIFFVIEW PILOT — on the Wood-Ridge Board of Education website and Facebook page — advertising a meeting at 7 p.m. this Thursday in the Wood-Ridge High School auditorium “to hold discussion on the following: Interim Superintendent.” ( As noted above, those notices have seen been removed. )

Wood-Ridge Schools Business Administrator Thomas Perez was in what an administrative assistant characterized as a lengthy meeting when CLIFFVIEW PILOT called at 10:47 a.m., at 12:48 p.m. and again at 2:54 this afternoon. Messages were left for him, she said. CLIFFVIEW PILOT also emailed him questions.

Board of Education members had no comment when asked about Ebler’s status at their May 15 meeting other than to say that she was on vacation.

“[We] have been left in the dark as to who is running the district,” said one concerned parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We have a new school that’s supposed to open in September and we have no idea if it will and what teachers will be there,” the parent told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “With hugely lacking test scores … this is only hurting everyone more.”

The district signed Ebler to a five-year contract in May 2011, records show.

Within weeks of beginning the job that July, she filed a whistle-blower suit against the Plainfield school district, where she’d been a curriculum director before being let go.

Recent notable events in the Wood-Ridge district include a furor over Ebler’s support of High School Principal Sue DeNobile’s decision last year to keep six seniors from walking during graduation following their involvement in a food fight in which a school employee reportedly was struck by a flying bottle.

Ebner said she received threatening emails about the move. Students, meanwhile, said dozens of youngsters were involved and that the incident didn’t get out of hand. Those singled out said they offered to complete community service assignments but were rejected.

Following hurricane Sandy, the Wood-Ridge district hosted displaced Moonachie students and teachers in their elementary, middle and high schools, as well as at the borough senior citizen.

“You see a district in a time of need and the first thing you do is respond to their needs,” Ebler said at the time.

This past January, the first-ever Wood-Ridge Public Education Foundation was launched. Those involved credited Ebler for her “guidance” in creating in the foundation, which seeks to promote community involvement for pupils and students in the system, as well as their parents.

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