John J. Marciante Jr., who has been the superintendent of the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District for 14 years, will retire in June 2021.
During a recent meeting, Board of Education members reluctantly accepted Marciante’s one-year notice that the 2020-21 academic year will be his final one in the district.
At a subsequent meeting, the board approved a superintendent search agreement with the New Jersey School Boards Association for a fee of $4,000. The NJSBA, which represents schools boards throughout the Garden State, will advertise the position and work with the board to identify candidates for the position.
The district consists of eight schools and has a current enrollment of about 5,000 pupils.
Board President Dotty Porcaro of Manalapan said, “Dr. Marciante has been the superintendent for 14 years and is an extraordinary educational leader. He has always had a clear and precise vision of how the district should be functioning.
“He supports his staff and their ideas toward increasing student achievement. He works well with his team to come up with solutions that are always in the best interest of his staff and the students.
“This is a district to be proud of because of his insight and guidance. He has a good working relationship with the board and communicates well with the community. Over the years he has changed the climate of the district, increased test scores, encouraged academic success and added full-time kindergarten, the digital conversion and many specialized programs.
“On a personal note, I have had the honor and privilege to be his board president for many years and we have become a great team. I have learned so much about education from him and have happily stood beside him in the good and bad times, and in-between. I will miss him dearly, but I know it’s time for him to go and enjoy his retirement. I wish him all the best for the future,” Porcaro said.
Regarding the search for a new superintendent, Porcaro said, “The board would like to find someone who will continue all that Dr. Marciante has started and be willing to continue to work on student achievement.
“The district is in a great place and we would want the new superintendent to strive to keep it that way and to also work well with the staff.
“There will be outreach in the community via meetings with parents and members of the public to hear their suggestions and thoughts” about a successor to Marciante, the board president said.
Lori Semel, who has represented Englishtown on the school board for many years, said, “I would like to thank Dr. Marciante for all of his years leading our Manalapan-Englishtown Regional schools community, beginning with his role as director of pupil personnel services and then as superintendent of this wonderful district.
“I am sorry to see his last year is his toughest year with the COVID pandemic. There are no easy answers, but I know his greatest concern is for the health and well-being of our students, their families and all of our staff.
“I wish Dr. Marciante a happy and healthy retirement and I hope he looks back at his tenure in our district with pride knowing that he always did his very best for the students, staff and families of this great school district,” Semel said.
Jayme Orlando, the principal of the Clark Mills School, said Marciante “was integral in starting the Response to Intervention program in the school district. This program is extremely successful and has been integral to the success of our district.”
“Dr. Marciante is a visionary who thinks outside the box. He is an exceptional leader who has worked collaboratively with his administrative team to help close the achievement gap and make Manalapan the No. 2 district in the state.
“Dr. Marciante presented at the national Model Schools Conference on ‘How We Took Awesome to the Next Level’ in regard to increasing rigor, relevance and relationships throughout the district.
“And he was integral in bringing Project Read, a multi-sensory program, into the district and implementing coaches to ensure the fidelity of the program,” Orlando said.
Melissa Foy, the principal of the John I. Dawes Early Learning Center, said, “Dr. Marciante always valued early childhood education and often began initiatives with the district’s youngest students.
“He led a pilot of Project Read in kindergarten and based on the extraordinary results, he implemented it in every kindergarten class in the district. It is still used today.
“Dr. Marciante instituted a tuition-based half-day integrated preschool program for residents in 2010. The district uses a lottery system for those spaces due to its popularity.
“And he implemented full-day kindergarten in 2014 to ensure our students had adequate time to meet the newly revised standards and to build a strong foundation for their educational journey in the district,” Foy said.