Dr. Stephen Genco, Assistant Professor of M.A. Administration and Leadership Program, Georgian-Court University, NJ

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Genco, Assistant Professor of M.A. Administration and Leadership Program

What programs do you teach at Georgian Court University? What drew you to this field of study? What keeps you excited about it?

Currently, I am teaching the curriculum supervision and leadership classes in the M.A. Administration and Leadership program at Georgian-Court University (GCU). I am a recently retired superintendent of schools in a large suburban district, but during my career I have been a teacher and coach, assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. I bring into the program a tremendous amount of practical experience.

As a professional who worked at all levels, these practical experiences give me insight that can help guide future administrators on choices for their careers. I am a teacher at heart, so I am constantly excited about assisting professionals to gain knowledge and grow in their fields. Even as an educational leader in schools, I always prided myself on mentoring young administrators. This current role is a natural progression for my professional journey.

How will your program better prepare/equip educators for the current climate we’re in?

Teaching students about the importance of flexibility and looking at each item through multiple lenses allows me to model best practices that are necessary when working in a pandemic environment.

The doors open and close for the students, creating future administrators that realize that and can think outside of the box for the betterment of the school is our priority. Additionally, mentoring students in their last phase of their master’s program and working with their school systems creates a setting that will prepare them when hired in an administrative role.

What attracted you to Georgian Court University to teach? What sets them apart?

As a young professional, I went to Georgian Court University for my master’s in education and later my master’s in administration. I found the program and professors full of practical knowledge and theory. They truly helped me mold my vision of what good administration practices should look like.

Having professors who spent a successful career in administration or currently working as an administrator provides the students with real experiences. When working at Georgian Court University presented itself full-time, I jumped at the opportunity.

What is your professional background as an educator?

I am from Ocean County, grew up in Brick, and attended Brick High School and West Virginia University, where I wrestled on a scholarship. I originally majored in engineering but later decided that I wanted to teach and coach.

I was a chemistry and physics teacher and coach for 13 years at both Brick High School and Wall High School. I then went back to school and completed two master’s degrees in secondary education and administration here at GCU. Finally, I completed my doctorate from Rowan University in Educational Leadership.

I have been a high school assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and for the last ten years of my career, superintendent of schools in Jackson Township before retiring this past June. This is my fourth year at GCU but my first year as an associate professor full-time.

Tell us a little about yourself. Why did you become interested in education?

I went to WVU on a wrestling scholarship and always felt like I wanted to teach and coach. When I thought about the profound impact that some of my teachers and coaches had on me, I wanted to be that to my students.

As my professional growth occurred, I wanted my decisions to have a more significant impact on the school, so I constantly strived to move up. As a successful athlete, leadership came naturally. My peers always pushed me to move up, and I always thrived on challenges.

I have coached high school football, wrestling, and softball and am an avid sports fan. I currently reside in Point Pleasant Borough with my wife Susan, a superintendent of schools. For a while, we were the only husband and wife superintendents in NJ.

What would you tell prospective students considering your program about yourself? What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?

I would tell prospective students that I have a great deal of experience and passion for education. I understand the Organizational Frames of School Systems, and with that understanding, I can show you how to evaluate school systems and design changes that mirror best practices.

Through my extensive education, I can discuss theory, but more importantly, through experience I can discuss practical reasons that should make the foundation of good decisions. My students should also understand that I am quite passionate about developing comprehensive programs so that all students can find their niche. I believe in students!

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing their Administration and Leadership degree? How can people stand out in this field?

I would tell students interested in pursuing administration that they should always interview sincerely. Don’t leap at your first opportunity. Try and match your passions and interests with school systems that are appealing to you.

You can stand out in this field through your work ethic and passion. As a superintendent, I always felt like I could teach a professional what they needed to be successful, but I couldn’t create a true passion for them. That comes from within.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I also act as the liaison to Ocean and Monmouth County K-12 school systems, in this position. This allows me to stay current with the happenings that are going on in schools today.