Mr. Moore: Educators of Excellence


Nathaniel Thomas

Hayden Moore has made a large impact on West Orange. Many remember him as a principal who made many changes to help the high school and its students. Now, he is serving as Assistant Superintendent until June 2023, when he will take over as the official superintendent. Since he was an educator of excellence with such stunning accomplishments, I was interested in learning more about his life and experiences. After reaching out to him, I was able to secure a virtual interview with Mr. Moore.


First, we discussed how Moore got into education. He said that he joined education because he wanted to work with young people. This was through his own experiences as a young person and influences from teachers and coaches. He added that coaching is very similar to teaching. He said he was fortunate to have a few minority professors that had impacted him as non-minority teachers had as well. These teachers were compassionate and believed in Moore which influenced him. One teacher he specifically mentioned was Mr. Howle, an older African American man, who enforced the behavior Moore should put forth for his growth and how he could use this behavior in different ways. Moore stated Howle showed him the character he should walk with.


Afterwards, we discussed how Moore got involved in education. He taught for a short period of time in another district, but he found his passion on a child study team. After Mr. Tarnoff, a former superintendent introduced Moore to the community, he fell in love with it and requested to work in child study because he wanted to learn how students think and feel. He did this while going to New York University to pursue a master’s degree in child development, behavior, and psychology. He spent two years as a school social worker and enjoyed helping people during their toughest times. His time as a social worker taught him to be a leader and to share passion and empathy. Then, he became a dean of the high school, where he thought of different ways to discipline students using restorative practices. Then, he became assistant principal before becoming principal of the high school.

Mr. Moore with students

Moore states that he had a wonderful experience as principal. His first goal was to create an inclusive and nurturing atmosphere at the school. He also broke down barriers between students and adults. He also wanted to raise the graduation rates, so he created programs like the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program to help struggling students and created other programs to challenge AP and Honors students. After the academic rigor was increased, Moore created the rotating drop schedule we have today. He made this schedule similar to college schedules, as, in college, a schedule has to be maintained and classes are not daily. Furthermore, he states the schedule allows students and teachers to work to their full potential, as students might struggle in a class in the morning due to exhaustion. Moore states he based these changes on his observations and that he was able to make them due to the trust of the community, students, and teachers. He says his time as principal was successful because people followed his changes.


Since Moore is going to become superintendent on July 1, we discussed why he wanted to become superintendent. He states that West Orange needed stability through a superintendent that could support and stay with the community. Many people thought he could be that superintendent, so people reached out and suggested he take on the role of superintendent. He started considering the challenge, but was held back by the safety and comfort in the high school. However, he ultimately concluded that, if he can help the district, he should become superintendent. He also thinks that he is a good person to help the district due to his love of his work and how long he’s been involved with the community.


Furthermore, we discussed his goals in his new position. He stated he wants to be more familiar with the elementary and middle schools, and he wants to monitor the preschools. After he learns more about the elementary schools, he will have clear ideas for them. One current idea is that he wants every grade level to show the previous one what to expect. For the high school, he says West Orange has a good balance of vocational and academic classes, so he wants to build on unique courses. He plans to consult with administrators to build on entrepreneurial courses, such as food and technology classes. He also wants to look at transportation, security, and other areas. A lot of preparation will be done in the summer and the changes will be implemented incrementally so they can be evaluated. Overall, he wants the district to feel like an inclusive family.

I was curious about the role teachers play in these changes, so I asked Moore. He stated that teachers are necessary and changes can not happen without them. Moore also discussed a lot of ideas with the teachers. He had a committee, which is likely still in place, called the principal advisory committee, where he discussed changes with a teacher from each content area. He also had a school improvement committee that spotted potential changes. These committees gave teachers a voice because it is important for them to work together.

We also discussed the challenges Moore has to face. Moore stated that it is challenging to look through the lens of a superintendent because he has to deal with more people, buildings, and personalities. He overcame this challenge through his experience in the community and as a principal, as he was able to understand the community and the people. His love of the students also pushed him past challenges.


I asked Moore how being a principal affected him and he stated that his work changed him. His work taught him that he was always learning because he had to keep up with the students and their new challenges. His work also made him a more understanding and better person. He says this community is very unique and exposed him to a lot of different people. He thinks West Orange can show the world it can be successful if formulated by good principals, parents, teachers, and students.


Before we ended the interview, I asked if he would like to say anything to the students of the West Orange High School. He said that he would work one hundred percent for the students and that, if they need anything, they should reach out to the administrators or Mr. Moore if necessary. He said he will be there for the students and will enjoy being the superintendent like he enjoyed being the principal. He will work to make sure that the students will have a good experience. Finally, he congratulated the class of 2023.


Thanks to Hayden Moore’s hard work, the students of West Orange can expect a lot of changes and improvements.

Mr. Moore with his family