Hopatcong Picks High School Principal Candidate
School board to vote on nominee to succeed Emil Binotto next Monday.
The Board of Education will vote whether to hire a new principal at Hopatcong High School next Monday, Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano said.
Maranzano declined to name the lead candidate, though he said a lengthy interview process led to a standout for a group of administrators charged with hiring Emil Binotto's successor.
Binotto helmed the high school for 12 years before a shakeup in May led to a reshuffling of the district's principals. Binotto will serve as the middle school's principal in September.
Board of Education President Cliff Lundin and member Frank Farruggia Jr. couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday night.
The administrative committee whittled down 38 candidates to four finalists—two internal and two external, said Maranzano, who declined to say whether Monday's nominee was a district employee "out of respect to the candidates." Maranzano, however, did say the standout received the committee's unanimous support.
"The committee, at the end of this process, voted unanimously for a specific candidate," Maranzano said. "I didn't have to build a consensus. We were completely united behind the choice we're going to present next Monday."
Often summer school board meetings aren't well attended as members take vacations. But Maranzano said he expected seven of the nine board members to attend the meeting at the administration building at 7:30 p.m.
Maranzano said he expected the school board to approve the nominee, who he hopes will start Sept. 1.
School board members will have a chance to meet the top candidate before the meeting and during executive session, Maranzano said. The candidate will be in the audience during the meeting's public portion, Maranzano said.
Maranzano said the administrative committee set an "aggressive calendar of benchmarks along the way" of the interview process. The job was posted May 22. The first round of interviews took place in late June before the committee decided to reopen the position.
Teachers, administrators and parents were asked what they wanted in a high school principal, Maranzano said.
"We wanted someone who could work with the whole community," he said. "A collaborator. Someone who understands the needs of special education students. Someone who would encourage staff, take a proactive approach to discipline, not reactive. Someone who fits the future of the community."
The school board voted to shuffle the principals after Dr. Joanne Mullane asked to fill a curriculum supervisor spot vacated by William Roca's retirement. Mullane was a curriculum supervisor before spending the 2011-2012 school year as the Tulsa Trail School principal.
That set off a chain of moves, shifting Binotto to the middle school; shifting Lou Benfatti from his post as that school's principal to Durban Avenue School; and moving Brian Byrne to Tulsa Trail School. Tracey Hensz of Hudson Maxim School was the only unaffected principal.