New Director of Special Services Seeks to Serve Students' Needs
Michael Maschi will be holding a meet and greet on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Mill Pond Library Annex
Michael Maschi started his career working with addicts in a chemical dependency center. Today, he works for the Lacey Township School District.
Maschi was hired as the Director of Special Services by the school district in May, upon former Supervisor of Special Services Thomas Dorso’s retirement. He started the position in July.
“I worked with many adolescents and adults; patients feeling hopeless, like they couldn’t change,” Maschi said of his work with addicts.
Maschi would question what the patients life was like as a kid and how they could have been helped early on, he said.
“I was always challenged by that notion. Early intervention. It became an obvious shift in who I wanted to work with,” he said of his transition to working with school districts.
Maschi received his undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at New Paltz where he double majored in Psychology and Sociology. He proceeded to earn a dual-Masters degree at the State University of New York at Albany and New Paltz. He graduated with a Masters in Social Work and a Masters of Arts degree in Sociology.
He worked at a chemical dependency center in New York for approximately five years, later taking a director’s position at a medical center.
In 2005, he made the transition to education in Barnegat after entering the New Jersey EXCEL (Expedited Certification for Educational Leadership) Program. Maschi worked in Barnegat as a school social worker for five years before becoming the Supervisor of Special Services in Little Silver, which is a Kindergarten through eighth grade district.
“Lacey has a great reputation,” he said, adding that the district involves the community and has bright administrators. “I’m excited and eager to work with students K-12.”
Maschi’s skills are more aligned with the Lacey Township School District, he said.
Maschi started with Lacey on July 16. Since then he has met some students, including those with special needs participating in the extended school year program. He continues to meet families, teachers and administrators, he said.
His role will be to “co-create a vision for the department,” he said. He’ll be looking at the current special education programs.
“My vision is that every student has access to a rigorous education that readies them for college or a career,” he said.
Maschi will do everything from ensuring that all Individualized Education Plans are met to taking care of the fiscal needs of the department, he said.
“As Director of Special Services, I will implement and support a full continuum of special education programs,” he said. “My special education programs, when a student has a disability, will accommodate the disability but the child will still get the full experience.”
His efforts will be consultative, also making sure that the general education students have access to quality intervention programs too, he said.
His goals include ensuring that all special education students have a rigorous and high quality education, that he will be accessible to families and students, to help school staff differentiate instruction and use technology and meeting children where they’re at, he said.
“Not just special education students need differentiation,” he said.
Maschi is not implementing new programs at this time although he said he intends to create a premiere program.
“I’m going to take inventory of what’s here,” he said. “Parents expect the best in their kids and I expect the best in our programs.”
Challenges Maschi may face include coordinating all programs and that all quality programs exist throughout the district, not just in one school, he said.
He has worked with Principal James Handschuch to bring the extended school year program, which took place off of school district property, back to the school. New space was constructed specifically for a full day program, he said.
Maschi has worked with the district to institute a new program at the Middle School for autistic students as well, he said.
Maschi will also be working on a partnership with the Lacey Township Municipal Alliance in the future, he said.
Moving forward, Maschi plans to hold periodical presentations for the public throughout the year, he said.
“I’m looking forward to working closely with the staff and I’m excited to engage students. Engaged students are successful students,” he said.
Maschi will be holding a meet and greet on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Mill Pond Library Annex.