PPS Superintendent Kathleen Foster to stay an additional year

April, 2024
Avantika PalayekarYi-Tian XiongYunsheng Xu

In a Board of Education meeting on March 15, the board announced its decision to extend Dr. Kathleen Foster’s employment as interim superintendent to June 30, 2025.

However, because Foster is retired, she can only be employed by PPS, Princeton Public Schools, for a limited period of time as per New Jersey state law. Therefore, before the decision can be implemented, the district must receive permission from the New Jersey Department of Education in order to allow Foster’s extension of contract.

Regardless, despite Foster’s relatively recent appointment as interim superintendent since November of last year, she has seemingly brought her past experience as both a teacher and administrator in order to fulfill her role as superintendent.

“[Foster] has really spent many years [in the educational field]. She led [the Robbinsville school] district with a lot of healing power when they went through traumatic events,” said Princeton High School principal Ceclia Birge. “Now post-pandemic, our district and the whole world has experienced so much trauma, and I really don’t think we could’ve found a better leader than she is.” In addition, Foster’s approaches and viewpoints as an educator also help her work with the Board of Education when making decisions.

“Foster has the student first approach ... [Foster and the Board] are all aligned and that’s what’s important,” said Dafna Kendal, President of the Board of Education. “She’s decisive when making decisions but she always considers all viewpoints ... I think that’s an excellent quality for a leader to have.”

Even when basing her decisions on the benefits of the students and the district in general, Dr. Foster keeps everyone who constitutes the greater Princeton community in mind.

“I think a strength of any leader is the ability to listen and learn ... I learned beside many other people. And certainly, I also really want to make sure that we engage the full community of stakeholders ... listening to staff members, listening to administrators, listening to community members, and most importantly, listening to students,” Foster said.

However, even with Foster’s experience, she still faces challenges with her job.

“One of the most difficult pieces is looking at making sure that we keep on track with our strategic planning goals and the long term planning ... There are things that get in the way ... and we have to make sure that whatever decision we’re making [is] for the best interest of our students,” Foster said.

Despite the challenges, Foster loves what she does and is excited to continue her work until the end of next year.

“I’m thrilled to be [a superintendent]. I love this community,” said Foster. “I love the internal community [of] administrators, the Board of Education, staff, and parents who all care so much about our students. And so I’m really excited ... to be [to be employed for] the next year.”