Telling the board of education that it was time for a “much-needed rest,” Morris Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra announced his retirement Monday night at the body’s regular meeting.
Ficarra said his final day would be Oct. 1, as he wants to remain in place to ensure the opening of the school year – including 5,100 students in 10 different buildings – goes as smoothly as possible.
Ficarra, who entered the education field in 1975, has served as superintendent of the district since August 2002. In a letter to the board, Ficarra said the community is now thriving, and families are coming to the area, because of the success of the schools.
“Throughout these past 12 years I have been fortunate to have had the support of a community that values education, involved and caring parents, and hard-working, dedicated, and forward-thinking Boards of Education. I have worked alongside teachers, administrators and support staff who always put the needs of our students first and who, in my estimation, are second to none. They are consummate professionals who are committed to each and every student they serve. Our District would not be where it is today without the support of each of these constituencies. It has been an honor to work with them,” Ficarra’s statement read.
“Dr. Ficarra has been an extraordinary educational leader who has worked 24/7 on behalf of our students and community for the past 12 years. He is held in the highest regard by the Board and has earned the admiration and respect of administrators, teachers, and parents,” said Board of Education President Leonard Posey in a statement. “As a result of his careful stewardship our District is in excellent shape and a model for 21st century learning. We thank him for his tireless dedication and wish him the very best as he begins a very well-earned and well-deserved retirement.”
Public records show Ficarra earned as much as $216,635 in the 2012-13 school year.
The Board of Education will begin the search for an interim superintendent to take the reigns on Oct. 2 and then will tackle the process of finding a permanent schools chief.