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Hopatcong Picks High School Principal Candidate

School board to vote on nominee to succeed Emil Binotto next Monday.

The Board of Education will vote whether to hire a new principal at  next Monday, Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano said.

Maranzano declined to name the lead candidate, though he said a lengthy interview process led to a standout for a group of administrators charged with hiring Emil Binotto's successor.

Binotto helmed the high school for 12 years before a shakeup in May led to a reshuffling of the district's principals. Binotto will serve as the middle school's principal in September.

Board of Education President Cliff Lundin and member Frank Farruggia Jr. couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday night.

The administrative committee whittled down 38 candidates to four finalists—two internal and two external, said Maranzano, who declined to say whether Monday's nominee was a district employee "out of respect to the candidates." Maranzano, however, did say the standout received the committee's unanimous support.

"The committee, at the end of this process, voted unanimously for a specific candidate," Maranzano said. "I didn't have to build a consensus. We were completely united behind the choice we're going to present next Monday."

Often summer school board meetings aren't well attended as members take vacations. But Maranzano said he expected seven of the nine board members to attend the meeting at the  at 7:30 p.m.

Maranzano said he expected the school board to approve the nominee, who he hopes will start Sept. 1.

School board members will have a chance to meet the top candidate before the meeting and during executive session, Maranzano said. The candidate will be in the audience during the meeting's public portion, Maranzano said.

Maranzano said the administrative committee set an "aggressive calendar of benchmarks along the way" of the interview process. The job was posted May 22. The first round of interviews took place in late June before the committee decided to reopen the position.

Teachers, administrators and parents were asked what they wanted in a high school principal, Maranzano said.

"We wanted someone who could work with the whole community," he said. "A collaborator. Someone who understands the needs of special education students. Someone who would encourage staff, take a proactive approach to discipline, not reactive. Someone who fits the future of the community."

The school board voted to shuffle the principals after Dr. Joanne Mullane asked to fill a curriculum supervisor spot vacated by William Roca's retirement. Mullane was a curriculum supervisor before spending the 2011-2012 school year as the Tulsa Trail School principal.

That set off a chain of moves, shifting Binotto to the middle school; shifting Lou Benfatti from his post as that school's principal to Durban Avenue School; and moving Brian Byrne to Tulsa Trail School. Tracey Hensz of Hudson Maxim School was the only unaffected principal.

jazzman July 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM
just like the Boro they have there own circle of protection,and for good cause to... "they need to protect there phoney baloney jobs!"almost feel sorry for all the candidates who are more qualified but didnt have a chance or a clue!
Observer July 17, 2012 at 01:51 PM
"Morituri te salutant!"
Chrissy July 17, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I have to disagree with you about Mr. Certo. He is a very nice guy, but his niceness doesn't get in the way of being a good disciplinarian. I think Mr. Certo is the best VP the Middle school has seen in many years. If someone within our school district is capable of doing the job they should have a chance to move up in the chain of command. No one position should be a dead end. Aside from that, no outsider would have any idea what we are dealing with on an everyday basis. Our town is unique and our schools are unique. You can't bring in someone who has dealt with kids from the toughest inner city schools and expect to have good results. I say Kudos to Mr. Certo for sticking in out past the 1 year mark. I think this is the first year in a long time that we didn't have a new VP in the Middle School in September all the others before him didn't stick around. Maranzano doesn't really have to care at all what the end result is. Once he is gone, Hopatcong schools will be none of his concern. So it shows good character to see him put in a good effort to find a quality HS Principal.
The "Original" Hopatcong Mom July 17, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I "see" what the MS goes through on a daily basis (our subs usually come from within town too)~ Mr. Certo isn't as tough as he could be which is why we still have discipline problems there and they carry those issue to the HS. I'm not saying he's bad, just he could be better! I HATE hiring from within...they get "too comfortable" with the students and don;t act like an authority figure (I see it)....and no one seemd to think of the "common" factor when it came to MS VP's.....one VP (the best to date....Mr. Pallotta, CHOSE to go back into the classroom, he's still at the MS)...We are going to have to agree to disagree here....as someone who lived here my whole life and went thru the schools, I have seen many staff changes, and the ones that last the longest (and are the best) get hired from outside our current staff! Our schools are only unique because we have parents who are cry-babies! Our schools are no more unique than any other school!! WE NEED CHANGE!!!
Kimberly July 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
They need to hire the "best candidate", who will make our schools even better....if that means they come from within our district, then so be it!

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