In front of dozens of parents and members of
the Bloomfield School community, the two finalists for Bloomfield Schools
Superintendent made their cases for why they should lead the district on Wednesday night.
Bloomfield Middle School Principal Salvatore Goncalves stressed the strong ties to the schools and community forged over his 35 years working in the district. Montclair High School Principal James Earle stressed that he would be responsive to community needs and build strong relationships.
In response to an early question about central office stability, Goncalves said his roots were planted in Bloomfield.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Goncalves said. “I’ve been here for 35 years. I want to stay here."
Goncalves said that his familiarity to and with the community would be an asset.
Throughout his presentation and question and answer session, Goncalves praised the schools’ students and teachers, saying that the district’s successes had been overlooked amid its recent crisis over resources.
“We’re not stuff rich,” Goncalves said. “We don’t have a lot of stuff. But we do have a lot of talented people.”
Earle said that in his research on the district, he had noted an imbalance of achievement in the township’s elementary schools.
“Why are schools on this side of town doing better than schools on that side of town,” Earle said. “That’s a question we have to ask.”
Asked how he could overcome skepticism that someone from outside the district would be the right person for the job, Earle said he was ready to work with parents and staff and willing, if necessary, to make hard decisions.
The School Board plans to call a special executive session to make their final decision. The vote is complicated by the recent resignation of Board member Mary Shaughnessy, which left the Board with eight members and open to a four to four split.