George Chidiac, of the Bayville section of Berkeley Township, was approved as the new superintendent of the Stafford Township School District by the school board Thursday.

Chidiac, 40, is currently principal at the Joseph T. Donohue Elementary School in Barnegat Township. He replaces Judith DeStefano-Anen, 61, of Little Egg Harbor Township, who is retiring June 30.

School board President Joseph Sauer said in a statement that the board is confident Chidiac will build on what has been established in the district, while bringing innovative ideas for student achievement, staff expertise and community involvement.

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Chidiac's contract runs from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016. His annual salary for 2013-14 will be $130,000, according to information provided by the district. He will get 2 percent salary increases for 2014-15 and 2015-16, conditional upon receiving satisfactory performance evaluations. DeStefano-Anen's annual salary for the 2012-13 school year is $181,000

Chidiac began his career as a physical education and health teacher, and also worked as a special education teacher and coached athletic teams. He served as vice principal and special education supervisor at the Cecil Collins School in Barnegat before becoming principal at the Donohue School five years ago.

Chidiac said by phone Friday that he felt ready for the challenge of a superintendent's position, and was familiar with the Stafford District because of its proximity to Barnegat. He said he plans to bring energy and excitement to the district, and also wants to do more to promote the Performing Arts Center.

"I am a hands-on person, and I will be highly visible," he said.

He said challenges will be instituting the new statewide curriculum and online testing systems.

"I want to be competitive with technology," he said.

Stafford Township School District is a kindergarten through sixth-grade district serving 2,250 students in five schools. In 2011, Stafford Intermediate was named a Model School in the Arts. The district is currently a participant in the state Department of Education's principal evaluation pilot program.

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