The Hopewell Valley Regional School District (HVRSD) Board of Education is pleased to announce that following an intensive search process, Dr. Rosetta Treece has been selected to be the next Superintendent of Schools for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Dr. Treece is the first African American to serve the district in this capacity, and is only the second woman to accept the position as superintendent.

In accordance with New Jersey statutory requirements, Dr. Treece’s contract has been approved by the Executive County Superintendent for Mercer County. The Board will vote to officially appoint Dr. Treece at its next regular meeting, to be held on July 19.  

Dr. Treece will assume the role of superintendent on August 1, 2021, replacing current Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Smith whose retirement is effective July 31, 2021.  

Dr. Treece has served as the Director for Curriculum and Instruction for the HVRSD since 2016 and was elevated to Assistant Superintendent in 2020. She is uniquely qualified to lead HVRSD at this critical phase in district history.“It is with great pleasure that the Board names Dr. Treece to be the next superintendent for Hopewell Valley Schools,” said Board President Deborah Linthorst. “Dr. Treece is an effective, accomplished, caring educator who is committed to the support and development of all students, preparing them for success and for lives as responsible, ethical citizens of our world. We look forward to working with her in this new capacity, in an environment that supports academic excellence, equity, and celebrates the talents and individuality of each of our students.”  

Linthorst noted, “Hiring the superintendent of schools is the single most important, and perhaps the most difficult, obligation of a board of education. We thank the many members of our community who participated in this process.” Jess Grillo, Board Vice President, stated: “The Board considered Dr. Treece’s candidacy independent of her current role as Assistant Superintendent, as we would any applicant, and determined without reservation that she shares our vision and values as a district. As Superintendent, her commitment, intellect, and broad experience, along with her collaborative nature, will enable the Board to meet its goals and uphold the tenets of our district mission statement.”  

As a proven leader and well respected member of HVRSD and the Hopewell community, Dr. Treece understands first hand the unique culture of this high performing district having worked closely with students and their families, staff, and community members. As Assistant Superintendent and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, as well as in other positions over the past decade, Dr. Treece has played a large role in shaping district policy and practices. She has been an indispensable member of the district administrative team throughout the pandemic, working in collaboration with Dr. Smith and key staff on matters ranging from safety to technology, grading policies to screening practices, and many other areas. Her vision and leadership were essential in enabling students and staff to succeed in both the remote and hybrid environments.

“Many of us have heard about the history and the ‘revolving door’ of superintendents prior to Dr. Smith’s assuming leadership responsibilities for the district,” said Linthorst. “After twelve years, this job will be a challenge for whoever walks through the door; they’ll need to be ready to rise to the occasion. The Board has the utmost confidence in Dr. Treece’s ability to hit the ground running on Day One.”Dr. Treece will lead an accomplished administrative team, to include Assistant Superintendent for Finance Robert Colavita, Director of Human Relations Tana Smith, and Director of Pupil Services Paulette DiNardo, as well as six veteran building principals and an experienced group of supervisors. 

Board Search Committee Member Jenny Long noted, “As a district, we have come to rely on this tightly knit, highly qualified staff to collaborate and to perform at a high level. There’s magic in that. This experienced group has enabled the district to realize success in the face of numerous challenges, and particularly during the pandemic.”

The appointment of Treece will allow the district – which boasts a very engaged community, a rigorous, challenging curriculum of studies, and a strong, accomplished teaching staff – to continue its tradition of excellence and build upon the framework laid by the current administration. The new superintendent will bring her own vision and passion for education to the position, while providing a welcome sense of consistency and stability in these challenging times.

Dr. Rosetta Treece shared, “I am very excited to be able to continue the vision of excellence as established by our Board of Education and outgoing Superintendent Dr. Thomas Smith. I would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Smith for his mentorship and wish him well in his next endeavor. We are blessed to have a very engaged school community and I look forward to our collaboration and expanding upon the great work that is already underway.” 

The Hopewell Valley is a unique region, both in character and in composition. Students attend district schools from three different towns, each with its own distinct culture and attributes. The district reflects these aspects, most notably in its elementary schools, each possessing its own personality and characteristics. These cultural elements were a significant consideration during this process, as was the Board’s intention to ensure continued progress during the pandemic and with preparations for the new school year.  

The Board, led by the efforts of its Superintendent Search Committee, considered multiple applicants. While a number of other qualified candidates were given consideration, none possessed the advantage that Dr. Treece did as a proven leader in the district. 
Search Committee Member Andrea Driver shared, “I am thrilled that Dr. Treece will be our next Superintendent. She has served here for more than a decade and has a vested interest as I do, as a lifelong resident of the Valley and as a graduate of the district. I am excited about the initiatives that Dr. Treece has sheparded and plans to continue as our CSA. In my opinion, she was clearly the best candidate for this position.”

The Board, as well as the vast majority of community members who provided feedback, felt strongly that this was not the time to introduce a new leader from outside of the system, who would require time to become acclimated and to get to know the community. The results of a recently conducted community survey, focus groups, and other public feedback echoed these sentiments. A majority of respondents cautioned against the impulse to make large-scale changes and voiced approval for the direction in which the district is headed.  

There was also a strong call to continue with the district’s focus on equity, inclusion, and diversity policy and initiatives, as well as an increased need for mental health support for staff and students. Quantitative survey results revealed that, above all else, HVRSD’s new chief schools administrator should be communicative, transparent, collaborative, approachable, visionary, compassionate, and flexible. These top-rated characteristics and qualities of a CSA were viewed similarly by parents, students, and staff. 
According to Search Committee Chair Anita Williams Galiano, “The results received through community feedback resoundingly confirmed what the Search Committee and Board members already knew … that Dr. Treece is uniquely qualified to take on this role, that people are confident in her abilities and are prepared to entrust the future of our district to her capable care.” She went on to say that Dr. Treece is “highly visible and personable, a visionary leader who inspires others and who is a team builder, and is an outstanding communicator who is aware of the need for community involvement.”

Dr. Treece’s 19 years of service as an educator includes several other positions in New Jersey public schools. During her career, she has served as a high school English teacher, a Literacy Coach for secondary schools, and Vice Principal. Over the past 8 years, Dr. Treece has served HVRSD as a Vice Principal at Timberlane Middle School, Principal at Timberlane Middle School, and as Director and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. 

Dr. Treece holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Secondary Education from The College of New Jersey, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Rowan University. Dr. Treece’s doctoral research focused on Emotional Intelligence and Social Emotional Learning. 

In addition, Dr. Rosetta Treece has demonstrated a long standing commitment to Equity and Social Justice. She is a sought after consultant on topics of Equity, Inclusion, and Mental Health in public schools. Dr. Treece strongly believes that all students can reach their full potential with the proper support systems in place. As the Chief School Administrator of Hopewell Valley Regional School district, she will continue her efforts to ensure that all students have access to rigorous academic programming coupled with the social, emotional and academic support they need to succeed. 

The timeline for the search process, while concise, was informed by the Board’s commitment to the highest standard of leadership during this unique transitional period and as district administration and staff continue to plan for the return to school in the Fall of 2021.  

Information and details regarding public sessions with Dr. Treece will be forthcoming. 

Submitted by Dr. Tom Smith, current HVRSD Superintendent

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