In October 2019, Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School Superintendent Beverly Mackay announced her retirement effective August 2020. As of August 3rd 2020, Bruce Watson took over the interim Superintendent. According to NorthJersey, Watson announced his resignation on September 10th, with no explanation, thus starting the tumultuous Superintendent hunt.
Presently, Anthony Risica is serving as the interim Superintendent while the Board of Education continues their search for a new Superintendent. To help aid them in the search, the board passed OP1 which officially approved an agreement between the Ramapo Indian Hills school district and Hazard Young Attea Associates (HYA) of Schaumburg, Illinois. Hazard Young Attea Associates is a network of education consultants who serve school systems all over the country.
As stated in the Board of Education meeting minutes from March 8th, 2021, HYA will be paid $15,500 to find a permanent replacement for MacKay.
Since the announcement of the agreement in March, the board, in conjunction with HYA, has been seeking input from the community via interviews, focus groups, and virtual town hall meetings. The Board of Education also sent out a survey which asked a myriad of questions about the district’s strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats. Using this research-based community survey, the firm and the board will utilize the information to determine necessary characteristics of the next Superintendent.
When asked about her ideal Superintendent, Supervisor of Guidance at Ramapo High School Mrs. Perry responded, “The ideal characteristics of a Superintendent include strong communication skills, active listening in order to process the feedback of all RIH stakeholders, and diplomacy skills in order to simultaneously incorporate feedback while supporting action for the RIH staff. The ideal Superintendent would maintain visibility within the buildings regularly and establish connection and recognition with the staff and students. Implementation of professional boundaries and expectation of decorum during Board of Education meetings would serve as a role model for all stakeholders.”
COVID-19 has brought some unique challenges to the board and caused various unforeseen staffing changes. In an interview with local reporter for NorthJersey.com Marsha Stoltz, Board President Filomena Laforgia ascribed the delay in the search to the pandemic. Since the national shutdown, the Board’s concerns have shifted dramatically to reopening Ramapo and Indian Hills as safely and swiftly as possible. Mrs. Perry, who has worked tirelessly to ensure the comfort and safety of Ramapo’s students and staff during this unprecedented time, remarked, “In my humble opinion, the impact of COVID19 on our district has brought to the surface some key characteristics that the RIH district would benefit from in securing a Superintendent.” In the coming months, it is the job of the Board of Education and HYA to find and secure a Superintendent who meets the criteria brought forth by the Ramapo Indian Hills parents, students, staff, and administration.