EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Fred Nickles, a former township school district superintendent and state Assemblyman, died early Saturday morning, Mayor James "Sonny" McCullough said.
Nickles served as superintendent from 1985 to 1997 and interim superintendent for the 2016-17 school year.
"He was one of a kind," McCullough said. "Half of his achievements would make a man very successful."
Nickles was first hired by Egg Harbor Township in 1970 as a history and physical-education teacher at the Slaybaugh Middle School, according to Press archives.
Back then, Egg Harbor Township was a K-8 district with about 2,800 students spread out in numerous small, aging elementary schools. In 1972, Nickles was asked to become an assistant principal at Slaybaugh at age 24. From that point, he moved up the ladder to become principal at Slaybaugh and later at the high school, until becoming acting and then full-time superintendent in 1985.
Nickles also served as superintendent in the Atlantic City school district from 1999 to 2012.
McCullough credits Nickles with getting him into politics. Nickles was active in politics, serving as a township committee member, mayor, Atlantic County freeholder, state Assemblyman and chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
"It's remarkable what he accomplished," McCullough said. "He just loved giving back to his community."