The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rotary's annual winetasting event will also honor Marilyn Birnbaum

Retiring North Plainfield Schools Superintendent
Marilyn Birnbaum to be honored.
The Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield will honor Marilyn E. Birnbaum, superintendent of schools in North Plainfield, with its 2014 Service Above Self Award at the club’s 15th annual wine-tasting dinner on March 25 at Giovanna’s Restaurant in Plainfield.

“This annual award is presented to community leaders who best exemplify the Rotary International motto of ‘Service Above Self,’ ” said Mary Forbes, club president. “We are recognizing Marilyn for her long and distinguished career in North Plainfield’s school district, along with her service to our club as president and as liaison to our Interact Club at North Plainfield High School.”

The dinner is also a fundraiser for the Rotary Club’s scholarship program.

“We award $6,000 each year to graduating seniors from North Plainfield and from Plainfield high schools,” Forbes said. “The dinner is a great way for people to not only recognize Marilyn’s many achievements and her dedication, but to also enjoy a delicious, five-course dinner with fine wines accompanying each course.”

Birnbaum served as president of the Rotary Club for two years, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. In her capacity as liaison to the Interact Club, she has promoted the club’s service activities and serves as an outspoken proponent of its members and projects.

“We have a close working relationship with the Interact Club,” said Michael Townley, Rotary Club secretary. “One of our fundraising projects is working the concession stands at Rutgers basketball games. Interact members are there for every game, and when Marilyn is also there, you cannot miss the affection she has for her students, and they for her. She attends every school event because she truly cares for all of her students.”

Birnbaum has been involved in education for 43 years. She began as a substitute teacher in 1970 and became a high school English teacher the following year. Ten years later, she became a supervisor/administrator in the same school district, with the main charge of developing, implementing and supervising the first adult high school for the district.

As an administrator, she also worked on various districtwide efforts, including the ESL/Bilingual and Basic Skills programs, K-12.

In August 1992, Birnbaum became assistant superintendent in North Plainfield. In this role, she directed curriculum development, improvement and evaluation; organized, directed and supervised the districtwide subject area supervisors to provide a comprehensive educational program of instruction and services; planned and implemented in-service training and professional development programs; coordinated all funded programs and grants in the district; coordinated pupil assignments; served as Affirmative Action Officer; and coordinated and monitored the districtwide testing program.

In February 1995, she became superintendent of schools in North Plainfield. In this capacity, she has encouraged the development of curriculum and programs that meet the needs of all students and nurtured collaborative relationships with outside sources, such as Rutgers University. This past week, Birnbaum announced that she will be retiring from the superintendent’s position at the end of this school year.

Birnbaum’s experience has crossed over to business and industry. She has been a training and development consultant for Concept Training Seminars in New Jersey and Lockheed Corp. in California. She has designed, developed and implemented a variety of writing programs, along with manuals for diverse employee groups, and developed and collaborated on other human resource development programs.

Birnbaum has been affiliated with a variety of professional associations. In addition, Birnbaum is involved in research, activities and programs associated with Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education and also serves as a part-time lecturer in the departments of teaching and learning and educational psychology at Rutgers.

Birnbaum received a bachelor’s degree in English in 1970 from Queens College, City University of New York, and a master’s degree in education in 1984 and doctorate in educational administration, supervision and adult education in 1990 from Rutgers University.

Tickets for the dinner are available by emailing or calling Michael Townley at (908) 822-1441. Parties of six or more may reserve a table.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield, visit The club meets at 12:15 PM Wednesdays at Giovanna’s Restaurant, 1462 South Avenue in Plainfield.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: while I'm sure from your description that Ms Birnbaum is a wonderful person, I remain skeptical of organizations which honor their own for general acclaim. I'm sure Rotary, Kiwanisis, Lions and their kin do good things.I was the first woman invited to join one of these august bodies - lo those many years ago.The Star-Ledger, my employer, forbid it. Just as I never had a political lawn sign before I was laid off.
Praise to Ms Birnbaum and Rotary.
You are lazy to let their press release run on.
For those few who get The Courier, as I do, print in the driveway. the by-line "staff report" means this is an emailed press release.