When it came time yesterday for the question-and-answer session at state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s now-annual convocation with school superintendents, there was an awkward moment: nobody stepped to the microphone.
“Oh, I know you have questions,” Cerf said wryly, aware of the challenges facing school leaders and their districts in a momentous year of change.
And while a few school superintendents did ultimately wander forward, the hesitation spoke to a different tenor – some would call it calm, others resignation -- that is coming over this group in the fourth year of Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure and the third year for his education commissioner.
Compared with previous convocations at which tensions were high and questions were plentiful, the more than 300 school leaders gathered yesterday at Jackson Liberty High School appeared to be getting used to the new world order under Cerf and his boss.
Gary McCartney, the South Brunswick superintendent and president of the state’s superintendents group, which hosted the event, said he saw the three years of convocations with Cerf as a period of evolution.
“I think people are beginning to assimilate,” he said. “In the first year, it was kicking and screaming, hoping (the initiatives) would go away. The second was wringing your hands and whining, thinking they would go away. Now you say, I don’t have any more tantrums, I think we’re going to do this.”
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