Superintendent To Leave Verona For Denville

By on January 28, 2014

Forte-HBW2Steven A. Forte, who became the superintendent of Verona’s public schools in December 2011, is leaving to become superintendent in Denville.

The Denville Board of Education met last night and introduced Forte, who lives in Denville, as a candidate for the superintendent position. Interim Denville Superintendent Catherine Mozak confirmed today that Forte accepted the position with Denville effective July 1, 2014.

“I do enjoy the community,” Forte said of Verona this afternoon, “but I have an opportunity to have an impact on my own children’s lives. My kids are growing up and I will never get the time back when they are older.”

Forte said he has submitted his resignation to the Verona Board of Education, which meets tonight at 8 p.m. John Quattrocchi, president of the Verona Board of Education, confirmed that Forte has tendered his resignation, effective June 30, 2014, which is the end of Verona’s current fiscal year. “I expect we will accept his resignation via resolution at tonight’s Board meeting,” Quattrocchi said.

Forte’s current contract with Verona would have run through June 30, 2015. It has an automatic renewal clause, which means that, if the BOE did not give notice of termination by this June 30, the contract would have automatically renewed for another three-year term, beginning July 1, 2015. The contract allows Forte to terminate the contract prior to June 30, 2015 via resignation, as long as he provides 120 days’ notice. By submitting his resignation today, Quattrocchi said, dhe has satisfied that clause.

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“I wish him well in his new role and hope that his experiences in Verona allow him to be successful in Denville,” Quattrocchi added.

Forte said he will continue to lobby for passage of the referendum that the Verona BOE has been preparing. “These things still need to be done and I will do everything in my power to get it done,” he said today. “The referendum is more important than me.” Forte most recently appeared at a January 14 meeting at H.B. Whitehorne to explain the proposed spending, much of which is aimed at the aging physical plant at Verona High School. At that meeting, Forte outlined a new plan for turfing the lower field at VHS for four sports and marching band activities, something that had not been in consideration in previous presentations.

Forte had been seeking to refocus Verona’s curriculum on science, technology and math initiatives. He also added a series of classes that allow VHS students to get college credits while still in high school at a far lower cost. Forte has also brought in extra revenue through facility rentals, sponsorship of sports and activities, and advertising on the school Web site. Last June, the BOE approved its first ever bonus payment to a superintendent for the $107,493 in new revenue that Forte brought in.

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Verona’s public school administration has had a series of high-profile departures in the last six years. Charles Sampson left Verona in February 2011 to become superintendent of the Freehold Regional High School District after only three years as superintendent, and three people he hired for curriculum supervisory roles have also left: Dr. Nicole Santora, Patrick Higgins, and Elizabeth C. Jewett,  who was named superintendent of Watchung Regional Hills.



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