With Interim Superintendent of Schools Steven Engravalle’s “interim” status set to expire at the end of June, the has to make a decision soon. Their choices are to appoint a permanent superintendent—whether Engravalle or someone else—or extend Engravalle’s interim status.
School board member and chair of the personnel committee Peter Suh said Monday the board, which has met with seven candidates, has identified two finalists for the job, although he noted that “for privacy purposes,” the board couldn’t disclose any names.
“We’ve asked for one to return, and we will have a resolution for you shortly,” Suh said at the school board’s regular business meeting at . “The board needs to discuss and consider the qualities of the two finalists.”
Fort Lee resident Nancy Stern pointed out that the school board’s next scheduled meeting isn’t until July 9, and reminded board members that they once said they would consider a finalists’ forum.
“Since Mr. Engravalle’s appointment as interim superintendent is over as of June 30, my question is, is the board planning on having an extra meeting between now and then because otherwise, as of July 1, you will not have a superintendent in town,” Stern said.
Board member Charlie Luppino said, “Trying to get nine board members together in one room” is a challenge at this time of year, but he also said, “We are trying to get together on June 18 and June 25.”
Asked if the board intends to appoint someone to the post at one of those meetings, Suh said, “Yes; the second meeting.”
“It does not appear we’re going to have a full board at the first meeting on the18th,” Suh said.
After Monday’s board meeting, Suh told Patch, “We interviewed one [of the finalists] today, and we feel that we don’t need to meet with the second person.”
He said the potential meetings on June 18 and/or June 25 would be public, but that notifications haven’t gone out yet, so those dates are not set in stone.
“The main problem was availability of all the board members,” Suh said. “We’re trying to get the meeting in before the 30th, which is the end, exactly, of [Engravalle’s] contract, so we need to get something done.”
But Suh also said that the board needs county approval on a superintendent’s contract so if Engravalle were appointed, he would likely need to be extended as interim superintendent until that approval came through.
“We’re not discussing contracts at this point; we’re just discussing who the best person for the position is,” Suh said. “We’re not even at the point of negotiating dollars and cents yet. We’re still a bit away, but we don’t want to rush.”
He said the “worst case scenario” would be a straight extension of Engravalle’s status as interim superintendent.