New Providence School District – New Providence, New Jersey

February 19, 2024

New Providence School District

Innovation at its core


Boasting exemplary leadership and student success, New Providence School District takes the lead

Established in the tight-knit community of New Providence, New Jersey, the New Providence School District has been a cornerstone of education for generations, with an enduring commitment to excellence and student success.

“We try to prioritize our students’ needs more than anything else,” shares Superintendent Dr. David Miceli.

“We’re constantly evaluating what’s happening locally, and in the state, and nationally, in terms of programs and services and curricula. But we tend to do that analysis, and then circle back to what we truly believe is needed here in New Providence.”

He emphasizes that the District aims to prepare students for post-secondary education, noting that the majority advance to four-year colleges. The overarching goal is to support well-rounded students who are prepared for future placement in school and in the workplace.

Early Education Initiatives

Mary Misiukiewicz, School Board President through 12/31/23, outlines some recent changes in early education, including the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program. She elaborates, “We have a whole new curriculum, we hired some new teachers. We also have some early intervention for our youngest community members that might need extra services like speech therapy, or occupational therapy.”

In partnership with the New Providence Education Foundation, the District also offers an event known as the Kindergarten Mixer. Misiukiewicz describes, “It’s a great community event for the first-time parents here in our school district. It’s an opportunity for the parents to get to know one another and to hear a little bit about our schools. We also partner with the Superintendent of Schools, so the new parents can hear about our programs for the young learners.”


Industrial Arts and STEM Clubs Pumpkin Sling Competition

Innovative Approaches to Learning

On the subject of literacy, Lauren Zirpoli, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, says, “We have a balanced literacy approach here in New Providence. In our early education years, we used the workshop model, and we have been doing that for quite some time.”

She adds that the District also supplements literacy education for students in grades K to 4 with the Sonday program, acknowledging, “That program is more geared towards phonics-based instruction, whereas the workshop model doesn’t focus as much on phonics.” She adds that as students move into middle school and high school, independent reading is promoted, allowing opportunities for students to have the autonomy to select literature based on personal preference.

STEM education is another priority for the New Providence School District and has been since 2015. The initiative began at the high school level, where existing programs were assessed, and curricula were adopted with the support of the national organization, Project Lead the Way.

“We did include in that first year, introduction to engineering and engineering design,” Zirpoli recounts. “In subsequent years, we then added aerospace engineering, and environmental sustainability. While we did that, with Project Lead the Way, we also looked to revamp and rewrite many of our curriculums, and within the curriculum, we included design thinking.”

This commitment to STEM education has extended to the middle and elementary levels, ensuring a continuous learning experience from kindergarten through 12th grade.

When designing a new curriculum, the District takes a progressive approach, looking toward the future needs of students and graduates. “Generation Z, the skills that they need, the type of jobs that are going to be out there for our current kindergarteners, we don’t even yet know what they’re going to be,” Zirpoli maintains.

“We engaged in something called Think Tank 2.0, where we had six committees that focused through a lens of Generation Z, and one of those was curriculum. They did look to incorporate more of a futuristic approach in terms of including real-world linkage to our curriculums.”

New Providence School District also works to provide opportunities for students to be deeply engaged in problem-solving and critical thinking experiences. “We are creating those opportunities, K to 12, for students to think outside of the box, and to engage in those skills that we know are going to be necessary for them,” Zirpoli portrays.

“The other piece to that is teaching our students about ethics, and about what it is to be a good person, what it is to make the right decision. I think that we do well with our character education program in that way.”

Safety and Security

New Providence School District is committed to ensuring a safe and secure environment in all of its facilities. Part of these efforts includes updating locking systems to be monitored by a central office and incorporating a set of double doors known as “man-traps” at main entrances so visitors are required to sign in before entering the building.

“We also have school resource officers in all three of our buildings, who are police officers,” describes James Testa, School Business Administrator, and Board Secretary. “Not only are they there for security reasons, but they also work with our student body, to build that relationship with the students and law enforcement and make them comfortable and hopefully find out before things happen.” Furthermore, cameras are located throughout all schools, monitored by the district, and linked to the local police department.

In terms of the partnership with the police, Dr. Miceli says, “The relationship is very strong. The police department does all the drills with us, and we work pretty closely with them every month. They have access to the building and work with us on that end.”


Photo Credit: Jorden Neilson

Infrastructure Projects and Facility Upgrades

A recent community-approved referendum concentrated on critical infrastructure projects in the District, including an HVAC project aimed at replacing and adding air conditioning to all schools. With only 30% of the District currently air-conditioned, this initiative will significantly enhance the classroom environment for students and teachers. An investment was also put towards other essential projects, including track resurfacing, roofing, flooring replacements, and staff bathroom upgrades.

A major academic element of the referendum emphasized the replacement of all classroom furniture in each of the District’s four schools, converting to mobile and flexible options. Referring back to the Think Tank 2.0 Project, Miceli conveys, “There were several committees, one of which was the classroom environment. As a result of their analysis, we recognized that the stagnant furniture was something that we needed to shift and change.”

This investment aligns with the District’s commitment to providing a sustainable, adaptable, and technology-rich learning environment for the future. “We’re four months into that project, and we’re seeing tremendous strides in front of the teachers and our students,” he asserts.

Valued Partnerships and Collaborations

New Providence School District recognizes the value of strong partnerships with the community, as well as the many relationships that help to create a quality educational environment. One example is Soyka Smith Design Studios (SSDS), which has been a furniture dealer for New Providence on several projects over the last eight years.

SSDS shares, “Following the passing of the referendum, SSDS selected specific manufacturers whose products aligned with the district’s Think Tank 2.0 initiatives and focused on supporting social-emotional learning through furniture.” In addition, VS America was selected to work with the District to support its flexible and agile education initiatives. They express, “The classroom furniture allows teachers to adapt the environment to support a variety of pedagogical approaches. Our district-wide furniture initiative has resulted in happy, healthier students and teachers.”

Another valuable relationship for the District is that with the law firm Fitzpatrick & Merritt, who offer a glowing testament.

“In over thirty years of working with the Board of Education of the Borough of New Providence, most notably as bond counsel on eight bond transactions, we have had the pleasure of experiencing the steady and thoughtful leadership of the Board and administrators in the district. They have always shown a first-class work ethic, with the ability to successfully address every step necessary to plan for, issue, and put to work capital that strategically impacts all of the long-term needs of the district, including being at the cutting edge of many academic, athletic, security and technological advances.”


Photo Credit: Anatoli Dontsov

Looking to the Future

Moving into the new year, the District is actively engaged in a comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Project. “We voluntarily had a third party come out to the District to spend a week with us and evaluate all of our programs and services, and policies and operations, to see how we’re doing with that inclusiveness and sense of belonging in our community,” Miceli discloses.

“We have received a significant report from them, and we have put together a district-wide committee to analyze the recommendations and outcomes, which will then be shared with the Board of Education. We are looking to put together a three to five-year plan for the District.”

Simultaneously, the Board is conducting a superintendent search to replace Dr. Miceli, who is retiring in June of 2024. “I certainly want to help with that transition and make sure that it is extremely successful. This is my 20th year here in New Providence. So, I want to make sure that that goes really well, and that the community is in great hands moving forward.”


New Providence School District

What: An established school district prioritizing student success

Where: New Providence, New Jersey



Cornell, Merlino, McKeever & Osborne , LLC –

Clyde Paul Agency –

Hannon Floors –


February 2024

You may also like