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Verducci: District Needs 'Permanent' Principal at Central School

With Andrew Matteo's resignation, the elementary school will be on its fifth principal in six years.

Glen Rock school officials say they want to shut the revolving door for principals at .

With the , the elementary school off the main strip will be on its fifth principal in six years.

"I know there's a great deal of concern about that and understandably, that they've been through a number of principals over the course of the last few years," said Superintendent David Verducci. "Our goal is to get a full-time, permanent replacement in that position as fast as humanly possible. We're shooting for July 1 if at all possible."

He later added: "One of the biggest and most important criterion for what we will use is looking for someone who will be there for a long time. We understand that's what people want and need at this point. We're right with you."

Verducci outlined the process to replace Matteo on Monday night.

Various teachers, HSA members and adminstrators will start the initial screening process, interviewing about four-to-eight candidates over the next few weeks. Afterward, Verducci said, he will interview the top one-to-three candidates recommended by the screening committee.

"Depending on how those interviews turn out, I will bring one or two candidates for the board to meet," Verducci said. "My goal is to get that going and move that forward as fast as possible because we have to assume whoever is offered that position will have a 30-60 day waiting period. So I would like to see this appointment made before the end of May, so that when September rolls around we have a permanent principal in place."

Should a principal be appointed June 1 and can take office August 1, an internal administrator will cover the building for the interim. "I want to be very clear that is not our intent," Verducci said.

Addressing comments made questioning why the district didn't do more to keep Matteo in Glen Rock, Verducci remarked that he and the board weren't made aware of his intent to leave until he had already signed a contract in Ramsey.

The superintendent, , said there are 86 candidates who have applied thus far.

"I did a cursory look through them and some candidates look really strong," Verducci said. "We're not making any decision about internal candidates, external candidates. I just want the best person for that building."

Alfred Fredel April 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM
While I understand the urgency to hire an administrator for Central School, I have one thing that I must point out. Verducci states that he wants the "best person for the building". As an educator myself, I beg to differ with Mr. Verducci. The focus really should be on who is the "best person for the students". I have seen the school change significantly under Matteo's direction and what is needed is a dynamic young person with innovative ideas that keeps our students at the forefront and who helps them excel. We do not need another cookie cutter administrator to manage the building.
John Hahn April 19, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Dr. Verducci should NOT be interviewing the candidates for the next principal of Central school. Dr. Verducci is walking away from the citizens of Glen Rock 2 years early on his contract. Why should we let a man who is not living up to his contractual commitment have any say on who the next principal or anyone else should be. Honestly, let's try NO principal at Central for a year. Have Mrs. Fahey run the school (as she already does & has for decades) and save a few $. Or reward the teachers of Central for good work. Please Dr. Verducci has shown us with his actions & intentions that he is not a man to be trusted. Let us not let him have ANY say on who the next principal at Central will be.
JAFO April 19, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Wow, talk about over analyzing the quote! You really think "building" meant the physical building? I'd bet my mortgage that Verducci wants the best person for the "students".
Luis F Serrano April 20, 2012 at 12:03 AM
John, having 5 principals in 6 years is plenty of a 'trial practice' for the parents at Central. We pay plenty in taxes to demand the best representative for our school. I have 3 kids that will go thru Central. According to the news, Central has had 86 applicants for the position. The + side is that parents now expect nothing less than a 'Matteo' type. All this being said, while I don't disagree with your perspective about Dr Verducci, I don't see his process as 'rewarding' him with anything. Like it or not, he's still our District top head and while it's unfortunate he's leaving us short of his time, his experience is still valuable. The other option is usually where the 'consultants' come in and tell you what's best $500k later.
John Hahn April 20, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Luis. Why do you think Verducci gives a hoot who gets hired? He is an over-paid self-promoter. He promised the current sophomores that he would greet them by name in 2014. When you sign a 5 year contract do the 5 years or do not sign it. There should be a financial penalty for him to walk away. But there is not. He will get a bonus + we get to spend money on an interim Supt Then another supt. At some entities when you plan to retire early you should not make decisions that will cost others. I am interested to know what Verducci has done for the students & taxpayers of Glen Rock. I will look for your reply. We do not need consultants. We have (3) other principals at elementary schools. They know the job, the district etc. Have them interview the candidates. BTW what is a Matteo type.
Luis F Serrano April 21, 2012 at 02:31 AM
John, in my original post I thought I made it clear I don't disagree with your perspective on Verducci. But if he's on the payroll, he should still contribute--otherwise just send him home. In the past placements, I have to believe that all 3 principals also had their input at the candidates and look where we are now. Anyhow, my focus is not on Verducci. That's a done deal. My focus is on getting a great principal that we can count on for years at Central. I'm not here to speak for every parent at Central regarding Mr Matteo. However, I can tell you that he did bring energy, ideas, enthusiasm, vision and professionalism. Most parents I know think very well of him. Many of these parents are the same that have gone thru several principals and are just disappointed to see someone they trusted and liked..that simple. I ask you John, do you have any kids at Central?
John Hahn April 21, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Thanks, Luis. I appreciate your reply. We had 2 go through Central. We had ok principals but one was poached by Wyckoff. The last lasted a year. Living in a Central district house, I am concerned this revolving door will effect our house value. We are considering going to another place in the not too distant future. Glad to hear Matteo was highly thought of. Verducci had no clue Matteo was looking until he put in his papers. It shows Verducci was not close with his Principal at Central. I believe there should be penalties if people leave prematurely. We should not be training Principals.for other districts. I presume you are a central dad. Had your Spring concert?
Megan April 21, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Mr Matteo has been an incredible principal. The Central children look up to him and respect him. He knows every one of them, and the parents. He sets clear and aspirational goals - fewer tardies each month, better scores on the ASK exams each year, highest number of books read for the library readathon - and then inspires the kids to meet them. One emphasis has been on character education - learning about poise, self-control, cooperation, respect, and so on. There's also great communication; he writes the weekly newsletter himself and it is actually pretty good reading! I've just been incredibly impressed, and grateful every day that our kids were able to get into Central. Luis is right, I don't want anything less! If you want to preserve your home values in the Central school area of town, just hope that the screening committee and Dr. Verducci hire someone who will keep Mr Matteo's innovations in place, hold the kids to similarly high standards and show the same level of enthusiasm every day.
John Hahn April 21, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Thanks, Megan. Any reason why he left? I am with you. I want someone who step in and STAY. We have found good. But they do not STAY. Why? Verducci is not a man who has the long term interests of the district in mind. He is retiring. He has NO SKIN in this game. He wants his money so he can go do something else while we the GR taxpayers get to pay his retirement after 3 years work. I do not trust Verducci. I am tired of hoping those in charge do the right thing for the students and taxpayers of Glen Rock. We have a weak Board of Ed. We have a lame duck supt., who did not know one of his principals was interviewing elsewhere. He has admitted this. Thank goodness we have decent teachers and Mrs. Fahey at Central. Thanks to Luis & Megan for your input. Perhaps GR will be fortunate to find a keeper. Isn't there anyone in the GR system who is ready to step up?
W. Palmar April 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM
"One of the biggest and most important criterion for what we will use is looking for someone who will be there for a long time. We understand that's what people want and need at this point. We're right with you." This from a man who resigned with TWO YEARS LEFT on his current contract! Dr. Verducci, I would call you a hypocrite, but that would be unfair to Mr. Matteo. When he leaves at the end of the 2012 school year, he will have fulfilled ALL of his contractual duties and requirements. At the very least, you should keep in mind that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

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