Dr. Timothy J. Purnell, a former New Jersey Superintendent of the Year and the interim executive county superintendent of Morris County, has been named as the next executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association following a nationwide search. The organization’s Board of Directors approved the appointment unanimously May 13.
Purnell will succeed Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod in July, who announced in January that he would retire as executive director after almost 10 years at the helm of the Association.
“The NJSBA Executive Director Search Committee received scores of applications from throughout the country,” said NJSBA President Irene LeFebvre. “We were impressed with Dr. Purnell’s creativity, business acumen and commitment to the children of New Jersey. We’re confident that his enthusiasm, educational expertise, and business experience will be an asset to local boards of education and serve the Association well.”
Purnell thanked the board of directors for appointing him to serve in such an important role. “I have long admired the work of NJSBA,” he said. “As a superintendent, I had the experience of working with the Association at various times and I understand the role that local boards of education play in advancing student achievement. I’m excited to take on this role, which will allow me to make a contribution to public education in New Jersey.”
Purnell’s commitment to New Jersey students and educators runs deep.
Since April 2021, he has served the New Jersey Department of Education as interim executive county superintendent of Morris County, providing general support and oversight between local school districts and Trenton.
He was superintendent of Somerville Public Schools in Somerset County from 2011 to 2017. During his time in Somerville, he served as the legal chair of the New Jersey State Board of Examiners and president of the Somerset County Superintendents’ Roundtable.
Prior to that, Purnell was superintendent of Harding Township schools. He started his career as a science teacher in the Montclair Public Schools before rising up the ranks in school administration.
In 2015, Purnell was named the New Jersey Superintendent of the Year by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, and in 2016, was awarded National Superintendent of the Year by the National Association of School Superintendents.
He is the co-founder and CEO of “It’s Anonymous,” a startup that serves as an anonymous crowdsourcing platform for companies, businesses and communities to unleash their hidden potential.
He earned a doctorate in educational administration from Seton Hall University, a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Montclair State University and a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences from the University of Delaware. He graduated from Montville Township High Schools and is a member of the MTHS Hall of Fame.