School Board Could Appoint Engravalle Superintendent Tuesday
Appointment of Steven Engravalle as Superintendent and Sharon Amato as Assistant Superintendent are on the BOE’s agenda for Tuesday’s special meeting, which starts at 8 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
Fort Lee public school students, their parents and community members could learn Tuesday who will occupy the top two posts in the district when school re-opens in the fall.
Appointment of Steven Engravalle as Superintendent of Schools at a salary of $167,500 and Sharon Amato as Assistant Superintendent of Schools at a salary of $141,462 are on the agenda for the Fort Lee Board of Education’s special public business meeting, potentially ending months of speculation dating back to last September as to who would be at the helm once Interim Superintendent Steven Engravalle’s interim status expires at the end of June.
Earlier this month, the board announced that the search for a permanent superintendent was down to two finalists.
If the board approves the resolutions to appoint Engravalle and Amato, respectively, those appointments become subject to approval by the Executive County Superintendent of Schools.
In September 2011, the school board voted 5 to 4 in favor of tabling an agenda item that would have appointed Engravalle—then Assistant Superintendent of Schools—“Acting” Superintendent when former Superintendent Raymond Bandlow left the post at the end of October after concerns were raised calling Engravalle’s suitability to take on the role into question and highlighting the desire on the part of some members of the public to have a say in the decision-making process.
In October, the board took public comment for about 45 minutes on the role of “Acting” or “Interim” Superintendent at a special meeting at Fort Lee School No. 1 prompted by the tabling of Engravalle’s appointment.
A week later, the BOE voted unanimously in favor of appointing Engravalle to the post for the subsequent four months.
The school board also unanimously approved an accompanying resolution to solicit bids from superintendent search firms, including the New Jersey School Boards Association; Leadership Advantage; West Hudson Associates; Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates; Ray and Associates; Spencer Stuart; and McPherson and Jacobson, LLC.
In January, Engravalle’s “acting” status was changed, after the board approved a walk-in resolution at a regular business meeting approving his contract as Interim Superintendent.
But the meeting, which grew heated at times, was dominated by discussion of where the process of a search for a permanent superintendent stood, with some members of the public openly criticizing the board for what they saw as a lack of transparency.
Later the same month, the school board approved a resolution hiring the search firm Leadership Advantage to conduct a search for a permanent superintendent at a fee of $9,500, but several board members openly expressed their support for Engravalle, with two of them voting against the measure to hire the firm.
School board president Arthur Levine said the decision was made after the board’s superintendent search committee—comprised of Levine and board members John Bang, Peter Suh and Joseph Surace—made the recommendation to the full board.
In May, the board announced a special work session to review the applications submitted by Leadership Advantage, which reported it had identified 11 candidates for the job.