ACIT superintendent earns state recognition

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Charlie Pritchard / Atlantic County Institute of Technology Superintendent Philip Guenther, left, was honored at the school on Friday, Jan. 17 as New Jersey’s 2014 candidate for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) national superintendent of the year award. Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson proclaimed the date as “Dr. Philip Guenther Day” in Atlantic County. Charlie Pritchard / Atlantic County Institute of Technology Superintendent Philip Guenther, left, was honored at the school on Friday, Jan. 17 as New Jersey’s 2014 candidate for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) national superintendent of the year award. Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson proclaimed the date as “Dr. Philip Guenther Day” in Atlantic County. HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Atlantic County Institute of Technology Superintendent Philip Guenther was honored at the school on Friday, Jan. 17 as New Jersey’s 2014 candidate for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) national superintendent of the year award.

The award was presented by Rich Bozza, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.

“NJASA is pleased to have someone of Phil Guenther’s stature receive this well-respected honor,” Bozza stated. “His unique background and pedagogical experience has assisted in improving educational efforts throughout Atlantic County.”

Also on hand to salute Guenther were Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, Freeholder Director Frank Formica and many of Guenther’s fellow school leaders from throughout the county.

In presenting the award, Bozza also recognized him for his leadership in guiding ACIT from a shared-time school to its present format as a full-time educational institute at which enrollment has more than doubled during his tenure as the school’s leader.

Five years ago, with the support of Atlantic County government, ACIT embarked on an ambitious $40 million building project to enhance educational opportunities for students throughout Atlantic County.

“I am very honored and humbled,” Guenther told the attendees. “This is really about the accomplishments of our school district. We couldn’t do the things we do without a great faculty.”

He also thanked his fellow superintendents for “sending us great kids.”

Levinson presented him with a proclamation declaring the date as “Dr. Philip Guenther Day” in Atlantic County. In briefly reviewing the history of the building project Levinson kiddingly said to Guenther, “If it succeeded, I would take credit, if it failed, I would blame you.”

Guenther has been involved in public education for three decades. Joining the teaching staff at Atlantic City High School in 1981, he taught English and social studies and coached multiple sports. Later, he was promoted to the position of vice principal.

In 1994 he was named assistant principal of the Atlantic County Vocational School and promoted to principal in 1997. He was named chief educator of the Atlantic County Vocational School District in 2004.

Charlie Pritchard / Rich Bozza, right, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, presents the award to ACIT Superintendent Philip Guenther. Charlie Pritchard / Rich Bozza, right, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, presents the award to ACIT Superintendent Philip Guenther. The NJASA procedure names three regional (northern, central and southern) superintendent of the year winners prior to selection of the state superintendent of the year. Guenther was selected the NJASA southern regional superintendent of the year.

 The two other chief education officers joining Guenther are northern regional winner Patrick J. Fletcher, chief education officer, River Dell Regional School District, and central regional winner Michael Gorman, chief education officer of the Pemberton Township Public Schools.

A committee of NJASA past presidents selected Guenther to represent New Jersey in the 2014 national superintendent of the year program. The national award established in 1988 and sponsored by ARAMARK Education, VALIC, and AASA, is open to all public school superintendents in the United States and overseas.

The selection qualifications for the state and national superintendent of the year include:

Meeting the needs of their students, demonstrated communication strength, a commitment to professional development and growth, and significant community involvement. 

Additionally, at the state and regional levels, NJASA has an additional qualification that addresses service with the county affiliate and NJASA.

AASA will announce the national superintendent of the year at its annual Conference on Education in February 2014. The recipient of this prestigious honor will receive a $10,000 college scholarship for a student at the high school where the superintendent graduated.

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