LITTLE SILVER: Q&A WITH NEW RBR PRINCIPAL

red bank regional julius clarkNew RBR Principal Julius Clark in downtown Red Bank last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njMany 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.

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RED BANK: RBR PRINCIPAL AIRS HEALTH ISSUE

risa-clayRisa Clay in 2010, when she was named principal at Red Bank Regional High. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank Regional Principal Risa Clay is speaking out — about a health issue that has limited her ability to speak.

In a essay posted on the school website last week, Clay opens up about the physical and emotional challenges of dysphonia, a a neurological disease of the vocal cords that she’s been battling for the past six years.

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NEW PRINCIPAL NAMED AT RED BANK PRIMARY

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Primary School will have a new principal in September, and she’s a tweeter.

The district board of ed approved the selection of Erin Mulligan-Pierre, right, Tuesday night to replace Rick Cohen, said Superintendent Laura Morana.

The two-school district will also have a new business administrator, replacing Annie Darrow, who recently took a job with the Howell school district.

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PRIMARY SCHOOL BIDS PRINCIPAL FAREWELL

The Red Bank Primary School PTO threw a sendoff dinner in the school cafeteria Monday night for principal Rick Cohen, who is leaving this week to become director of curriculum in the Metuchen district.

“The parent involvement in this school has just been amazing,” said Cohen, 38, who’s been principal for the past six years. “That gives the kids a real sense of belonging and pride.”

Superintendent Laura Morana tells redbankgreen that an interim principal is expected to be named tonight, and that a search committee will commence interviews for a replacement next week. (Click to enlarge)

DRIVER PLEADS GUILTY IN PRINCIPAL’S DEATH

img_6457Students and parents mourn the death of Markham Place School principal Donald Merce in May, 2008. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The motorist who killed Little Silver middle school principal Donald Merce in an automobile accident in 2008 pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in federal court Wednesday, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Dennis Smentkowski, a 46-year-old retired Long Branch police officer, claimed he’d taken four times the recommended dosage of the sleeping aid Ambien before he plowed into 58-year-old Merce’s car outside the east gate of Fort Monmouth on Oceanport Avenue, killing him instantly, the newspaper said.

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NEW RBR PRINCIPAL ROSE THROUGH RANKS

risa-clayRBR veteran Risa Clay took over as principal on May 5. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Risa Clay entered the world of education 17 years ago, she never gave a thought to climbing the administrative ladder.

Busting through a glass ceiling wasn’t on her mind, either.

But as if she hadn’t already cemented a lauded reputation for helping bring the highly popular student assistance program, The Source, to Red Bank Regional, Clay has one-upped herself.

The private sector counselor-turned-educator is now the first female principal in the high school’s history — a distinction she said is surprising, yet one she bears with honor.

“It’s important, and it’s something that, to me, is kind of amazing,” Clay said.

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