Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 31
 
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
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District Appoints Math Supervisor to Oversee Curriculum/Instruction

Linda Arntzenius

The district's math supervisor Bonnie S. Lehet has been appointed to succeed Jeffrey Graber as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Mr. Graber retired in June after eight years with the district.

The appointment was announced at a special meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, July 31, at 8:15 a.m.

Ms. Lehet, who has served the district since February 2001, takes up her new position today, August 1. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in computer science from Rutgers University and a master of arts degree in mathematics education from the Teachers College of Columbia University, where she is currently enrolled as a doctoral candidate in mathematics education.

In addition, Ms. Lehet received a Certificate of Supervision from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University in 1990.

District Superintendent Judith A. Wilson described the search process for Mr. Graber's successor as "thorough and thought-provoking. I am excited about working with Ms. Lehet in moving the district forward in the arenas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment," she said. "The Princeton community, faculty, staff, and students will benefit greatly from her talents."

"Jeff Graber has been a tremendous mentor for me. I will miss him greatly," said Ms. Lehet. "I know I'll be able to continue my relationship with him in his new role with the EXCEL Program."

Mr. Graber is now Associate Director for the Expedited Certification for Educational Leaders with the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. Based in Monroe Township, the State Department of Education-approved program prepares teachers and school administrators for leadership roles.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Lewis Goldstein, there were some three dozen applicants for the post. Eleven candidates were interviewed and six received second interviews. "While each candidate brought a unique and deep set of talents and experience, Ms. Lehet demonstrated that she possesses the best combination of expertise, leadership skills, and balance for the current needs of the district," he said.

Prior to arriving in Princeton, Ms. Lehet served as the K-12 technology supervisor for the Millburn Township Public Schools. Her experience includes work as a senior mathematics and technology specialist for the New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative at Rutgers University and adjunct instructor at Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education and Middlesex County Community College.

Ms. Lehet grew up in Titusville. "My mother, Janice Lehet is a former English teacher who became a superintendent and has worked in a number of school districts most recently in Delaware Township in Hunterdon County." Her father, John Lehet, is an attorney and her brother John is a web designer in New Hampshire.

Ms. Lehet's original career path was in computer science. She became interested in teaching while coaching students at Rutgers University. "I was working in the computer labs helping students master main frame technology that was so very different from what we have today." She graduated in 1985, the same year that the alternate route into teaching was introduced and she decided to give teaching a try.

Her first teaching job was as a mathematics/science teacher in the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, where she served as computer coordinator and technology specialist, received a Tandy Technology Outstanding Teacher Award for the academic year 1990-1991 and was named High School Teacher of the Year in 1996.

Now, at 44, she has achieved a career high in an area that she was at first reluctant to pursue. "I loved working with children so much that for a long time I was resistant to leaving the classroom to become a supervisor."

In her role as the district's math supervisor, Ms. Lehet introduced programs such as the mathematician-in-residence program in Princeton's elementary schools, which, she said, is just the sort of thing that will make her new post as Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction so exciting. She believes that a major challenge for today's educators is to foster student flexibility and independence in a rapidly changing world.

"Students in high school even now will see advances in technology when they go to college," said Ms. Lehet. "The Princeton school district is an exciting place to be because it offers students so many opportunities to meet future challenges. Our teachers encourage critical thinking."

With her new responsibilities, Ms. Lehet doesn't anticipate much time for relaxation, at least in the near future. If she does find some free time, she might set up the pottery materials and kiln that she purchased some time ago, inspired by her days at Rutgers when she spent time in the university's pottery studio. "It's a centering activity that requires concentrated focus on the clay and on the wheel," she said. "I haven't been able to set up my own pottery studio yet, but someday …."

The district will now begin the search for a mathematics supervisor.

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