SPARTA, NJ — The Sparta Board of Education approved the new high school principal at a special meeting on Wednesday night in the auditorium at Sparta High School with a unanimous vote of six members present. Edward Lazzara was approved with a contract of $179,000. 

In his first meeting as Sparta Superintendent, Matt Beck explained the selection process.  He said there were three rounds of interviews.  The first two rounds were conducted by committee. 

For the first round, the committee members included the secondary content area supervisors, the athletic director, two principals, a Sparta High School parent and a Sparta High School teacher along with Interim Sparta Superintendent Patrick McQueeney and Beck. 

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He said the interview questions were agreed upon by the committee and the answers were scored by the committee members according to a rubric.

For the second round, the interview committee was three directors from the director team and Beck.  The answers were also scored by the committee members.

“From there three very qualified finalists were selected for the final round,” Beck said.  The final round of interviews was conducted by Beck and McQueeney from which they recommended Lazarra.

“Dr. Lazarra comes to us with many years of principal, vice principal experience and he also has experience as athletic director and director of special services,” Beck said. “I’ve very excited to recommend Dr. Lazarra to the board and am confident that he will do great things for the Sparta School District.”

Recently resigned Sparta Board of Education member Jen Grana sent an email with three questions for the board about the hiring process.  She asked if McQueeney and Beck were both recommending Lazarra, questioned the timeline for interviews and the need for a special meeting.

Board president Kim Bragg said the special meeting was held to approve the new principal and get him into his new position as soon as possible, accommodating the contractual 60-day notice requirements in Lazzara's current district Belvidere. She also noted the other answers to Grana’s questions had been answered by Beck in his description of the hiring process.

The next board of education meeting is scheduled for June 24 at Sparta High School.

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