HIGHLANDS – The former substitute teacher at the Highlands Elementary School and later adjunct professor at Monmouth University, and will be the new Superintendent of Schools for the Tri-District, it was announced last night.
Dr. Tara Beams of Oceanport was named to the position by the boards of education of the Atlantic Highlands, Highlands and Henry Hudson Regional school districts to succeed Dr. Susan Compton, who announced in July she will retire at the end of this school year.
“I am so honored and extremely humbled to be given the distinguished opportunity to lead the Henry Hudson Tri-District educational community and work collaboratively with and learn from the incredible administrators, teachers, staff, families, community members, and, most importantly the students,’’ Dr. Beams told board members at the meeting.
With this appointment, Dr. Beams is bringing her career in education full-circle. After being employed as a public relations executive in New York City, Dr. Beams began her career in education as a long-term substitute at Highlands Elementary School and was eventually hired as a fourth grade teacher in the Long Branch Public School District. Four years later, she moved to Long Branch Middle School where she used her background in performing arts, television production and media studies as the theater and television production teacher for grades 6 through 8. She then became head teacher for the visual and performing arts department and was named the 2008 Long Branch Public School Teacher of the Year as well as Monmouth County Teacher of the Year.
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Dr. Beams entered high school education as the media studies and television production teacher for Sayreville Public Schools and was one of four teachers selected to lead the Peer Leadership program. She was trained by the Peer Group program and the Princeton Center for Leadership training. As an aspiring leader, Dr. Beams also became the professional development supervisor for Sayreville High and led the implementation of school-wide PLCs, the district’s mentoring program where she began the implementation of the high school’s first blended learning environment.
In 2012, Dr. Beams advanced her career with her first administrative position as the Principal of the Gerald H. Woehr Elementary School in the Plumsted Township School District. As principal, Dr. Beams led the staff in the transition to the Common Core Standards, redefined the K-5 basic skills program and designed and implemented data-driven, authentic assessment and progress monitoring protocols to ensure student achievement and articulation among the grade levels.
The work led to Dr. Beams’ appointment by the Edison Public School District where she served as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, PK-5, serving approximately 7400 students and 585 staff members in 13 PK-5 buildings. In Edison, Dr. Beams successfully implemented a 1:1 technology initiative for all grades K to 5 in under two years, leading to a full digital transformation of all curricula, fully implementing digital resources for grades 3-5, while using a blend of traditional and digital resources in grades K-2. Dr. Beams also led her team to develop rigorous, inquiry-based, comprehensive K-5 curricula in all content areas to support technology implementation and a blended learning model of instruction. The work completed in Edison by Dr. Beams and her team was the subject of case studies conducted by Lexia Learning, Amazon Education and was featured at conferences led by Discovery Education. In 2017, Dr. Beams was published in eSchoolNews for her expertise and success in implementing blended learning environments.
Most recently, Dr. Beams has been serving as both the Assistant Superintendent and Acting Superintendent for the Monmouth Ocean-Educational Services Commission and the Bayshore Jointure Commission’s Shore Center for Students with Autism. In this role, Dr. Beams has successfully implemented innovative special education programs and has worked collaboratively with her leadership team and staff to implement technology, community-based learning opportunities and vocational training for general education students and students with autism. As acting superintendent, Dr. Beams serves on the Monmouth County Superintendent’s Equity Committee and the Monmouth County Women in Educational Leadership Committee. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Monmouth Ocean Foundation for Children, an organization currently raising funds and developing a continuing education and vocational skills training program for adults with autism.
Dr. Beams has been an adjunct professor at Monmouth University in the School of Communications, was a member and President and Vice President of the Long Branch Board of Education and was a member of the Amazon Education Advisory Board. A graduate of Wall High School, she earned her B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Rutgers University, a Master’s in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix and in 2017, her Ed.D. in e-Learning and Technology from Northcentral University.
Dr. Beams is an avid musical theater performer and soccer enthusiast. She lives with her husband Daniel, their 14-year-old daughter, Tess and their SATO mix, Mina in Oceanport.
“I feel confident that Dr. Beams will take the Tri-District to the next level of academic excellence,” said Dr. Compton, in introducing her successor. “This will be a smooth transition to new leadership. My thanks to the Tri-District administration, staff, students, and community for all of their support over the past eight years.”