The West Morris Regional School District has hired Mackey Pendergrast as its new superintendent to succeed Anthony di Battista, whose retirement is effective Feb. 29.
Pendergrast, the district's director of staff development for the past six years, has agreed to a three-year term as the schools top administrator.
"Mackey's done innovative things with less budget each year," regional school board president Cristen Forrester said. "He's dealt with it beautifully, and his vision fit our vision."
All nine board members voted to hire Pendergrast Wednesday, Feb. 22 at a special meeting. The final two candidates came down to Pendergrast and an external administrator, Forrester said.
Pendergrast will be formally introduced at the board's next meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 at Mendham High School. His tenure will begin on March 1.
The district said the following in a statement released Thursday:
Mackey Pendergrast begins his new position with extensive experience as a high school educator and as an academic strategist for the WMRHSD. He taught history at West Morris Mendham High School, and was a Guidance Counselor there before taking the position of K-12 Director of Social Studies for the Westfield Public School District. He returned to the district in 2006 to take on the duties of Director of Staff Development.
In that capacity, he was responsible for the evaluation and implementation of the 9th Grade Study Skills Initiative, an expanded IB for All professional development focus, and the One Book, One District: Rocket Boys project. His numerous professional development initiatives have helped to strengthen and improve the quality of the district's programs and its standing among colleges and universities.
Other initiatives have included a One Day University program, and implementing MyLearningPlan, a system to organize data on student achievement and teacher preparation.
Pendergrast has published articles on professional development in The Journal of NJPSA. In addition, he has been a grant recipient from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Morris County Heritage Commission, and the ING Unsung Heroes Award. He has published manuals on Civil War genealogy, and contributed to a PBS website on Teacher Resources.
Pendergrast holds a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Drew University.