SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – At a 9 a.m. special meeting July 31, the South Plainfield Board of Education (SPBOE) approved, by a vote of 8-0, the appointment of an interim principal for Riley Elementary School. Rosaura Valarezo, a resident of Jersey City and retired educator, will take on the position effective Aug. 16. 

“Welcome Ms. Valarezo to Riley School as the interim principal for the coming school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Noreen Lishak. “During our interview, Ms. Valarezo’s enthusiasm when she discussed her passion for education and her focus on the importance of a strong partnership, as well as her focus on the students made her my recommendation for the position…Ms. Valarezo, we are excited to have you in the South Plainfield School District. Welcome to the district and welcome to Riley School.”

“On behalf of the entire board, welcome to the district. We echo Dr. Lishak’s sentiments and are happy to have you here. You are coming into a district that is certainly on the upswing and we look forward to your positive impact,” added SPBOE President Doug Chapman.

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Valarezo brings to South Plainfield experience as a teacher, vice principal, and principal at both the elementary and secondary level. She earned her undergraduate degree from Jersey City University and also holds a masters degree in bilingual and ESL education and an Ed.S in administration and supervision, both from Seton Hall. She began her teaching career in Union City and has also taught in Jersey City, was an adjunct professor at both Rutgers University and Seton Hall, and, prior to her retirement, was employed with the New Brunswick School District for over 20 years. There, she served as a teacher and vice principal as well as principal of bilingual, ESL, and world languages. 

Valarezo told TAPinto South Plainfield that her decision to retire three years ago came as a surprise to many but something told her it was the time. “I just had a sixth sense; just a feeling,” she said, adding that about six months into her retirement, her mom fell ill and, around the same time, her fiancé had a kidney transplant.  “If I had not retired, I would not have been able to care for my loved ones.”

Over the past three years, Valarezo said she remained a member of the New Jersey Principal’s Association, continued to stay up-to-date on education trends and, in 2018, signed up to be included on the list for interim positions. “I think, in the back of mind, I knew I wasn't done,” she said, “I am passionate about education.”

Valarezo told TAPinto that she prides herself on being ‘tough,’ ‘fair,’ and having ‘gained a mutual respect’ from staff, students, and parents throughout the course of her career. As interim principal of Riley, she is looking forward to being hands on and an ‘asset for the district.’ 

According to Valarezo, her overall goals as interim principal of Riley School include promoting high academic achievement and working collaboratively with the staff and parents. “That is the only way to move forward. You have to have a cohesive plan,” Valarezo said. “It is all about us moving forward and making Riley School a positive environment, a safe environment, and a welcoming environment for all.”

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