New Andover principal ready for school year

Heinze took over at Florence M. Burd July 1

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By Rose Sgarlato
— Monica Heinze is the new principal at the Florence M. Burd School as of July 1.

After a year of temporary principals and a budget deficit in the school district, Heinze is ready to take the reins and move the school forward.

After an earlier career in sales and marketing, Heinze was influenced by her son’s learning disability and a love of coaching, and shifted gears to education.

“Proactive teachers changed my son’s life,” Heinze said. “And by coaching softball and other sports getting the best out of kids also brought me closer to the decision.”

Heinze began her education career, after going back to college to get her first education degree, as an aide at Kittatinny Regional School in 2007 working her way up to a full-time position. From there she went onto Sparta Middle School to teach special education.

In the past seven years, Heinze has received several post-graduate degrees and certifications including a Masters of Arts in Special Education as well as Educational Leadership and a graduate certificate in Integrating Technology into the Curriculum.

She attributes her fast track of moving up the educational ladder to her well roundedness in all subject areas that helped to land her a prior role as vice principal at Coplan Middle School in Rockaway Township.

“I was ready to help as many kids as possible and was asking myself how I could do that? Going the administrative route seemed to be the natural progression,” Heinz said.

Her experience at Coplan Middle School being part of a three-person team leading a school of 1,200 students prepared her for the next move. When the position in Andover Township became available, Heinze immediately applied.

“My goal was to be a principal and have my own building, and I knew I could do it,” she said. “I am from Sussex County and this is an amazing opportunity.”

Florence M. Burd is an elementary level school from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade with a current enrollment of 310 students, according to Heinze. She is well aware and informed about the recent state of the school that saw three acting principals and shrinking funds.

“Last year was a transitional year. There needs to be continuity. All my decisions are student-driven,” Heinze said. “I always consider them first and ask is this going to benefit the students and how much?”

There are mandatory district goals that Heinze and her staff must meet but also has a few of her own that she would like to accomplish in the near future focusing on technology and language arts.

“I would like to bring as much technology into the building and to teachers as possible. Last year, the school got Chromebooks which is great. I want to expand upon this and set up a Chromebook lab,” Heinze said.

A Chromebook is an educational device from Google that uses applications in the classroom and is user friendly to both students and teachers. Heinze is also an advocate of bring your own devices.

“BYO device is going to be across the board at schools and as popular as a backpack,” she said. “I realize there is limited funds, but I am hoping to get grants and Google apps are a great resource."

In addition to her technology driven tasks, she is focused on creating a stronger language arts community with the help of professional learning committees, forums created for teachers to achieve common goals.

“When everyone comes together, that’s how it works,” she said. “I believe in collaboration with teachers and parents. My door is always open.”

Of priority to the new principal is the safety and security of the students.

“I want the school to be a home away from home," Heinze said. “I look forward to a great year.”

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