Get to know Montclair Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Ponds better – his background, education, his experience in different roles — teacher, coach, principal, superintendent — and how he met his wife.
Ponds sat down for a conversation with Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings. Cummings has also served on the Montclair Board of Education.
Cummings asked Ponds questions submitted by parents, including “Are there any programs you are currently concerned about in Montclair Public Schools?”
Ponds said he wanted to know the “whys” when someone believes a program isn’t working.
Cummings zeroed in on one specific program — restorative justice — and asked if Ponds saw it as valuable.
“My goal is to make sure restorative justice is a part of our framework. It is an amazing program. I promised the board and told my team we are a restorative justice district,” said Ponds.
“We want our staff to look like our community, but we are also making sure that we make up for the imbalances out there,” said Ponds with regard to staff makeup and future hiring in the district.
Ponds also told parents to hold him accountable and will be meeting with parents regularly to ensure this.
He also elaborated on the decision to move to opening schools in an all-remote model.
“We started going to buildings and the principals were telling us ventilation can be an issue. I reached out to architects and engineers and it was an issue,” said Ponds, adding that he would be notifying families in writing on how ventilation issues will be addressed and resolved, with a timetable.
Watch the entire conversation below: