RANDOLPH, NJ- At its meeting May 12, the Randolph Board of Education approved a three-year contract with Jennifer A. Fano as the district's new superintendent following a lengthy search.
Fano will officially take over as the district's new superintendent on July 1 after serving as interim superintendent and acting superintendent since last fall. Board members congratulated Fano and took turns praising her and congratulating her.
Board of Education President Al Matos, who was at a technology conference on the west coast, offered his congratulations to Fano through a video, which was played at the meeting. Matos noted that the board had the privilege to see Ms. Fano as both acting and interim superintendent.
"As a board, we challenged ourselves, to seek, the best qualified person for the job, attracting some 30 applications, from four states and interviewing a handful, with Ms. Fano rising to the top," Matos said. "The role of the Randolph Superintendent includes implementing the board of education's policies. The superintendent is the educational leader of the district and is the manager of the $90 million large organization."
He described many of her qualities, which make her the perfect candidate for the job. "She is a thought leader, a trusted source who moves and inspires people with innovative ideas, turning those ideas into reality and knowing how to replicate success."
Ms. Fano also "has a collaborative style" and "has the confidence to share her ideas and accept others, and is, what the district needs, not only to heal, but to move us into new levels of education as a team."
In addition, Fano is "data driven," and bases her decisions on research and facts. "From a management perspective, making decisions based on data, is a clear win," he said.
"Ms. Fano has a wealth of 21st century curriculum strategies, which is highly important to our district if we are...to teach our children in a post-industrial era that demands new skills, faster decision making and a premium on innovation."
Finally, Matos noted that Fano "is currently doing the job. During this transition, she has helped to mend relationships with staff, and has created a better environment where we can start to excel.
"Ms. Fano brings a notable passion for student success and a comprehensive understanding of curriculum in an ever more demanding and competitive world, while seeking solutions in a collaborative manner that is good for Randolph."
In her remarks, a smiling Fano thanked the board for their kind words. "I am in awe of this overwhelming support," she said. "This has been an amazing year. I am really excited and looking forward to leading the district."
The board named Fano Interim Superintendent this past fall following the retirement of the former superintendent. She was appointed acting superintendent in September. Fano has served as the district’s assistant superintendent from 2011-2015. She received her Advanced Certification in Teaching and Learning with Technology from Columbia University in New York.
Fano began her career at Randolph Township Schools as vice principal at Ironia Elementary School in 2005. In 2009, she was chosen to be a district administrator, and in 2011, she was appointed assistant superintendent. In that role, she served as district personnel director, responsible for its 700 full- and part-time employees. In 2014, Fano was honored by the Randolph Education Foundation as its’ Administrator of the Year.
In addition she is a recipient of the International Honor Society in Education award. Fano is a frequent public speaker on education policy and an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, as an Alternate Route Instructor for the Center for Effective School Practices.
“We are extraordinarily pleased to have made our selection and know Jenn Fano will be an outstanding Superintendent,” Matos said after naming Fano as the finalist for the position on April 12. “After reviewing applications from about three dozen candidates and interviews with five finalists, it became apparent that the best choice for the district was already at the helm.”
The board worked with the New Jersey School Board Association’s Superintendent Search Committee to conduct a comprehensive search process for the best candidates. As part of the process, the NJSBA committee had six staff-and-community feedback sessions to help the Board of Education identify qualities best suited to the district’s needs.
According to Matos, Fano was the sole candidate who had the vision and skills they were seeking.
“I am so pleased and honored that the Board of Education has confidence in me to implement our shared vision for the district and its nearly 5,000 students,” Fano said in April. “We have dedicated teachers and administrators, highly engaged parents and outstanding students. I believe the board recognizes that I share its commitment and passion.”