Education

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

afed664360229c8817fd_somsd_logo.jpg
afed664360229c8817fd_somsd_logo.jpg

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:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

June 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Home Burglaries Reported

June 4, 2018, Burglary; Sometime during the daytime hours, a home on the 100 block of Midland Blvd was forcibly entered.  At the time of the report it was unknown what the proceeds were.

June 4, 2018; Thefts; During the overnight hours a metal rack was stolen from outside of a business on the 200 block of Elmwood Ave.

June 5, 2018; Motor Vehicle Theft; During the overnight hours, a van ...

Fifth Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids Postponed Until September Due to South Orange Pool Still Being Closed

June 14, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 5th Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids, originally scheduled to be held in South Orange on Saturday, June 16, has been postponed until Saturday, September 8, according to an update on the South Orange website. 

 

The postponement is because the South Orange Community Pool is still closed for the season due to construction delays with the filter ...

Second Year of Maplewood South Orange Book Festival Brings Authors and Readers Together

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Anna Quindlen. Rosemary Wells. Keith Hernandez. Tayari Jones. These are just a few of the authors who were speakers at the Second Annual Maplewood South Orange Book Festival on Saturday.

The book festival, which attracted about 2,000 attendees according to organizers, had a full day of author panels covering a wide range of topics that included "#MeToo: From ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

June 16, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Record Number Attends West Essex YMCA's Sixth Annual Bike Livingston

LIVINGSTON, NJ — On the heels of National Bike Safety Month in May, a new record of nearly 500 Livingston riders participated in the sixth annual Bike Livingston event, a family-oriented bike tour of Livingston’s neighborhoods hosted each year by the West Essex YMCA on the first Sunday in June.

With three routes to choose from—a four-mile route around the ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Applications to Rutgers Jumps Nearly 10 Percent; Increase From Out-of-State Students

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from outside New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Maplewood Department of Public Works Employment Opportunity: Maintenance Worker

June 19, 2018

MAPLEWOOD DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Title: Maintenance Worker – Parks/Shade Tree Dept.

Issue Date: 6/18/18       ...

Jersey Swamp Cats in Downtown After Sundown Friday, June 22

Dance under the stars to the swingin’ sounds of the Jersey Swamp Cats when the boys bring their patented piano and guitar driven blues and vintage rock’n roll to Spiotta Park, as part of the Sounds In Spiotta Park DAS concert series on Friday, June 22!

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Spiotta Park, located on Village Plaza and South Orange Avenue.

 

Founder of Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Award

Each year the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards highlight the spirit of civic engagement among New Jersey’s 1.5 million volunteers and provide Jefferson Awards medals in 22 categories of volunteer service.   

The 2018 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards presentation ceremony and celebration of volunteerism was held at the War ...