One of two high-level administrators who resigned from their posts with the South Orange-Maplewood school district in June has been replaced, school officials announced recently.
Rosetta Wilson has left the district after four years as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction to take a senior leadership position with a nonprofit organization. Wilson’s salary for the 2010-2011 school year was $146,388.
Since 2008, Gary Pankiewicz has been the supervisor of English language arts for grades six through 12. He resigned to work for another district, and intends to stay with the district until mid-August. His annual salary for the this school year was $102,159.
District officials said they have not hired a replacement for Pankiewicz because they want to fill the assistant superintendent position first. The assistant superintendent oversees all supervisors in the district.
On July 25, the school board approved the appointment of Lydia Furnari to replace Wilson. Furnari is scheduled to begin her role as assistant superintendent and a member of the district's senior leadership team in South Orange-Maplewood on Sept. 1 with an annual salary of $148,000. She is currently the director of curriculum for the Montclair school district.
"Our children are our future,” Furnari said in a prepared statement sent by the district office via email July 25. “We must put all of our efforts into crafting exceptional educational experiences that allow children to grow into thinking, creative, responsible and responsive members of our community and of the world. I am honored to serve the students and families of South Orange and Maplewood, and thank (Superintendent of Schools Brian) Osborne and the board for this opportunity."
According to the email, Furnari served as the supervisor of curriculum in Montclair from 2008 through 2010. In 2011, she was promoted to Montclair’s director of curriculum.Throughout her tenure at Montclair, Furnari’s responsibilities included leadership in all curricular areas, instructional design and implementation, and professional development.
The email states Furnari “created and implemented a strategic plan for assessment for MPS, and expanded the use of technology resources for students and teachers. She also created an online teacher portal which provides access to MPS K-12 curriculum documents in every discipline.”
"Throughout her career, Furnari has demonstrated a commitment to excellence, dedication to all students, and an ability to consistently put students first in every decision or situation,” Osborne stated in the email. “She will be a tremendous addition to South Orange-Maplewood school district as we continue our work to expand learning opportunities and engage and challenge all students to reach their fullest potential."
Furnari has also served as a music educator in Paterson and Montclair for 14 years, according to the district. In Elizabeth, she worked with staff, students and parents to create a new school that became one of six in the country to win the National School Change Award in 2004.
She also led the improvement of instructional programs in all curricular areas across Elizabeth public schools as district director of elementary and secondary education.
The email states that Furnari “mentors aspiring administrators as an adjunct faculty member at Caldwell College for administration and supervision at the graduate level. Furnari leads accreditation teams for the Middle States Association and as a member of the Tri-State Consortium.”
According to the district office, Furnari earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Montclair State College, a master’s degree in administration and supervision from Montclair State University, and a doctorate in education with a concentration in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Suzanne Turner, director of communications for the South Orange-Maplewood school district, contributed to this article.