By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City Schools Superintendent Matthew Friedman has led the district for less than a year.
Now, it looks like he is preparing to resign to become the superintendent in another school district.
He is a finalist for superintendent of the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, according to a published report. On Tuesday, the Bucks County School Board is expected to approve his hiring, the Bucks County Herald reported.
The news article is how Ocean City Board of Education President Chris Halliday said he found out that Friedman is possibly taking a new job. However, Halliday also said he had some discussions with Friedman about his interviewing for a position in another school district.
“I found out yesterday with the article,” Halliday said.
He added that he did have a meeting with Friedman last week about his interviews in Bucks County, but that there was no decision made.
Friedman, who lives in Downingtown, Pa., was hired as Ocean City’s schools superintendent in June of 2022. Prior to Friedman, Tom Baruffi was acting superintendent in the position since Kathleen Taylor retired in 2021.
Friedman’s salary is $190,000 per year under his three-year contract with the district.
The district that Friedman may be going to is bigger than Ocean City’s, which has about 2,000 students between the high school, intermediate school and primary school. Sea Isle City sends its students to the Ocean City schools.
Halliday said he did not believe that there would likely be a high enough bump in the Ocean City superintendent salary to prompt Friedman, a married father of three, to stay.
Friedman could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Halliday said that when Friedman officially takes the position in Bucks County and resigns from Ocean City, the district will immediately begin the search for a new leader.
But Friedman will not be leaving just yet. Even if he does accept the new position, he wouldn’t officially start in Bucks County until June, according to the Bucks County Herald article published Friday.
“Regardless of what decision he makes, he is obligated to stay until July,” Halliday said.
Ocean City Board of Education member Jacqueline McAlister said she remains positive about what the future will hold for the district, despite the fact that the district may lose its latest superintendent.
“While this is not the outcome we anticipated, we are enthusiastic about finding the superintendent who will move our students forward and embrace the Ocean City community,” McAlister said. “We have a great opportunity in front of us and we are excited to begin the process.”
The Board of Education was presented with a strong slate of candidates for the superintendent in 2022, receiving applications from across the United States.
In partnership with Strategic Educational Advantage (SEA), a superintendent search firm, the Board of Education set a high bar for finding a new leader to take charge of the Ocean City school district.
Halliday noted that SEA will conduct another superintendent search.
“The search committee (SEA) is obligated to do the search for free if the superintendent leaves,” Halliday said of Friedman likely leaving prior to his three-year contract is up.
Halliday notified each Board of Education member of the possibility that there will need to be a new superintendent search in the near future.
“I talked to every board member about what we would do if Dr. Friedman leaves,” he said.
Prior to coming to Ocean City, Friedman had left a position as assistant superintendent at the South Orange-Maplewood School District in Essex County, N.J.
At the time of his hiring Friedman said in a statement, “I am honored to be the new superintendent of the Ocean City School District and am looking forward to partnering with our students, educators, school board, families, and community in accomplishing the district’s mission of continued excellence by inspiring critical thinking, fostering intellectual curiosity, and promoting acceptance of individuals.”
For more information about the Ocean City School District visit www.oceancityschools.org.