By KAYLA J. MARSH
LITTLE SILVER – Dr. Louis Moore, a veteran school administrator from Bergen County, will begin his role as the superintendent of the Board of Education for the Red Bank Regional High School District on July 1.
At a special meeting held earlier this month, the board approved Moore as the new head of the district. He replaces Thomas Pagano, who has served as Red Bank Regional’s Interim Superintendent for the past two years.
“I am very excited about joining Red Bank Regional,” Moore said in an April 20 interview. “[I have] looked at Red Bank Regional as a wheel of inspiration as a high school principal.
“I think the work they are doing there is setting a very good example for high schools all around the state and beyond the state.
“Organizing the academic programs so students are encouraged to join academies or smaller learning community’s, is a very good strategy to make learning relevant, to engage kids in their educational program and to get them invested in what they are doing in school.”
Moore has served as principal of Ramapo High School in the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District in Bergen County’s Franklin Lakes since 2007.
He earned his masters in United States history from the University of Virginia and began his career as a social studies teacher at Ridgewood High School, which is also located in Bergen County.
“I think there are two important sources in my life in terms of my professional choices,” he said. “One is my family. I’m very proud that I come from a family of educators. My dad was a middle school principal, my mom was a high school English teacher, my wife is an English teacher and the vast majority of my cousins, aunts and uncles are involved in education in some way, so I am very proud of that aspect of my family’s background.
“The other source, I had an extraordinary high school history teacher who I look back upon with great affection and respect. He really inspired and instilled in me a deep love of learning and a respect for academics and it carried me through and inspired my work through high school, college, with my eventually earning a Ph.D. in history and also is a big reason I started teaching.”
Moore earned his Ph.D. in history from his alma mater, Rutgers University, in 1999 and has had several articles on history and education published in various publications such as the Congressional Quarterly Press and Principal Leadership.
“I think a big challenge educators face at the secondary level … is how do we get kinds invested and committed and deeply involved in their own learning and in such a way that they can see the work they are doing connects with themselves and connects with what they want to do in the future,” he said. “Frankly we don’t do enough of that in the United States and I think the work that is going on at Red Bank Regional seems to be the right sort of strategy to deal with that challenge.
When I think about Red Bank Regional, I think about it as a forward-thinking district and that’s what draws me to it.
“I like to think of myself as someone who is forward thinking, who sees the need for constructive, thoughtful, deliberative change and that’s an important message. We as educators … have to show students that the learning they are doing is so important to their own futures and to giving them a sense of fulfillment and a sense of purpose.”
While Moore he is very excited to come to Red Bank Regional, he is also going to miss Ramapo.
“It is a wonderful community, a great staff and I think my experience at Ramapo as a high school principal and the excellent people who I have been able to work with, puts me in a place where I feel confident that I have the right skills, the right experiences and the right values to keep Red Bank Regional moving forward.”
Pagano, who has served as the interim superintendent for the past two years, reflected on his time in Red Bank.
“Coming to Red Bank Regional two years ago, I wasn’t sure what it would be like, but it really has been an immense pleasure for me to work here,” he said. “I think I would be hard pressed to work in another school district as positive and enthusiastic and wonderful as Red Bank Regional has been”
He said “the board of education, faculty and support personnel who work here have been most responsive and professional” and said he has enjoyed his time in the district very much.
“I am so impressed with the academic performance of the students here at Red Bank Regional,” Pagano said. “They come from very diverse backgrounds and its a multi-cultural student body and for these kids to achieve as well as they do in county state-wide and national rankings and assessments I think is a tribute to the students how hard work, to the faculty how well they teach them and to the administration who oversee the operation here.
“Some of the high schools in the area are very homogeneous, they have one type of student, here at Red Bank Regional we have so many kinds of students from so many backgrounds, cultural differences, religious differences and socioeconomic differences and they all come together and their behavior I consider to be superior.”
While Pagano said he could work in another school district one day, he is looking forward to relaxing.
“Certainly there are other opportunities for me to work, however I think my plans are to re-retire,” he said. “I would like to spend more time on the golf course, spend more time at the beach and spend more time traveling with my wife and just enjoy the downtime … certainly for a while anyway.”