This is the last week on the job for Sondra R. Markman, Warren Township's longtime K-8 Curriculum Supervisor, and if parents haven't met her personally, they've nevertheless experienced her professional touch in all of their childrens' classes.
Markman, whose retirement takes effect Feb. 1, was Warren Township's first curriculum supervisor.
During her 15 years with the Warren school district, Markman said she has worked collaboratively with teachers, administrators, and parents to conduct reviews of every subject taught in the elementary schools and at the Warren Middle School.
As of now, all curriculum guides and textbooks have been updated and are aligned to the state standards, including Common Core standards — "for a while," she said on Tuesday.
But Markman added that new requirements always are coming from the state level.
Since last summer, she has been working with one of her successors, Stacy Hann-Modugno, who previously had been the teacher for the Reach gifted and talented program at the Woodland School.
Next Monday, when Markman officially has left her office, William Kimmick, now principal at Mount Horeb School, will become a co-curriculum supervisor at the administration level, according to information from the Board of Education office. His replacement will be Scott Cook, now dean of students at the middle school.
Markman, who is completing her 43rd year as an educator, said she had been selected for the position of curriculum supervisor by Dr. Patrick Parenty, superintendent at the time.
The Board of Education had decided that the growing district needed someone to oversee the curriculum for each subject for all grades. Prior to her appointment, each principal was assigned to review a subject area when changes were needed, she noted.
Some areas of curriculum change during these 15 years have included the establishment of a full-day kindergarten, world language instruction in the elementary grades, and inquiry-centered science instruction from kindergarten through grade eight, she said.
In her role, Markman submitted a grant proposal to the Lucent Foundation and received $47,500 in funding for science staff development for teachers that included week-long summer institutes.
In addition, Markman has been the district test coordinator, who oversees professional development for all staff members. She instituted a Flex Day program where staff members can attend professional development courses they select by themselves.
Recently, she arranged for the Rider University Teacher Leadership graduate program to be offered in Warren. Several Warren teachers are taking courses that will enable them to take a leadership role in their respective schools, she added.
As she packs up her office after 15 years, Mrs. Markman commented, “It has been a pleasure coming to work each day and having the chance to interact with such a fine group of professionals. I am amazed that each time I put out a call for volunteers for teachers to serve on a new committee or to pilot new materials, I get a strong response.
She noted she believes that working on curriculum is most effective when the process is collaborative.
Before coming to Warren, Markman said she was K-8 curriculum coordinator in the West Windsor-Plainsboro district. She said she worked for the N.J. Department of Education where she gave workshops for teachers and had curriculum consultations with school districts in seven counties. She started her career in the 1960s as a fifth and sixth grade teacher, and as a reading specialist. She has taught as an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University and at the former Somerset County College, now Raritan Valley Community College.
Over the years, Markman has given workshops at professional conferences in the county and state as well as on the national level. She has presented for the International Reading Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and other organizations.
She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, Storrs, Ct. and earned her Masters Degree in education at Rutgers University.
A resident of Edison, she said she is married and raised two sons, one of whom is deceased. She has two grandsons and two step-grandsons. She and her husband are avid travelers. They have visited 66 countries and, after retirement, have plans to visit more, she said.