Interim superintendent named in Princeton

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A retired superintendent of schools and adjunct professor at Gwynedd Mercy University has been tapped to serve as the interim superintendent of schools while the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education searches for a successor to Superintendent of Schools Steve Cochrane.

The school board voted unanimously to hire Barry Galasso as its interim superintendent during the school board meeting on May 12. Galasso will assume his new role July 1, the day after Cochrane retires from the Princeton Public Schools’ top administrative post.

Cochrane is retiring June 30 after six years at the helm of the Princeton Public Schools. He announced his retirement plans in February, and said he is moving back to Seattle to be closer to family. He is a Princeton University graduate.

The school board approved a resolution to hire Galasso and signed a one-year contract with the veteran educator. Galasso’s contract begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2021. He will be paid $220,000 for the term, plus an additional $10,000 for consultation work during June 2020.

The contract, which was approved by Mercer County Interim Executive County Superintendent Yasmin Hernandez before school district officials could sign it, also provides for mileage related to Galasso’s duties. He is entitled to 10 sick days and 12 vacation days.

Galasso earned a doctorate in education from Rutgers University. He began his career as a teacher and rose through the ranks to become an administrator and superintendent of schools.

Galasso has been a department chairman, a supervisor, an assistant principal and a principal. He served 21 years as the superintendent of schools in three school districts in New Jersey.

Galasso also served as the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, which represents all superintendents in the state, upon his retirement.

For the last nine years, he has served as the executive director of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where he works with 13 public school districts.

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education members welcomed Galasso at the May 12 special meeting. Several board members said they were looking forward to working with him over the next 12 months.

“Your experience is remarkable,” school board member Brian McDonald said.

Cochrane said “it means the world to me” to hand off the Princeton schools to someone with Galasso’s level of kindness and experience. He said that he and Galasso had exchanged several emails while they were waiting for Mercer County officials to sign off on the contract.

Galasso thanked the school board and said he was excited about moving forward to work with the board.

Galasso said he intends to be more than a placeholder while the school board seeks a permanent superintendent of schools. He said he would try to help the board to find the right person to succeed Cochrane.

The newly-appointed interim superintendent of schools said he was impressed with the school board members who, while they may have differences of opinion on some issues, are able to do so in a respectful manner.

“I will be happy to assist you in any way that I can. My job will be not to disappoint you,” Galasso told the school board.