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Superintendent Search Down To Two Finalists

Steven Engravalle’s contract as Interim Superintendent expires at the end of June, but the school board doesn’t have any meetings scheduled before then. Either or both of those things could change soon.

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.

William Mays June 15, 2012 at 10:36 PM
You mean the suck-up to the principal and get your kids in honors classes meetings? Because thats what those were when I was in middle school and high school. Big deal, some kids got into fights, and as I understand, most people sneak out anyway.
Ryan June 19, 2012 at 04:44 AM
What has Engravalle done for this district? All I have seen that was somewhat good was having Good Morning Joe film here.... other than that I don't really see what he has done to make everyone blindly follow him. He rules as a dictator and that is not a good thing. Why have principals if you aren't going to listen to them.... maybe he should do all of the teacher evaluations himself because he knows best after only teaching for 3 years. Why don't we put every kid in honors and give everyone A's? It's easier, no complaints. Parents are starting to run the schools instead of the teachers. Many parents do not know how to be a teacher so they shouldn't suggest how to teach a class. If they are concerned about a grade, talk to the teacher. The teachers he let go where not the kind that just sat behind a desk and handed out worksheets but still were told their teaching performance was below average and because parents complained because they defended their grading systems. We are becoming a district where the parents run the schools and if they do not like something, lets call the Superintendent and get the teacher fired. Teachers do not want to fail students, students earn the grade that they get. It would be a lot easier to give them all A's and call it a day but that is not how the world works. If teachers are going to prepare them for life, they need to be fair and honest. This is another black eye on Fort Lee.
Lisa Salvato June 19, 2012 at 06:05 AM
First they were complaining that he doesn't listen to the parents and now they're complaining that he listens to parents too much? This is such bull. This is just the latest round of rumors started by a group of enraged bitter women who lost their bid for the board. Stay home! You're ruining any chance this district has of keeping a decent super
Nice Jewish Boy from Fort Lee June 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
If you don't agree with LS, don't post here. Sad.
Ryan June 20, 2012 at 12:16 AM
he listened to a few parents that complained that their child did not get the grades they felt they deserved. Why don't they teach the class? He listens when people bash teachers not praise them. There are parents that are nuts and as soon as they don't get their way they call up "steve" and he doesn't investigate or ask the teachers or principal for their side he just fires them. We are getting to the point when the teachers are just going to give the kids the A so they don't get fired.

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