Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.


Our community pillars help us carry out our 100-Year Vision

Check it out

Health and Wellness

Red Bank YMCA

At the heart of the Red Bank community since 1874, our Red Bank Family YMCA is here to support health and well-being for all. We’re a special place where people of all ages, interests and backgrounds gather to grow in spirit, mind and body.

Learn More
organization-banner
organization-banner

LITTLE SILVER: Q&A WITH NEW RBR PRINCIPAL

julius-clark-070819-500x332-5320890New RBR Principal Julius Clark in downtown Red Bank last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486Many students at Red Bank Regional High School will recognize the new principal when they arrive at the Little Silver institution next month.

Completing a loop of sorts, Julius Clark returns to the area where he worked for 13 before departing for what turned out to be a one-year stay at a district in Mercer County.

julius-clark-072314-3-500x414-2783463Clark at a Red Bank council meeting in 2014, when he was named teacher of the year for his work at the borough middle school. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Clark, 36, son of a military father, grew up in California, Ohio and Texas before bouncing around New Jersey starting in his teens: Bayonne, Plainsboro, Brick, Trenton. He now lives in Toms River with his wife and two children, ages four and two.

Fresh out of The College of New Jersey in 2005, Clark came to Red Bank, where he worked for nine years as a math teacher and four years as an assistant principal, all at the middle school. There, he credits former fellow teacher Pam Brett with helping him develop his “philosophy of mathematics.”

He holds a master’s from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he also obtained his principal’s certification.

Clark left Red Bank for the 2018-2019 school year to take an assistant principal position at the Community Middle School in the West Windsor-Plainsboro district. The RBR board of ed approved his hiring as the successor to retired principal Risa Clay at its June 19 session.

Here’s a lightly condensed interview redbankgreen conducted with Clark over coffee on Broad Street in downtown Red Bank in July.

What is your philosophy of mathematics?

It’s about making kids not afraid to take risks, not afraid to get a wrong answer, and exposing them to multiple ways to solve a problem, so they can develop some kind of strategy to answer a question. There’s not one-way model. I believe if you allow kids to explore and ask questions, they’ll develop their own strategies for solving problems.

Math is not a genetic thing: you’re not born good at doing math. That’s been proven. And I think we have to get that mindset out of us, everyone, because we’ve been told you have to have math mind. No. You just have to be shown different.

Why did you leave Red Bank for West Windsor?

I needed to try something different. Red Bank was all I knew. I never thought I would come back, necessarily.

Over my first year, I learned a lot, worked with a lot of great people, and whether I had gotten the job with Red Bank Regional or not, I was happy in West Windsor, and know I would have grown a lot if I stayed. But now I’m onto a different chapter.

It’s been a blessing to be hired as the principal, and it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I welcome.

Well, you’ll know some people.

Yes, I know the superintendent [Louis Moore], some of the supervisors, I know some of the teachers. I did the Summer Slam program at Red Bank Regional High School for a few years for incoming freshman, some of them kids I taught at Red Bank Middle School, as well as Little Silver and Shrewsbury kids, to help them acclimate to high school.

I tried to build relationships. I’m big on that. I think relationship-building starts there – with other kids, with adults, whatever. It’s purposeful group work. Sometimes teachers say, “go work together in a group,” but we don’t necessarily teach the kids how to work together in a group. So I would teach into it, how to work together. It takes time.

What did you think when the principal’s job at RBR became open?

I was a little hesitant because it was a high school thing, and I have a middle school background. But I talked to people in education, administrators. My stepmom’s a former principal in Hamilton – she did high school and elementary. Talking to her, and other admin people I know, they said, “listen, leading is leading. If you know how to be a genuine person, how to lead and inspire, that’s what the job is.”

Historically, the principal in a high school has been depicted in movies as the heavy, the person a student was sent to when they got in trouble. How accurate is that today?

Really, whoever’s in there, the role is what they make of it. Historically, the assistant principal is in charge of discipline, and the principal I see as in charge of establishing the overall culture: What does the school want to be known for, what’s the vision? That, and to empower others to be their best self, whether it’s supervisors, teachers, kids. We want them to be their best self.

This sounds like an echo of Superintendent Jared Rumage‘s approach in the Red Bank district.

Yeah, he’s been a big influence in my life, as a leader, as a mentor. He and [primary school principal] Maria Iozzi have really helped mold me as a leader. Sometimes he was tough on me, but you need that, because from that toughness, that’s where I learned.

Your predecessor as principal, Risa Clay, was lauded at a recent council meeting for, among other things, the many miles she clocked on foot each day just going from one part of the school to another. Will you be doing that?

Absolutely. You have to be showing face. The teachers have to see you, the kids have to see you. That’s how you get the pulse of the building. And a lot of times, you can put out fires before they even start just by being out and about.

Is there a particularly large challenge you expect to face in your new job?

The challenge is you’re meeting new people and you’re learning the ways of a high school, the culture of the school. I can’t just jump: I’ve got to build relationships. Of course, I have some ideas, but you need perspective first, teacher perspectives, student perspectives, before your start sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank business owner happier than to hear "I saw your ad on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
HEARTY FAREWELL FOR HARDY
RED BANK: Council to honor DPU supervisor Rich Hardy, who retired recently after almost 39 years of keeping things running.
HOMEBOUND? READ ON…
RED BANK: Can't get to the public library? It's now offering free delivery and pickups for homebound borough residents.
TAMING A BEAST OF A WEEK
RED BANK: After the second snowfall of the week, a borough family finds the perfect use for it – a Godzilla snow sculpture.
RED BANK: LIBRARY CLOSED, BUT THE HILL’S OPEN
RED BANK: Though the library was closed by a snowstorm, kids got to enjoy the riverfront property's steep slope Tuesday.
LIGHT(HOUSE) MAKEOVER
This year, getting ready for spring means a midwinter makeover for Strollo's Lighthouse in Red Bank.
TODAY: LOCAL PUPPY COMPETES ON ANIMAL PLANET’S “PUPPY BOWL”
Red Bank’s very own rescue puppy, Biscuit, is set to compete in Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl this Sunday, February 11, at 2 PM. Th ...
WHAT? NO redbankgreen NEWSLETTER?
Apologies to redbankgreen newsletter subscribers: the daily email hasn’t gone out for two days because of technical issues.
RED BANK: TIRED OF SKEETERS?
RED BANK: Tired of mosquito bites every summer? Monmouth County has a free program to help eliminate skeeter breeding grounds.
SEA BRIGHT: POLAR PLUNGE FOR ST. JAMES, OTHERS
Hundreds braved the wind and sea on Sunday at 1PM in support of St. James Elementary School, and other Catholic schools in the area. The eve ...
RED BANK: RBR CLAIMS TITLE
RED BANK: Watch pure joy as the RBR boys basketball team celebrates its first B North championship in 17 years.
RED BANK: FORGET-IT FRIDAY
RED BANK: Train Station can be a lonely place Friday mornings, especially with cold rain in the forecast.
RED BANK: CROONING YOUR LOVE
RED BANK: Imagine a quartet of impeccably dressed gentlemen showing up at your beloved's workplace, singing of your love.
RED BANK: BLACK RIVER ROLLS ON
RED BANK: A 68-year-old rail freight engine can still be counted on to draw a trainspotting fan or two when it rolls through town.
RED BANK: ‘MONDAY SWEAT’ MEETS
RED BANK: Joined by the Hazlet Running Club, members of the Red Bank Run Club met for their "Monday Sweat" at Count Basie Field.
RED BANK: CARD SALE BOOSTS GYM DRIVE
RED BANK: Charter School Foundation offers student-deisgned Valentines cards to help raise funds for a gymnasium.
RED BANK: LOVE IS IN THE… WINDOW
RED BANK: Up next: Valentine's Day, and Partyline finds the Red Bank Chocolate Shoppe getting ready for a surge of love and craving.
CLOSING THE BOOK ON A GREAT CAREER
The Red Bank mayor and council honored with a resolution Linda Hewitt (in red) on her retirement from the Red Bank Public Library at Thursda ...
RED BANK: RAIL COMMUTER’S VIEW
A commuter's view of the Route 35 Cooper's Bridge over the Navesink River, as seen from North Jersey Coast Line train 3320 out of Red Bank F ...
RED BANK: PROMISING PROMS
RED BANK: Prom season approaches, and Lunch Break once again steps up with its 8th annual Prom Giveaway of donated dresses.
RED BANK: DOWN BY THE RIVER
RED BANK: Partyline contributor Karly Swaim captured a gloomy mood in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday evening.