How Gettysburg prepared Readington Superintendent Jonathan Hart ’04 to lead

At a school board meeting in June, Readington Township School District Superintendent Jonathan Hart ’04 (middle) stands with fellow superintendents from the nomination and selection committee after receiving his award for being named Hunterdon County Superintendent of the Year.

For decades, Gettysburg College has developed well-rounded educational leaders—individuals who take their holistic learning experience and create unique and expanded learning opportunities for students. That liberal arts and sciences education gave Jonathan Hart ’04 the breadth and depth of knowledge and enduring skills he needed to develop a plan to provide free preschool to children in the Readington Township School District in New Jersey.

As the Superintendent of Schools for the Readington Township School District, Hart teamed up with local private preschool providers to bring free schooling to eligible children within the district. In a 40-page application with the New Jersey Department of Education, he outlined a plan for the next three to five years that would expand preschool to more Readington children until all preschool students have a space in a free preschool classroom.

The application was a success, and Readington was awarded $1.5 million to provide more than 100 free seats to eligible children in its first year. The program will expand even more next year with the Readington School District earning an additional $3.3 million that will double the number of free preschool seats to over 200 in 2025.

“It’s fantastic, and there was no way that I was going to let the opportunity pass by Readington Township Public Schools,” Hart said. “All it needs is visionary thinking. It needs collaboration and teamwork. There’s nothing better for the future of a child’s education than establishing early childhood programs.”

Through its unique approach to learning, Gettysburg has been preparing students for careers in education for more than a century. Students learn critical thinking skills as they pursue multiple learning experiences both on campus and off. As an undergraduate, Hart augmented his own professional resume by teaching abroad in England for a semester. He was also a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, served on the Honor Commission, and worked on an honors research thesis alongside Psychology Prof. Nathalie Goubet.

“We don’t just support teachers; we support education leaders,” said Stebick, who is the director of the Office of Teacher Education and Certification. “We don’t want you to be just a teacher. We want you to lead, whether it’s in your classroom, on a soccer field, or wherever. We teach students to be true professionals with the autonomy, content knowledge, and pedagogical skills they need to be successful in in the classroom.”