Rahway H.S. Principal and South Plainfield Resident John Farinella Receives State Award for Visionary Leadership

Mr. Farinella facilitates discussion with colleagues at a monthly faculty meeting. Credits: Joseph Mudrak
Principal Farinella initiates discussion about entrepreneurship in a Freshman Seminar class. Credits: Joseph Mudrak

RAHWAY, NJ - High School Principal John T. Farinella arrives at school each day with one thought foremost in his mind.  “Today will be better than it was yesterday.”  To that end, he continues to strive to create “a professional and thriving environment which enables faculty and students to realize their full potential.”   From leading the district’s high school to become a  “Rutgers Future Scholars High School” to his creation of an innovative high school freshman transition program, Mr.  Farinella has focused his energies on providing optimum opportunities for students and staff alike to achieve their personal best.  For this dedication, he has been awarded the title of “Visionary Principal of the Year (Secondary Level)” by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.  This award has also entitled him to represent the state of New Jersey as candidate for the “Principal of the Year Award” sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

While devoted to honoring the respect and dignity of all who contribute to the education of Rahway’s youth, Mr. Farinella has successfully transformed the culture and academic programs of RHS to the point where it now offers 18Advanced Placement Courses and maintains a high school student induction and transition program that is among the most comprehensive of any type offered in American high schools.  These accomplishments have enabled the Rahway Public Schools to partner with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, to offer fifteen RHS students per year for the next five years the opportunity to attend Rutgers University tuition free.  Selected students must satisfactorily gain admission to the University after participating in the Rutgers Future Scholars Program which begins in grade 8, runs through the high school years at RHS and culminates in a four-year degree from Rutgers University.  Rahway Academy8th grader Andres Barco was especially pleased to be selected for the program, offering that it is “a dream that has given me hope for my future.”  He is quick to promise, “I shall not disappoint!”

Although the Leadership Award carries his name, Principal Farinella is adamant that “it belongs to the school.” He believes that it is a “reflection of what all the people here do to ensure the futures of our students.”  With the implementation of a school-wide freshman transition program six years ago, Rahway High School sustains a college- going culture for the “Millenial” generation.  “Freshman Seminar/Financial Literacy,” a full year transition course, is directed by lead teacher Maria Hennessy and guides freshmen in the development of college, career, and life planning. Students set both short and long term goals for themselves while developing their “10 year plan” and discover much more about themselves on their journey.  Among the many positive aspects of the program, Ms. Hennessy cites “decreased overall failure rates, decreased disciplinary issues-lessening suspension and detention rates, increased overall attendance rates, along with increased post secondary awareness and enrollment opportunities in college, trade schools, military, and the work force.”  High School 9th grader Tanasia Godwin credits teacher Anna Winters with teaching her “how to save money wisely so it can be beneficial to me in the future.”  She adds, “What I’ve learned in class has made me have very positive conversations at home as well.  It’s great to me and my family that I can tell them things they didn’t learn growing up about such things as money.”

Sign Up for E-News

Rahway Superintendent of Schools Dr. Patricia Camp explains that “in K-12 school districts the flagship school is often the high school.”  She believes that, “Mr. Farinella has led the high school staff in focusing on every student leaving RHS being prepared and college-ready.”  She acknowledges that his receiving the award is “a result of his strong leadership and a testament to the educational foundation our K-8 programs provide to our students so that they can achieve at RHS.”  Dr. Camp also echoes Mr. Farinella’s sentiment by stating that this award is also a tribute to “the dedication of the RHS staff in supporting all students in their chosen path to adulthood.”

As Secondary Principal of the Year, Mr. Farinella will be receiving an award of $7,000 for his school as well as a personal award of $1,000 which he intends to pass along to the high school, citing that “students and faculty have needs that our budget constraints have been unable to support.”  He firmly believes that RHS should benefit from these awards for all it has done to shape the futures of its students.  Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christine Salcito recognizes Principal Farinella as “an advocate for nurturing and sustaining a school culture that helps develop the intellectual, creative, and social potential for all students.”  She affirms that, “John shares his leadership and decision making with the staff, empowering them to grow as individuals and as leaders.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

South Plainfield


South Plainfield – John T. Felz, Jr., 71, passed away at his home on Thursday, June 14, ...
Read more

Letters to the Editor

Letter from Scott Miller

June 18, 2018

Dear Editor,

There has been a lot of paving going around our town lately!  And I must say, it is such a fine sight to see all the Water Company work come to an end with this final phase of road resurfacing.  It should be noted that while the Water Company is in fact completing the work, a lot of thanks need to go out to Mayor Anesh, Council President Bengivenga and Councilman ...

Community Happenings

South Plainfield Jr. Baseball - Father's Day Classic

June 14, 2018

It's that time of year again for the SPJBC's 10th Annual Father's Day Classic Tournament.  Featuring a Round Robin format for 2018 that includes the following:

~Every team guaranteed at  least 4 games (weather permitting)

~Team Awards for 1st & 2nd Place Playoff Winners

~Maximum 5 Teams per age group

Saturday, Sunday & Monday June 16-18, ...

South Plainfield Elks Honor Students of the Month

June 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - On Tuesday, June 12, the South Plainfield Elks honored the winners of the Grant School Character Education Monthly Pillars.  The students and their families were treated to a pasta dinner cooked and served by the Elks Youth Activities Committee and the students were given Junior Citizen of the Month Certificates.

The winners were as follows: 

Caring – ...

Holy Savior Academy’s Championship Cheerleaders Seek Funds for New Equipment

June 18, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Holy Savior Academy Cheerleading Squad has kicked off a fundraiser to generate $5,500 for the purchase of much-needed equipment, such as new tumble mats, sound equipment, and more for the award-winning squad.

“The group of twelve girls range from 1st through 4th grades,” said parent Marybeth Parache, who is heading up efforts to raise funds.  ...

Plainfields' UNICO Participates in Student Exchange with Italian High School

June 18, 2018

Two students from the South Plainfield High School Italian Language Class were recently sponsored by Plainfield's UNICO & the Gian Maria Mazzola Foundation of Italy to attend the Liceo Betty Ambiveri (High School) in Presezzo, Italy from May 26 to June 3, 2018.  Gian Maria Mazzola was a member of a runners club from Italy who ran in several NY Marathons and his club was hosted in ...

Road Closures - June 14, 2018

Today's road closures in South Plainfield due to road resurfacing -

Old Hamilton Blvd, Church Street and South Plainfield Avenue between Front Street and Old Hamilton Blvd.

New Market between Pitt Street and Hancock Street will be down to one lane most of the day for resurfacing. Expect minor delays. (Nixle A7BQY)

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Giving Back


Sat, June 23, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

SPARC Reaching Out


Sat, June 23, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Somerset Patriots vs. Southern Maryland Blue ...


Weinberg, Diegnan Bill to Establish University-Based Consortium on Media Innovation Advances

TRENTON –A bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan that would establish a state university-based consortium to advance research in the field of media and technology was passed from the Senate Higher Education Committee today.

“The state’s traditional newspaper market has been upended by changes in ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)


A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...


The South Plainfield Public Library will be open this Sunday, June 24 from 1:30 PM – 5 PM.  This is the last Sunday the library will be open until September.  During July and August, the library will be closed on Sundays, but the rest of the hours during the week will remain the same.

Come join us Monday, June 25 at 6:30 PM for Monday Night Movies.  The selection this week ...

Suburban Woman’s Club Ends Its Year with a Big Banquet

Our country has a long and rich history of service clubs contributing to the growth of their communities but there have been signs in the past two decades that interest in these groups is waning.  Not so at Suburban Woman’s Club of South Plainfield.  Thanks to the efforts of Membership Chair Grace Bertucci, this past year seven new members joined this relatively small group of ...

Press Releases

Plainfields' UNICO Honors Area High School Students With Scholarships

June 16, 2018

At their annual Scholarship Awards Banquet on May 23, 2018, The Plainfields' Chapter of UNICO National honored 6 area high school seniors with scholarship grants of $1,000 each.  The high schools represented in this prestigious yearly scholarship program  South Plainfield, J.P. Stevens, Bishop Ahr, Piscataway, and  Middlesex High Schools. The recipients were the following ...