Wednesday, June 7, 2017


Thomas Ficarra. Photo: Morristown Green
The school board plans to appoint a veteran schools chief with more than 40 years experience in New Jersey districts that included leadership posts in Morris and Elizabeth as the South Orange Maplewood interim superintendent.

Dr. Thomas Ficarra, who most recently served as an interim superintendent for 20 months in Hamilton, will be formally approved at tonight's special school board meeting set for 7 p.m. in the board meeting room at 525 Academy St., Maplewood.

He will help the transition from Superintendent John Ramos, who announced his resignation last month after just two years on the job. Ramos plans to leave in August.

The school district announced the choice in a lengthy letter today to residents and parents, which said, in part:

Dr. Ficarra’s experience in public education spans more than four decades, 39 years of which he served in only three districts.   Dr. Ficarra spent 20 years in Elizabeth, where he started his career as a teacher and was promoted to a Principal-ship, and eventually to several Central Office positions, culminating in an Assistant Superintendent role. He spent the next six years in Mount Arlington as Superintendent, and served for over 12 years as a Superintendent in Morris, a complex regional district that includes both Morristown and the Township of Morris, with many of the same opportunities and challenges as our school district here in South Orange and Maplewood.

During his time in Morris, Dr. Ficarra’s leadership led to the establishment of a state-of-the-art STEM Academy at Morristown High School, a fundraising campaign for the High School turf field and major school renovations and expansions...

...Most recently, Dr. Ficarra spent 20 months as an Interim Superintendent in Hamilton Township, a diverse district of over 11,000 students.  During this time, he was able to reorganize central office, undertake a major facilities planning process and guide administrators toward stabilizing the district. This stability enabled the Hamilton Board to attract a large pool of candidates and unanimously select a highly qualified permanent superintendent...

...In describing his leadership philosophy, Dr. Ficarra said, “My overarching belief as to what makes a school district successful is connectedness. An organization can only be successful if the intelligence, talent and commitment of people at all levels of an organization are tapped and allowed to develop. Success happens through collaboration and respect. Creating a "learning environment" based on safe and healthy relationships is the most important aspect of organizational leadership.

Read the entire letter HERE. 

Ficarra will be the fourth superintendent in just three years after Brian Osborne resigned in 2014 to take a new job in New Rochelle, N.Y., and former assistant superintendent James Memoli served as interim superintendent for more than a year before Ramos was hired in 2015.

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