South Orange Maplewood School District Board of Education Announces Plan to Appoint Interim Superintendent of Schools


SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ  - The following was sent by email from the South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) Board of Education to the SOMSD community on June 7 at about 1:15 p.m.:

Dear South Orange Maplewood School District Families and Community Members:

It is with tremendous pleasure and excitement that the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education announces the appointment of Dr. Thomas Ficarra as Interim Superintendent of Schools.  We will be approving Dr. Ficarra’s appointment tonight in a Special Meeting of the Board, which is scheduled to take place at7  p.m. in our District Meeting Room, at 525 Academy Street, Maplewood. The meeting will also be livestreamed via the District’s website, and broadcast on SOMATV channels.  All are welcome and invited to attend.

Sign Up for E-News

As an Interim Superintendent, Dr. Ficarra will lead our district in moving forward the important work we have started and continuing to strengthen the district’s operations while we prepare for and conduct a search for a permanent superintendent.  As you know, Dr. Ramos has indicated his desire to retire and his last day will be on August 24, 2017.  Dr. Ficarra’s contract is for a one-year period, with the option of extending for a second year, if needed, as the search for the next permanent superintendent takes place. 

“We wholeheartedly welcome Tom Ficarra to our school district. Dr. Ficarra is a dedicated, student-focused educational leader, who is committed to equity and opportunity for all students. Together with this commitment, he brings to our district four decades of experience and the proven leadership skills to move our district forward and improve the learning experience, school climate, and outcomes for our students, while we conduct a search for a permanent superintendent,” said Elizabeth Baker, President of the SOMSD Board of Education.  

Dr. Ficarra’s experience in public education spans more than four decades, 39 years of which he served in only three districts.  Dr. Ficarra spent 20 years in Elizabeth, where he started his career as a teacher and was promoted to a Principal-ship, and eventually to several Central Office positions, culminating in an Assistant Superintendent role. He spent the next six years in Mount Arlington as Superintendent, and served for over 12 years as a Superintendent in Morris, a complex regional district that includes both Morristown and the Township of Morris, with many of the same opportunities and challenges as our school district here in South Orange and Maplewood. 

During his time in Morris, Dr. Ficarra’s leadership led to the establishment of a state-of-the-art STEM Academy at Morristown High School, a fundraising campaign for the High School turf field and major school renovations and expansions.  Morris BOE member Nancy Bangiola, who served as the Morris BOE President during Dr. Ficarra’s tenure, described his leadership style well in her recommendation of him: “We were able to accomplish all this because Dr. Ficarra's leadership style is transparent and inclusive, and as a result, the Board, staff, parents and administration all worked together toward the same goals under his great direction.”

Most recently, Dr. Ficarra spent 20 months as an Interim Superintendent in Hamilton Township, a diverse district of over 11,000 students.  During this time, he was able to reorganize central office, undertake a major facilities planning process and guide administrators toward stabilizing the district. This stability enabled the Hamilton Board to attract a large pool of candidates and unanimously select a highly qualified permanent superintendent. Hamilton BOE President Pam Kelly describes how their district benefited from Dr. Ficarra’s leadership and experience as they prepared for and conducted their successful search for the permanent superintendent.  Dr. Ficarra “supported us as we took some hard, honest looks at where we were and began to lay groundwork for where we wanted to be. He knew how to keep us moving forward, but at the same time understood that some of our bigger initiatives would be best set in full motion once the superintendent who would see them to completion was chosen."

In describing his leadership philosophy, Dr. Ficarra said, “My overarching belief as to what makes a school district successful is connectedness. An organization can only be successful if the intelligence, talent and commitment of people at all levels of an organization are tapped and allowed to develop. Success happens through collaboration and respect. Creating a "learning environment" based on safe and healthy relationships is the most important aspect of organizational leadership.”

During this transition and moving forward, the Board of Education will continue to build on the foundational work that began during Dr. Ramos’ tenure, including the implementation of the Access and Equity Policy and recommendations that emerged from the strategic planning work in which many staff and community members participated. The Board of Education is also committed to keeping the public apprised of our efforts to secure a permanent Superintendent for the district, and will ensure community participation in the search process. In the meantime, we ask the community to join us in welcoming Dr. Ficarra to the South Orange Maplewood School district in August, and we look forward to a successful 2017-2018 school year for all of our students. 

Thank you for your commitment to the wellbeing of our students and your partnership as we move forward in this transition and prepare for the coming school year.

The South Orange Maplewood Board of Education

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Spring is (Almost) Here

Get ready for farmers markets and outdoor events, spring is bound to come at some point! To help you get ready Sadie's has lots of new spring products including this great Market Tote by Feed- the purchase of this cute everyday bag will donate 50 school meals. While stopping in for this tote check out some of the other great spring items just in. Don't forget the charity of the month is ...

Feeling Lucky

Shop of the morning to you! It’s that time of year when everyone’s color is green! Stop by Sadie's to get your St. Patty’s shirt before the big day. While your here and feeling lucky check out our latest Spring styles for Men and Women. You may make your friends green with envy.

Horoscope: Have a birthday between 3/13 and 3/24? If you stumble into a ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Maplewood Senior Center Holds Grand Opening on St. Patrick's Day

March 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Maplewood Senior Center has been open on Burnett Avenue for several months and this past Saturday, Maplewood Township officials, many seniors and community members held a grand opening celebration with a ribbon cutting officially dedicating the center.

As Saturday was the St. Patrick's Day holiday, the Senior Center celebration included green bagels ...

Maplewood to Hold Spring Egg Hunt on Sunday, March 25

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Hop on down to Maplewood's Spring Egg Hunt! Maplewood will hold its 34th annual hunt on Sunday, March 25, from noon to 2 p.m. in Memorial Park.

An email from the Maplewood Recreation Department states to "please arrive promptly at noon with a basket or bag to make sure you don’t miss anything."

At last year's event, hundreds of kids ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

My Clutter is Taking Over! with Jamie Novak at ...

Education Home & Garden

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Columbia High School Black Box Theatre, Maplewood

Janet Mandel: Vincent Van Gogh: After Arles

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, March 22, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Hundreds Cheer on Marchers and Bands at 67th West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 19, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Even a week’s delay caused by a massive snowstorm couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd of spectators who cheered on the marchers and bands who participated in West Orange’s 67th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

Wending their way up Main Street were more than 25 bands, including marching bands from northern New Jersey high ...

Members of Brick City Brims Charged for Alleged Roles in Drug Trafficking Organization

NEWARK, NJ – Six members of the Brick City Brims set of the Bloods street gang were arrested last week for their alleged roles in a major drug trafficking organization that dealt heroin in and around Newark.

Tyrone Brown, 34, Lamarr Burwell, 22, and Miles McCloud, 37, all of Newark, and Martin Pettiford, 23, of Irvington, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to ...

Renovation Complete, Winberie's Restaurant Reopens

March 22, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ - After a more than two months-long renovation -- an initiative which focused on updating the entire dining room, revamping the floor plan, and expanding the bar -- Winberie’s Restaurant & Bar has reopened in Summit.

The restaurant had been closed since New Year's Eve.

“Our guests will immediately see the physical changes we’ve made ...

Commemoration of Jay Kielwasser, Union Animal Control Officer

UNION, NJ – A commemoration of the late Jay Kielwasser's work as Union’s Animal Control Officer took place at Wednesday evening’s Board of Health meeting.

Board President Jackie Carter said Kielwasser, who passed away in April, was the first Animal Control officer appointed by the Board of Health. 

“You really don’t know how someone ...

Check Out BCB Community Bank's High Rate CDs

March 22, 2018

Get the most out of your savings with BCB Community Bank's high rate CD.

Check out BCB's 18-month CD interest rate of 1.76%.  Invest early and watch your money soar.  For more information, just visit or call your local BCB branch today in Union, Maplewood or South Orange:

Union Branch

2000 Morris Avenue
Union, NJ 07083

Maplewood Branch

156 ...

Winter Storm Update from South Orange

New Jersey and Essex County has announced Emergency Declarations which South Orange will also have in affected March 21, 2018, 9 :00 a.m. Please move all vehicles from the road way to allow for the Department of Public Works (DPW) to clear the roads.

Village Municipal Offices, Library and the Baird Community Center will be closed.
Please see a detailed forecast and more information ...

Storm Advisory from Maplewood

Winter Storm Information – Tuesday, March 20, 2018 – 4:00pm

1) Emergencies – Please call 911 if you have an emergency. You can also call 973-762-1234 for a direct connection to a police dispatcher. Do not call the Fire Department or Public Works. Call the police at 911 or 973-1234.

2) Jitneys – The Maplewood Jitneys will operate ...