HARDYSTON — Hardyston Township School District has found a new leader. With the retirement of Martin G. (Glenn) Sumpman, who held the post for three years, the district had an opening for a Chief School Administrator. After a relatively quick search, Richard R. Corbett has accepted the position.
Corbett will come in with a salary of $135,000; Sumpman was earning $135,000.
Corbett, currently the Superintendent/Principal in East Newark, will take over the position in September. He started in that district as a principal, and when the superintendent retired a year later, he took over that position too. He ended up holding both positions for three years. Prior to East Newark, he was the principal at Shepard Academy, a private school in Morristown. He has a dual certification in elementary education and special education. He started his career in education in 1993 as a teacher at Union Catholic High School.
Corbett had an unusual start on his way to education. He actually began as a Merchant Marine, which ended up leading him to education. “I went through four years of maritime college and hated everything I was learning,” he said. “But I learned something from that: that students need to be engaged in what they're learning.”
He worked on tugboats and oil tankers for nine years, but in the end, it wasn't something he found interesting. “I knew I wanted to do something more substantially fulfilling,” he said. “That's how I ended up at teaching. I knew it would be fulfilling.”
So he went back to school and launched his career in education, which has wound its way to Hardyston. “I'll be 52 in September. It's time to change. I don't want to be here (in East Newark) until I'm 62,” he said. “I think it's important for any professional to be challenged. Complacency is your enemy.”
It's not that he doesn't like East Newark. “I'm very comfortable here. I have the support of the mayor, I have the support of the board of education. I have support of the teachers. It's a very small community, quaint. It's a very nice community,” he said.
Bigger and more challenging The bigger district presents a new challenge though. “There are two schools instead of one. It's completely different demographic. It's going to force me to be creative and try new things.”
In his current district, the students are mostly Hispanic and speak English as a second language.
“I think the first challenge is going to be to get to know the district and the teachers and the students well,” Corbett said. “The first challenge is to know the people. One of the things I did was ask Nicole Meyers (assistant to the superintendent at Hardyston) to give me a yearbook, which is here on my desk.”
“The most important thing is educating the students,” Corbett said. “Their achievement is pretty good. My first year, my intention is to listen, observe and learn.”