NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — As the district prepares for the start of a new school year, the West Essex Regional School district has a new Superintendent of Schools, Damion Macioci, who is leading and preparing the staff for the 2019-2020 school year.
Appointed by a unanimous vote on May 28, Macioci replaced retiring Superintendent Barbara Longo and officially took the helm on July 1.
Macioci noted that some of his goals and priorities for the upcoming school year include: building upon existing relationships through engaging stakeholders; accelerating a smooth superintendent transition; establishing priorities for the district based on data analysis and feedback; using the information gathered to begin formulating a strategic plan in-line with the district’s mission statement; improving/enhancing instruction and academic expectations; maintaining financial responsibility, governance and operations; and strengthening community relations.
In choosing new administrators and teaching staff, Macioci noted that some of the attributes he would look for in candidates include: positivity, enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, passion, the ability to be open-minded, exceptional listening skills, patience, trustworthy and integrity. He also said some of his priorities in recommending new hires include someone who is committed to being a life-long learner and who values professional development and emerging pedagogy.
As it pertains to district facilities, Macioci said that the district is in the process of beginning a facilities audit, which will assess the condition of the campus and utility systems for the school district. The results can be utilized to address needs and create short-and long-term goals, he said.
One facility renovation project in progress includes the high school auditorium, which he said serves a site for school functions and is a great benefit to the music and arts department. According to Macioci, some of the improvements include: electrical and lighting upgrades, new seating, carpeting, painting, audio-visual upgrades and a rigging system.
“Having worked in the district for 11 years, I have developed strong connections to the students, faculty, staff and community,” said Macioci. “As an administrator, I had the chance to work closely with the sending district superintendents and administrators through coordinating vertical articulation, professional development opportunities, and consortium meetings,” he said. “I plan to continue our professional relationships so together we can better serve the needs of our students.”
The new superintendent also referenced the current shared-services opportunities that are utilized, which include transportation and professional development for staff.
Another goal of his is to coordinate the school calendars with the four sending districts: Essex Fells, Roseland, Fairfield and North Caldwell. He noted that just recently, all five superintendents met to discuss coordination and greater articulation amongst the districts.
“I would like to see the school district high achieving, innovative and cutting edge in all areas,” said Macioci. “Specifically, multiple opportunities for both male and female athletes, maintain our facilities, high level of health care to student and opportunities for competitions.”
“Furthermore, to continue to utilize best practices with regard to safety and security and maintain strong partnerships with the local police departments [is another goal]. Maintaining a rigorous curriculum and providing professional development to support staff and teachers is critical.”
Macioci also spoke about extracurricular activities as “an extension of the classroom and an important part of the educational experience.”
“We offer a variety of options for students, academic clubs, fine and performing arts clubs, service-based clubs and school publications,” he said.
Macioci has 20 years of experience with 15 years having been spent in administrative roles. He began his career in 1999 in the School District of the Chathams, serving as a health and physical education teacher, athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach.
From 2004-2008, Macioci was employed in the Randolph School District as the PreK-12 Supervisor of Health Services, Physical Education and Athletics. He began in the West Essex Regional School District in 2008 as the Director of Athletics and Supervisor of Health and Physical Education for grades 7-12. He served in this position until April of 2015.
After a brief stint in 2015, Macioci served as the assistant principal at Heritage Middle School in Livingston in 2015. Macioci returned to West Essex in August of 2015, taking the position of assistant principal at West Essex Regional High School while also serving as the School Safety Specialist for the district.
As the new school year approaches, the new superintendent said he intends to observe and assess the district and step into his new role as the district’s leader. While the guidance department, custodial and building and grounds staff and the administrators have been working during the summer, teaching staff will return Aug. 28 to prepare for the new school year, which begins on Tuesday, Sept. 3.