Parents Call for Disciplinary Action Against School Superintendent

Having missed two BOE meetings since January, parents say they want action taken to remove Engravalle.

Parents of Fort Lee school children are calling for disciplinary action against Superintendent Steven Engravalle whose excessive absences leave critical issues on the table, according to a report by northjersey.com.

In November, the Fort Lee Board of Education approved a nearly two-month leave of absence for Engravalle for medical reasons and appointed Sharon Amato Interim Superintendent of Schools during his absence. His leave of absence was effective Nov. 7, 2012 through Jan. 2, 2013.

According to the report, since returning to work on Jan. 2, Engravalle has been absent additional days and has missed the last two Board of Education meetings. Parents also say that he has not returned phone calls and emails.

When questioned about Engravalle's absences and whether the Board is going to take disciplinary action, Board members said that they cannot comment on any personnel issue.  

Engravalle was also conspicuosly absent from Wednesday's joint meeting between the Board of Education and the Mayor and Council regarding school security initiatives. Parents present at this meeting voiced their concerns regarding his absence and said that without Engravalle's presence and input, the business of the school is being held hostage since his approval is needed for any action to take place.

When questioned about Engravalle's absence and whether the board will take disciplinary action, Board member David Sarnoff said, "Although I cannot comment, the Board is upholding its obligation."

Engravalle's contract effective July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015, calls for a salary of $167,500.


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Ryan February 14, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Must be nice to get paid and not show up.... While I feel bad for him that he lost his wife, but do you know how much other people in his district get for bereavement? 3 days. You have a job to do and you need to be here to do it. Parents are running these superintendents out because they aren't doing their jobs. Bandlow didn't get run out... he left because he wanted to make more money somewhere else. Calabro left because she plagiarized a speech. Before that I don't know. All I hear about is Sugarmen who was amazing according to everyone... so it is possible to have a good, long lasting superintendent.
Baba O'Riley February 14, 2013 at 06:11 PM
It is avsad commentary on the Fort Lee Board of Education that they cannot hire a competent Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Principal or Assistant / Vice Principal. I would like to know how these people are elected and re-elected to the FLBOE (year after year)! While it is sad to know that his wife passed away; the rest of us in the real world get 3 - 5 days and then are back hard at it. He gets his time and then suddenly needs a medical leave (himself)? He needs to make a very public statement on his (health) situation and get back to business or leave.
Quin February 14, 2013 at 08:15 PM
I don't like Engravalle, but that's mainly because of that whole "replacing teachers for no given reason" shebang that happened a while back.
William Mays February 14, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Um, Rona, 24 year olds on Wall Street make 200k +, its not a matter of age. Its a matter of mental ability. It seems that our superintendent is just mentally incapable of being in his office when he is contractually obligated to be there.
William Mays February 14, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Well there was a reason, he wanted to look like a tough guy, except he picked the wrong teachers to do his tough guy routine on. He picked some of the best teachers that Fort Lee had, instead of picking the old buffoons who do nothing, I went to school in Fort Lee 15 years ago, and some of my old crappy teachers are still there.
Fort Lee Truth February 14, 2013 at 10:01 PM
The Fort Lee BOE has been a clusterf*** for many years. Over 40,000 people in the borough, many well qualified and these are the few folks we have who vote on and decide who our Superintendent of Schools will be? @Thomas Bennett- Robert is correct. Sarnoff is coming off as hypocrital now that he's on the "other side". He ran on transparency and is looking real bad early in his term. He is a regular reader of this website, so you'd like to think he can respond here. If not, he's not any different than those before him.
Jerry February 15, 2013 at 12:16 AM
The BOE should bring back the 4 teachers who were unjustly fired in their tenure year by this fraud.
Stefanie Stuart February 15, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Too busy for BOE and Child Safety Meetings, to return parent calls, but always time for the press: http://www.northjersey.com/news/191239871_Fort_Lee_superintendent_defends_absences.html?page=all
William Mays February 15, 2013 at 01:05 AM
He also didn't address the fact that he was at a conference while on medical leave or while taking sick days. He can't come to Fort Lee with the flu or a hurt back but he can haul his lazy ass to Atlantic City? This guy is a class-A asshole.
William Mays February 15, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Pretty prickish of him claiming that he achieved more in 16 months than the other superintendents had in 30 years. He hasn't achieved anything. All of his so-called achievements were already in place when he took the throne.
Shawn Arnone February 15, 2013 at 01:38 AM
I've only had experience with two Boards, this one and the last. After attending every meeting in 2013 except for the past one, this new Board, aside from personnel issues, is leaps and bounds more transparent than the last! And, I find it quite ridiculous that most of the people complaining about transparency, hide behind fictitious names while blogging / posting. To address the comment by Fort Lee Truth, "Over 40,000 people in the borough, many well qualified and these are the few folks we have who vote on and decide who our Superintendent of Schools will be?", there were 4 seats (One being a one-year term) up this past November, only 5 people stepped forward to run, who is to blame for that? Step up, put yourself out there and walk in these people's shoes before you trash them about transparency and the tasks they have on their plate. And, I am not sure if you attend the Board meetings because I never met anyone named Fort Lee Truth but, show up, ask your questions and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised at the responses you will get from several of the members of the Board.
William Mays February 15, 2013 at 02:27 AM
The difference is that we are commentators on a blog, not elected officials.
Stefanie Stuart February 15, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Double checked the dates - Mr Engravalle started in Fort Lee as Assistant Superintendent in July 2010. Mr Bandlow got a fair amount of flak in trying to get the original referendum passed, and there were many vocal opponents to the appointment of Mr Engravalle for some time before it was official, so he should put his big boy panties on and stop whining about "personal vendettas". There have always been passionate, vocal parents and residents in this district. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The best way to silence your critics is to be irrefutably excellent at what you do, which clearly hasn't happened.
Stefanie Stuart February 15, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Taking credit for the work of others is just wrong. "Test scores have gone up every year, the district is in great fiscal shape, facilities are getting repairs" Scores are up thanks to the teachers' hard work and the buses I've seen carting some kids to after school tutoring. The fiscal well-being of the district lies in the incomparably efficient hands of the Business Administrator, Cheryl Balletto. The only reason the facilities are getting repaired is that we finally managed to get a referendum passed, as watered down as it may have been, thanks to the tireless efforts of many community members, one of whom was Mr Sarnoff, now on the Board.
Stefanie Stuart February 15, 2013 at 03:31 AM
The current Board is a far cry from what it used to be. There are 4 brand new Board members, who in all fairness do need some time to gain some traction. All of the meeting videos are now available on the website.The Public Work Session is indeed a Public Work Session where you get to watch the Board members discuss the items they will be voting on that evening. They have also started putting out the proposed agenda for upcoming meetings 2 weeks ahead of time. They've posted a list of the committees and committee members on the website. They are proactively reviewing the district's Policies and Procedures to update them. Clearly they need to abide by legal requirements to respect employee and student privacy rights, but to the extent they can be transparent, I think they are doing a much better job than I have seen previously.
Quint February 15, 2013 at 12:29 PM
Why does the article call him a young divocee and then talk about his wife dying? I am hopeful that the new board can continue to move forward, while I understand they can't comment on personnel issues perhaps the rules regarding employment can be discussed? Who is signing off on his sick leave? How much does he get? do we have doctor notes for his back? A cousin passing for my company means I get 1 or 2 days of bereavement, nothing more.
Thomas A Bennett February 15, 2013 at 02:28 PM
Some free advice: the School Board has picked some pretty awful Superintendants lately so I offer free advice. Find someone with a Doctorite who may be young but has some form of military service backround. This person will understand committment to duty whether he is in the reserves or whatever. Someone with a good educational backround and is able to communicate on all levels. If you do that, you will have a keeper for many years. As a former Board Member and President, I will volunteer to serve on a committee to find a new Superintendant.
Dawn de Mutare February 15, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Dawn de Mutare February 15, 2013 at 03:39 PM
I cannot believe that I am reading these comments from adults! My friends warned me about the people in this town before I moved here because of this Patch thing, this is an embarrassment. Are you all that bored with your lives that you attack one person and then each other like this? How will anything get done? I feel like I am back as a twelve year old witnessing arguments between my girlfriends.The scope of your worlds is limited. Take a look back at the comments, maybe one or two of you spoke about what is best for the children, the rest of you just come across as opportunistic people/politicians/attention seekers who attack because you think you know better than anyone else. Really? As far as ths Superintendant goes, maybe you should play nice with him and each other, and decided what you want for the children of Ft Lee. I am glad my kids aren't in these schools, because of the adults acting like this. I sure hope your teachers are better than the authors of these comments, your children might have a chance!
Keith Jensen February 15, 2013 at 03:52 PM
The Fort Lee School Board has acted for quality education when they executed the resolution I explained would bring $26Million back to our town to be used towards schools or lower taxes or lower our taxes by 1/3rd. The Mayor and Council who said they will vote on passing it too IF the BOE passed it has yet to bring it up, thus abandoning the taxpayers, and it has now been TWO YEARS. Stop letting politics get in the way of smart decisions and hold all elected officials accountable. The BOE should renew their execution of this resolution under the newly elected board to send this message. All those who attend the BOE meetings should also attend the Mayor and Council meetings adding equal pressure, otherwise you are just crying on a blogging website which will not get you very far. Here is the dated article, although currently pertinent: http://fortlee.patch.com/articles/fort-lee-republican-state-assembly-candidate-pushes-for-fair-school-funding
Big Easy February 15, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Sounds great! I nominate you.
Dawn de Mutare February 15, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Received this email from Big Easy also commented on Parents Call for Disciplinary Action Against School Superintendent. "Ok, why don't you dismount your broom and your pedestal. Commenting on these people and their ability to raise their children is completely inappropriate. If your kids aren't in the public school system, then it hardly seems to impact you and your family. Hence why you might not be able to relate to their disappointment, frustration and animosity. It's not your obligation as a citizen to play nice with a public official who neglects to discharge the duties of their office. Accountability and responsibility should be the cornerstone values of any public official and they appear to be lacking here. You can bring him cake and balloons if you like, but the rest of us are pretty annoyed." To respond view the comment on Patch.
Dawn de Mutare February 15, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Dear Big Easy, Thank you for proving my point. What is the problem? Do you not like being attacked? Do you not like people saying horrible things to you? Do you not like people making presumptions about you? Dont you like the leaping beyond reason judgements I made? Let's perpetuate the real psychological dysfunction displayed here......we are not speaking about education at all, this is simply your need to expell your misdirected anger on another person. And I have no idea why I received the email but it was not posted on these comments? why did that happen? Best Wishes ;-)
Fort Lee Truth February 15, 2013 at 10:00 PM
@Tracy While it is a fact that the same folks complain for the sake of complaining, it can't be denied that the BOE has selected candidates based on connections and not merit. Is there anyone that can honestly say that Ms. Colabro was a qualified candidate? She was clearly in over her head. @ Dawn, There are good things and bad things about Fort Lee, just like any other town. Sure there are some folks who complain for the sake of complaining. There are those who have lived in town for years and don't like the downward direction it's headed. I think you could have picked some other past articles to prove your point, not one where someone is making well into six figures and was last seen on the back of a milk carton.
Tracy February 15, 2013 at 11:14 PM
FLT- I cannot agree with you about the BOE selecting based on ' connection, not merit' - the past few all have been qualified and Engravalle is the farthest thing from a politician, he will not and does not curry favor with opportunists and this town has never seen someone who will not bend to them. Sometimes I wish he would 'play the game', just to placate people. My overall thought about it is that people do not understand what a superintendant does/should do or can do, that position has not been able to be established by anyone in over a decade due to the constant complaining and criticism about whatever is trending ...... I also do not believe that people understand what the BOE function is and should be--its been six plus months since it functioned as a true board and without good leadership, it will not. Their primary function is to develop policy, not administer or manage the schools. I really want the newbies to take over and soon and/or get a better leader. If you want to update and have the district progress, keep what you have and move on from the personal attacks and assumptions.
William Mays February 16, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Um, these are comments on pretty much a news forum. Do you expect everything to be hugs and kisses?
Frank Collura February 16, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Engravalle was not married to the woman whom he claims died and made him feel sad which required that he take an extended leave of absence. Good example of personal integrity or just a con man planning an early buyout of his contract so he can move on elsewhere? Ask the Assistant Superintendent what time Mr. Engravalle shows up to work each day, when he does show up.
Howard L. Pearl February 17, 2013 at 02:41 PM
While I agree that Mr. Engravalle has referred to “her” as his wife, when in truth, she was his “ex-wife”, he may still have had strong feelings for her and wanted to be there to comfort her. The BOE has to take some onus for what has occurred as they were too permissive with his absence. He should have been requested to take a LOA from work to be with her. However, knowing that he could not totally fulfill his responsibilities from a Philadelphia hospital, Mr. Engravalle had a professional responsibility to request a LOA. For better or worse, Mr. Engravalle’s standing in the community has been compromised. It is virtually impossible to him to function as school superintendent under these conditions. It would be best if the BOE and he find a way to sever the relationship so we can move on to new leadership
Emma Blue May 12, 2013 at 08:03 PM
None of you know what your talking about- mr engravalle was marred the first time, and that ended in divorce (as more than half all American marriages do!!) and some time AFTER that he met his wife Samantha. They found out she was sick and less than3 months later she was dead leaving him to care for her children. She was only 40 years old. You all should look in a mirror and re evaluate and learn how fact check before you talk ignorance on these toxic posts.
William Mays May 13, 2013 at 01:06 AM
A little late, aren't you?


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