WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange Board of Education President Jennifer Tunnicliffe announced Aug. 22 that the board has “suspended” its superintendent search, as current interim Superintendent of Schools C. Lauren Schoen has agreed to remain through the 2022-23 school year, to be succeeded by longtime West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore.
“We are pleased to announce that Dr. Schoen has accepted her continued role as our interim superintendent through June 30, 2023,” Tunnicliffe said. “We are also pleased to announce that Mr. Hayden Moore has accepted the position of assistant superintendent of schools, effective Nov. 1, 2022. The board intends to appoint Mr. Hayden Moore as the next superintendent of schools effective July 1, 2023. During the next academic year, Dr. Schoen will provide leadership and support to Mr. Moore, as part of the transition plan.”
Schoen became interim superintendent on March 16 after former Superintendent Scott Cascone left the district. A 33-year education veteran who previously served as superintendent in three other school districts and as interim superintendent in one other, Schoen spent two weeks with Cascone prior to his departure to learn about the district before she took over; she will now have the same passing-the-gavel experience with Moore, though it will be for longer.
“It is a privilege to continue to support such a great community,” Schoen said in a press release. “I look forward to partnering with Mr. Moore to effectively move our district forward as we open our schools for the 2022-2023 school year.”
Moore has served as principal of the high school for the past 10 years, beginning his education career nearly 25 years ago in special education. He entered WOHS as a dean of students and became principal in 2012 following the retirement of Arthur Alloggiamento. Since then, he has implemented successful programming, including block-drop scheduling, expansion of Advanced Placement courses, technology and engineering courses, sports and arts programs, and the creation of the Mountaineer Mentors and Mountaineer Academy. Several years ago, he initiated the Principal’s Scholarship Fund to recognize graduating seniors who impacted the life and culture of the school through service.
“I am pleased, proud and humbled to accept the offer to become the assistant superintendent of schools during this transition,” Moore said in a press release. “I have been honored to serve this community for 26 years, and am excited to continue my service at this next level. I must thank Dr. Schoen and the board members for their kind, decent and supportive postures throughout this process. With the strong support of the community and the Board of Education, we will continue to make the West Orange Schools the very best that they can be.”
Back in 2019, Moore was honored as the 2019-2020 Administrator of the Year, nominated by members of the WOHS Student Council and chosen by the New Jersey Association of Student Councils state officers, who are also students. To be nominated, a representative from the WOHS Student Council, the council’s adviser and another member of the school’s administration had to write letters of support for Moore. Then senior and Student Council Co-president Brett Zeligson wrote the student letter, and explained why he and the rest of the council members wanted to see their principal win.
“We all agreed he deserves it the most,” Zeligson said in a 2019 phone interview with the Chronicle. “He represents West Orange so well. We’ve gotten to visit other schools for student council and I realized how much more he does than other principals.”
Though the news of Moore’s promotion is fairly new, many community members and organizations expressed joy and agreement with the decision, citing Moore’s community-building efforts and many successes in the school district.
“Congrats to our own coach Hayden Moore,” the West Orange Police Athletic League posted on its Facebook page. “We can’t think of anyone more deserving! Coach Moore has a true love and commitment to the West Orange community. Our students are truly lucky to have a strong role model in coach and now Superintendent Moore.”
At the Aug. 22 BOE meeting, Moore was given a standing ovation by the audience.
“I really appreciate the community that I live in and raise my children and work in,” Moore said at the meeting. “For us to get any further in our trajectory and continue to rise, it’s going to take a ‘we.’ That’s the philosophy I’ve learned growing up here in West Orange, that together, we are strong, and that it takes a ‘we’ to succeed.
“I’m lucky to be working with such an esteemed superintendent and I’m lucky that the board is smart enough and kind enough to let a new superintendent have someone to rely on for a year,” he continued. “I’m humble enough to understand it will take me that time to learn how to best serve this community and to make sure that our children and our staff are always comfortable.”
Photos Courtesy of Cynthia Cumming