Superintendent's Corner

Dr. Richard Tomko
Superintendent of Schools

Richard D. Tomko, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.J.

Tomko Bio PictureDr. Richard Tomko has had numerous administrative responsibilities during his 24-year career in educational administration. He has been a building administrator at the middle and secondary levels and responsible for district-wide curriculum, assessment, innovative program initiatives, technology, and professional development while serving in central office positions for the last 15 years. Prior to his arrival in the Garfield N.J. Public Schools District, Dr. Tomko held the positions of Director of Athletics; Assistant Principal; Principal; Assistant Superintendent; and Superintendent of Schools in several public school districts in multiple counties in New Jersey. He also began to research the achievement gaps between learners and the transition of students from 8th to 9th grade, making changes to programs and personnel to help students be successful in their classes.
Dr. Tomko obtained his principal license and School Administrator certificate after earning his Master's Degree in Educational Administration (M.A.E.), and he has attained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a concentration in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University. Dr. Tomko has also earned a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from The Johns Hopkins University; a Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) Degree in Children’s Law and Policy from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law; the Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership (CAEL) from Harvard University; a certificate in Accelerated Management from the School of Management at Yale University; a Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development from The Pennsylvania State University; a Graduate Certificate in The Brain, Teaching, and Learning from The Johns Hopkins University; a Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Cornell; and a Certificate in Transformational Non-Profit Leadership from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. 

Dr. Tomko currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership and Marriage and Family Counseling graduate programs at Manhattan College, Montclair State University, and Seton Hall University. He was appointed by the last two administrations to serve as a Commissioner on the School Ethics Commission, and he was appointed to serve as a Taskforce Member on Teacher Shortages by Governor Murphy. Dr. Tomko is a current Trustee for EZ-Ride, and he has also served in the past on the Sparta Environmental Commission, the Sussex County Planning Board, and as a Trustee on the New Jersey Educational Services Commission (NJESC).

Dr. Tomko continues to research the "expectations gap" and lack of articulation between secondary schools and institutions of higher education with the hope of improving student readiness for post-secondary instruction. Past formal research endeavors and publications have included student achievement gaps on statewide assessments; student safety; early childhood literacy; guidance and counseling influence on student application to post-secondary education; bullying; student perceptions of remedial English; and student readiness for college. Dr. Tomko has authored four books (Navigating the Workplace: What School Executives Should Know about Labor Relations; Perception is Key: How Leaders Today Can Navigate Workplace Politics; Child Law, Policy, and the School Superintendent: A Handbook for New and Aspiring Chief School Administrators; Calling a Snow Day: How Local Politics Influence School Decisions) that are used by professors and academic leaders to advance knowledge in the field of education and supplement learning for future industry professionals.

Dr. Tomko is a graduate of the National SUPES Academy and participated in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Leadership Institute for Superintendents: Systematic Reform in School Districts and Schools.  Dr. Tomko is a change agent for creativity and problem solving and works with his administrative teams to decrease achievement gaps between demographic subgroups of learners. He has a proven record of effecting change in his current and past districts by involving families, stakeholders, and community groups in the restoration of student engagement leading to overall student success.  

Dr. Tomko was named Essex County New Jersey Superintendent of the Year in 2020 for exhibiting leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and active participation in community involvement with an understanding of regional, national, and international issues. He has been honored with receiving the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for volunteerism and recognized by the United States Department of Defense with his receipt of the Patriot Award and the Above and Beyond Award. Dr. Tomko was spotlighted in Education Week as one of eight Leaders to Learn From in 2023 for exhibiting innovative solutions to fix some of the most pressing challenges facing K-12 schools in this critical period of our history.

Dr. Tomko is married, has four children, and dedicates his spare time volunteering as a coach for local recreation sports teams and other non-profit organizations.


Letters From the Superintendent

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