LITTLE FALLS, N.J. - Tracey Marinelli, Superintendent of the Little Falls School District, has been named Passaic County’s Superintendent of the Year by the Passaic County Association of School Administrators.
The School Superintendents Association website states that this award is given to a superintendent who exhibits leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and active participation and community involvement.
For Marinelli, who joined Little Falls as superintendent in 2015 after leading the Lyndhurst Public Schools for five years, this award is a recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication to students.
Marinelli began her career as an elementary teacher in Wyckoff. She later became a middle school English teacher in Lyndhurst, an assistant principal at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway, and then progressed through the various leadership roles of supervisor of student services, assistant superintendent, and ultimately superintendent.
“Superintendent Marinelli’s leadership style is forward thinking, collaborative, efficient, fair, and thoughtful,” said Carlos Rodriguez, Passaic’s Interim Executive County Superintendent. “In Little Falls, she’s been able to accomplish so much because bringing people together is a vital part of her vision; she understands the importance of commitments to the community, to the families, and of course to the students. When you piece it together, you get the results that she’s getting.”
Results are indeed what Little Falls, a pre-K to grade 8 district, has seen since Marinelli became superintendent. Since the 2014-15 school year, scores on standardized tests have soared. District-wide, the percentage of students meeting and exceeding state standards has risen by 27% in English language arts and by 48% in math.
This high level of student achievement was recognized with two prestigious honors early in the school year. Little Falls was one of 11 school systems to be named a Lighthouse District by the New Jersey Department of Education, an award that acknowledges Little Falls’ academic progress across diverse groups of learners and also the multiple measures put into place to support students.
In November, Little Falls School No. 3 received a National Blue Ribbon School award from the U.S. Department of Education, one of only nine schools in New Jersey to be selected as an exemplary high performing school. The notoriety solidified the three-school district’s reputation as one of the best school systems in the state.
“When Tracey came onboard, we gave her a blank canvas, and she has created a masterpiece,” said Board of Education President Michael Russo. “She has done an amazing job and in five years has transformed our district. She is so well-versed in analyzing data and using it to drive all district initiatives, and her enthusiasm and energy filters down to our faculty, staff, and students. Tracey has become a pillar of our community. We’re lucky to have her and I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
Marinelli is a frequent presenter at regional and national conferences, speaking about leadership and on leveraging academic data to personalize instruction and improve student achievement. She also proudly serves on the Women in Leadership Committee and Special Education Committee for the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.
A resident of Nutley, she is married with two children, Saverio age 8 and Antonella age 6.