Montclair Board Approves Appointment of Dr. Joseph Putrino to Glenfield Middle School Principal

Dr. Joseph Putrino
Dr. Putrino with Northeast Students celebrating his R.E.S.P.E.C.T program

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, Montclair Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Penny MacCormack, announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph Putrino as principal of Glenfield Middle School effective July 16, 2013. The appointment was approved by the Montclair Board of Education with only member David Cummings voting no.

Currently, Dr. Putrino is the principal of Northeast Elementary School, where he has served since July 2010. While at Northeast he significantly contributed to the Montclair District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC). He also serves as the Montclair Principals Association President. He has been in the Montclair Public Schools for 13 years overall. He began his career at Renaissance Middle School where he taught science and art for six years and was then Assistant Principal at Hillside Elementary School for four years before taking the assignment at  Northeast.

“Dr. Putrino brings a wonderfully well-rounded background that will benefit the Glenfield community,” commented Dr. MacCormack. She continued, “His own educational background is diverse, he has historical knowledge of the Montclair Public Schools, he brings administrative experience with two schools, and he taught middle school students. Additionally, his focus on the whole child, particularly through his anti-bullying work, is an asset not only to his immediate school community but to the entire district,” she noted.

The newly designated Glenfield principal, spoke humbly of his new assignment, thanking the board for their trust. “I’ve had the fortune in the past thirteen years to be a leader in this town and part of the classroom experience, and it’s unforgettable and unreplaceable [sic] and invaluable,” he said.  “I’m flattered to get the recommendation to serve at Glenfield.”  He thanked the board for allowing him to have the experiences at Renaissance and Hillside before going to Northeast and learning how to run a school where diversity was honored.

The district expects to have a new principal in place at Northeast by the start of the 2013-2014 school year; the search will begin immediately. Ms. Vicky Skopak, a recently retired Montclair Public Schools administrator with more than 20 years of experience, will be the interim principal until school starts.

Board of Education President Robin Kulwin notes, “Dr. Putrino was a successful middle school teacher and is an accomplished administrator. I’m confident that he will work well with the Glenfield students, staff, and parents and that Glenfield Middle School will continue to thrive under his leadership.”

Former Glenfield Principal Charlie Miller resigned in May after an incident involving a student bringing a BB gun to the school was not handled following district protocol.

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  1. This leaves us looking for Principals for both Nishuane and Northeast. Still, as annoying as that is, there’s a lot to be said for “growing our own talent” and seeing people with experience in the district expanding their responsibilities here rather than taking their experience and benefiting districts elsewhere.

    As disruptive as it may be for the schools they’d be departing, I hope our Assistant Principals are given serious consideration for the two open positions.

    I wonder if there isn’t something we can do to minimize these disruptions as administrators “move up” within the district, perhaps somehow planning for these ahead of time.

    I don’t know Dr. Putrino (having spoken to him for all of five minutes, four of which were last night), but everything I’ve heard so far tells me that he’ll do well for Glenfield. As I’ve a son starting there in September (and another queued up for three years hence), I’m eager to see.


  2. My oldest child will be entering 3rd grade this fall. In February of 2010 — just over three years ago, before she entered kindergarten, I toured all 6 elementary schools that offered kindergarten classes. Of those schools, only ONE, Bradford, will have the same principal this fall that it had in February of 2010. Some will have had more than one principal in those three years (Watchung, for instance, still had an interim principal when I toured, who was then replaced by Peter Turnamian, who was then replaced by Joe Schmidt). Dr. Putrino’s replacement will be Northeast’s third principal since 2010.

    The problem is not confined to the elementary schools. Both middle schools and the high school will have had at least one principal change in the 6 years since I moved to town.

    This constant turnover cannot be good for teachers or students. What is going on in Montclair (be it working conditions, compensation, etc.) that is causing this revolving door of Montclair principals? As a community, do we believe it is acceptable for the vast majority of principals to not see their entering students graduate from their schools? While we need to value excellent leadership for our schools, isn’t a component of excellent leadership consistent leadership? I would really like to see some reporting on this issue. Thanks!

  3. “isn’t a component of excellent leadership consistent leadership?”

    We’ve had a number of principals leave for more senior positions in other districts. It would have been nice had we been able to retain them in new positions, but – even if we had – there would still be the disruption of new leadership in the building. Consider that one of the openings results from exactly this sort of “hiring from within”.

    That so many of our principals are so successful is one measure of our success, though I agree it does create for us a problem. It’s great that Dr. Putrino could step up to a larger/older school, and that Mrs. Clark could take on position with wider responsibility, for example. Their expertise and efforts should be rewarded, and we should be happy for them. It would be inappropriate, as well as counterproductive, for us to deny them advancement opportunities of which they’re capable.

    And, of course, we benefit when our stars take on enhanced responsibility within the district.

    That’s not to say that there aren’t principals out there happy to spend their career at a school. I know one fellow who was a K-5 principal at one school for many years before his retirement, and I’m told he was quite good. But some excellent principals will seek an even larger impact upon education over time.

    I think we need to plan for this situation. Having assistant principals in town and ready to step up would be part of it, but we’d also need to prepare for the disruption of new APs at those schools every so often. I hope that attention gets paid to this in the not-distant future.


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