The New Paltz Central School District’s (NPCSD) Board of Education held a special meeting last week to affirm the contract of Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, who will serve as interim superintendent following the resignation of Angela Urbina-Medina.
Josefsberg has a long history in public school administration, including serving as the interim superintendent in New Paltz for roughly six months between the departure of former Superintendent Maria Rice in December 2019 and the arrival of Urbina-Medina in the summer of 2020.
Between his two stints in New Paltz, Josefsberg served as interim superintendent in the Ringwood School District, a northern New Jersey district that serves students in grades K-8. He’s also served in the same capacity in the Mount Arlington School District and Scarsdale Union Free School District in New York; and the Easton, Redding and District 9 School Districts in Connecticut, which is a pair of pre-K-8 districts and Joel Barlow High School, all under the same administrative umbrella.
Josefsberg’s last full-time superintendent role was in Leonia Public Schools, a district in Bergen County in northern New Jersey.
But prior to his career in education, Josefsberg was a cab driver in New York City, then through a federal grant he became an operator of phonics machines. Occasional gigs as a substitute teacher in Jersey City, New Jersey led him along a career path which now brings him to New Paltz for the second time in the past few years.
Josefsberg earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Columbia University, his master’s in teaching from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in educational administration from Columbia University’s Teachers College. He also compiled graduate coursework at Fordham University, DePaul University and Loyola University in the areas of school finance, organizational behavior and supervision and educational administration.
Josefsberg’s interim contract, adopted by the New Paltz School Board at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 28, runs from July 1 through December 31, 2022, with the possibility of an earlier end if the district hires a new full-time superintendent. Josefsberg will be paid $1,200 per day for all days worked, which will be prorated for any day where he works fewer than five hours. He will also receive a $25 per diem travel allowance for his commute from his home in northern New Jersey. According to the contract, Josefsberg can use his own discretion to determine how many days he works each week, and may do so either remotely or in person. The School Board has the right to direct Josefsberg as to how many days he must work in-district, and he must also maintain records of work conducted when working remotely.
The interim superintendent’s contract also notes that Josefsberg was offered the opportunity to participate in the district’s health insurance plan, but he declined.
Josefsberg was paid a salary of $900 per day during his previous stint as assistant superintendent in the NPCSD, and he received $750 per day in Ringwood.
The interim superintendent’s first stretch in New Paltz came in December 2019 when longtime Superintendent Maria Rice left a role she technically retired from in June 2017, but stayed on while the district sought a replacement.
Urbina-Medina, announced her resignation at a School Board meeting on Wednesday, June 15. Urbina-Medina did not cite any specific reasons for her departure, but she referred to a “trust issues” and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Compounding the pandemic was the fact that the New Paltz Central School District had undergone tremendous upheaval with numerous staffing changes and key leadership positions in the year or so prior,” Urbina-Medina said. “My entire administrative team was untenured, many just months into their tenure in the district and the rest reeling from many systemic issues that led to the exodus of their predecessors. The trust issues were abundant and represented in every unit.”
Urbina-Medina was hired on a four-year contract that paid her $197,000 per year, and officially started her job on July 1, 2020, exactly two years before the interim superintendent who steered the ship until her arrival once again took over.
The next meeting of the NPCSD Board of Education is scheduled for Wednesday, July 6.