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Kissing Pigs & Eating Muskrat: Welcome to Superintendent 3.0

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This past Friday evening, I had the honor of kissing Penelope, a 120 lb. Vietnamese potbelly pig. Not because it was the hipster thing to do, but it was because the Home and School Association (HSA) held a special dual event, where students got to play candy-bar-bingo and also voted on various teachers and administrators to kiss the pig.  This was the first where I'd seen such an event, and the crowd was beyond energetic.  Nothing beats seeing a packed room of parents, teachers, and students all embracing a sea of smiles.

Based on a few hundred children running to the front of the stage every time Penelope came out to smooch, it was certainly the highlight of the evening. As for me kissing the pig, I don't recall ever doing something where almost  every smartphone in the room came out to take pictures and video.  Surely this is the stuff that computer wallpapers, screen savers, and memes are made of.


 That IS the point though; all of this is in good fun.  Superintendents, now more than ever, need to be public, approachable, and up for events like this.  It does not have to be kissing a pig; it could be a dunk tank (I had a lie around the corner), eating something you normally don't (muskrat was a common local food and 'delicacy' amongst one community where I worked), or something goofy like dying your hair or sleeping on the roof of a school. This is free positivity for you and your district.  Any school leader turning down such things is waiting for a barrage of negativity on top of the daily criticism and negativity you already face.  Events like this are win-win; whether you love me or loathe me, you thoroughly enjoyed the experience... AND... money was raised for a good cause (in the pigs case, it was for the HSA funds).

So, to those crazy fundraisers and fun events where something silly can happen... keep them coming.  You raise funds, awareness, and perhaps even get some personal points in the process.

As for me eating pork, I'm going to give that up for a while.




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Jay Eitner is a proud product of the New Jersey public schools. A graduate from Union High School in 1997, Jay attended The American University in Washington DC with a BA in interdisciplinary studies. He began his teaching career in Roselle, NJ teaching a variety of subjects including social studies, computers, and digital literacy. Known for being ‘outside of the box’ and for strong technology infusion, Eitner strived to make a learning environment that was student centered, data driven, and technology infused. Jay received his Masters Degree from Kean University in 2004 and was hired to teach 8th grade social studies in the nationally recognized East Brunswick Public Schools. During his time in East Brunswick, Eitner has written & received over $140,000 in grants for his students. Grants ranged from podcasting equipment to creating a fully-interactive gold-rush experience, where students dug for gold during their westward expansion unit. Jay obtained his supervisor, principal, and school administrator certificates from the NJPSA NJ-EXCEL program in 2009. Administratively, Eitner has served as a middle school Assistant Principal in the Washington Township Schools , a K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and a Superintendent of the Lower Alloways Creek School District. Jay currently serves as a Superintendent of Schools for the Waterford Township School District. He has presented a series of workshops on digital leadership, technology infusion, and student achievement. Recent awards include the 2015 national Educators Voice Award in the category of Superintendent, the White House MakerSpace distinction, and named to the national Academy of Arts & Sciences as a 2016 Educator To Watch.

Jay currently resides in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and is a proud Dad of twin girls and his puppy Lola.

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Guest Monday, 18 February 2019