Hillside School Asst. Principal Leaving District For Principal Position in Bergen County

BY  |  Friday, Oct 11, 2013 4:31pm  |  COMMENTS (23)

hillside schoolMr. Chiles, principal of Hillside Elementary School in Montclair just announced that Assistant Principal, Mr. Anthony Grosso, will be leaving for a position as a principal in Bergen County:

Mr. Anthony Grosso has been approved to serve as the Principal of a K-6 elementary school in Bergen County. After 12 years serving the Hillside community, Mr. Grosso will be missed by me personally and this entire faculty and staff.

I hired Mr. Grosso as a Drama teacher for a year to replace Deborah  McHugh who was on sabbatical leave that year. After observing his many talents, he was placed the following year as a 5th grade Math/Science teacher. After a few years, he served Hillside as its Science Specialist. When the Assistant Principal position opened up, after interviewing several candidates, Mr. Grosso was a no- brainer for me as he had just recently completed his Masters degree and appropriate certifications.  This year starts his 4th year as an Assistant Principal at Hillside. As you can determine, Mr. Grosso is a “son of Hillside School”.

His departure and replacement will be according to the procedures and practices of the District. An exact date of departure will be forthcoming while a pursuit of his replacement is underway as of this writing. I am sure you will join me in congratulating Mr. Anthony Grosso on his new assignment as Principal.


  1. POSTED BY belletoness  |  October 11, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

    Who’s going to run Hillside for the remainder of the year?

  2. POSTED BY qby33  |  October 11, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    So disappointing! Mr. Grosso was fatastic for my son’s three years at Hillside. Yes, I agree with above poster…he DID run that school. Sometimes I just shake my head at this district. I know Grosso was seeking a lead Principal’ position for a while. I think it’s our loss! 🙁

  3. POSTED BY anothermontclairmom  |  October 12, 2013 @ 7:49 am

    Agree with the comments above. My children are older so I can’t really speak to his talents as an administrator as that was after our time at Hillside but he was very engaging as the school’s science specialist. My oldest took every one of his available classes. I remember him at the hillside Science Fairs, always had a crowd around him, parents and kids. He was also wonderful at the summer camp run at Hillside. A loss for the district for sure

  4. POSTED BY idratherbeat63  |  October 12, 2013 @ 8:03 am

    Good educators care and want to be part of the discussion in a district on how education is carried out. No sincere educator wants to be led by those who play politics with children’s learning. We can expect more good teachers and educators to look for better environments in which to work. The best ones will be the first to go.

  5. POSTED BY belletoness  |  October 12, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    Idrather, that’s not what happened here. Mr. Grosso applied for several principal openings in district before he left. Montclair’s loss. Hillside is in trouble beginning the day he leaves.

  6. POSTED BY mtclmom  |  October 12, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    Indeed, only people willing to play to reform agenda are being put in jobs. It is sign of top-down management. Charlie at Glenfield, Kathryn Martinez among others, are a symptom. This is what we saw (and why we moved to montclair–to escape these silly education tricks)in NYC under Bloomberg reforms. What surprises me at this point is how many people don’t see what is going on in our schools under Broad superintendent and BOE that supports these policies–and ultimately mayor. Great loss for our kids But parents in NY (and across the nation) eventually see first hand what these reforms are all about. Take heart:


  7. POSTED BY paolo  |  October 12, 2013 @ 11:35 am

    Congratulations, Mr Grosso. Best wishes in your new position, and my hopes your new students and community will appreciate your many talents.

    This is exactly how things should work. People show off their talents and seek recognition for them. The old days of somebody working for 25 years until the old supervisor retires are long gone. This guy is good, and another district recognized that. First.

    If a new district wants to pay him more, or offer him more resources, what’s wrong with that?

    (In my former company, each person had a yearly advancement review. Separate from the performance review. You were told what it would take for you to be promoted or have your responsibilities expanded. What skills or expertise you need to expand, etc to get there.

    And, you were ranked. Get a “not currently promotable” combined with a “lacking core skills” for two years and you might as well head for the exit. I gave a number of these, and received my own advancement reviews. Never an easy conversation, but in a district like Montclair, it needs to be done.

    When good people head for the exits, there is a cause for concern. And the board should look at directors, supervisors, assistant principals, principals, etc to see how they align with performance expectations for the school system.)

  8. POSTED BY jdmaccb  |  October 12, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    Mtclmom: Welcome to this forum. I have been following the conversations here for quite some time, but only recently decided to begin commenting on the changes taking place in our fair town of Montclair.

    I agree with your post and wanted to let other readers know that they can take the guess work out knowing what comes next. Here are two links that will alert you to the coming changes. However, I also want to let you and other readers know that there are many groups coalescing against these changes; New York City is not the only place where parents are organizing.

    In Montclair:
    See Montclair Cares About Schools Facebook Group

    Diane Ravitch Blog

    Parents Across America

    Judah MaccB

  9. POSTED BY fishoutofvodka  |  October 12, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Grosso in person, but when my family decided to move to Montclair, I spoke to him extensively on the phone since it seemed likely my kid would end up at Hillside. He was kind, professional, and showed a genuine interest in how to make my child’s transition to the school as successful as possible. I’ve rarely been so impressed with anyone in school administration.

    In the end, we were assigned to a different school–and when the principal left, I was hoping Mr. Grosso get the job. Alas, it looks like Montclair’s loss is Bergen County’s gain.

    Wishing him all the best.

  10. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  October 12, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    As an active Hillside parent I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Grosso for numerous projects and school events. He is the happy face of Hillside that kept that school afloat. He loves that school.

    He took the time to learn new students names, speak with parents about their problems as well as doing his best to fix problems. He is a father with a large family and yet he would still take time on the weekends between his own children’s event to attend Hillside events.

    For those who don’t know Hillside look at the comments above. Why is everyone asking “Who will run the school now?” when we are losing our VP yet we still have a principal?

    I was so hoping Mr. Grosso would become the principal of Hillside. I wish him all of the best and with any luck we can get him back.

  11. POSTED BY Clark Son  |  October 12, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    Kids are heartbroken, as are parents. Its a loss. But, I cant say that I blame him. Unless things change around here, all of the talent is going to continue to head for the hills. At some point we need to start looking in the mirror, or every quality educator will disappear. What is the enticement for them anymore?

  12. POSTED BY blablabla  |  October 13, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    It is disapointing to learn that Mr. Grosso was passed over when he has served our community for over 12 years due to polical cronieism. Nothing against Jill McLaughlan, but she was not the best or most qualified person to be considered for a promotion after only teaching for 6 years and being an assistant principal for under 2 years. It was a slap in the face.

  13. POSTED BY blablabla  |  October 13, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    I obviously do not share the popular opinion of some who like certain promotions. Many who do not comment here do not like a lot of things that are happening. However, it should be understood that one voice speaking the truth is much louder than a crowd. The obvious chronieism involved is sadly what we may be facing in the future if our Superintendant doesn’t become aware of it. Not a fan of Ms Clarke and certainly nothing against Ms McLaughlan, one day she would have worked hard enough to be worthy of consideration over the many others who have actually been here much longer. We need to define how long and what benchmarks someone should be at an Assistant Principal position before ever considering a promotion of a friend by a friend.

  14. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 13, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

    “I was so hoping Mr. Grosso would become the principal of Hillside.”

    As was I.

    I’m concerned that Mr. Grosso was the victim of too many people with the same hope. As was pointed out above, he was the face of success at the school. While he could – and probably should – have been advanced w/in the district, he was doing so good and important a job that I fear his opportunity for advancement was put aside so he’d keep doing that job.

    It’s not something that could have persisted in the long term. I’m sorry that it had to.

    I very much regret his departure, but I wish him the best.


  15. POSTED BY belletoness  |  October 13, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    It doesn’t help when the principal of Hillside is doing everything he can to hurt Grosso’s chances for a promotion.

  16. POSTED BY jeanluc  |  October 13, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

    For all intents and purposes Mr Grosso was the Principal of Hillside.- He was always the go to person with any issues, complaints or suggestions. It angers me that Superintendent McCormick did not see fit to somehow keep him in the school or at least in the school system.
    As was said above: “Hillside is in trouble beginning the day he leaves.”
    Good luck, Mr Grosso!

  17. POSTED BY mcinmtc  |  October 13, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    I think it is worthwhile noting that the same type of things were said (and worried about) when the previous two very competent and student-focused assistant principals moved on from Hillside. Alex Anemone was a fantastic, young, go-to AP at Hillside, became the principal of Glenfield Middle School, finished his PhD and is now a Superintendent of another district. Before Mr. Grosso, Joe Putrino was a student and parent favorite AP, then became the principal of Northeast, finished his PhD, and he just moved again to become principal of Glenfield. Given the size and complexity of Hillside, the AP is always a go-to person. It is sad to say goodbye to a much-loved teacher and administrator, but like many people his age, Mr. Grosso is building his career and may have decided that waiting til the principal spot at Hillside opens up may not be the best decision for him. Montclair has a fairly decent recent track record of filling principal jobs from internal candidates (Nishuane, Bullock, Bradford, Northeast, Glenfield). No matter what district in NJ a teacher or principal may move to, s/he will be dealing with some of the same thorny administrative and curriculum issues we have in Montclair — full implementation of the state-mandated Common Core standards, prep for the new PARCC assesments, new state-mandated teacher evaluations, etc. As for the comment regarding the new/recent principal placement at Nishuane, all the candidates went through a thorough vetting at the Central Office level and then a committee of parents and teachers from Nishuane also interviewed each of the finalist candidates and provided feedback and recommendations to the Super. This is the same process used to fill recent openings at Glenfield and Northeast, too (all 3 principal jobs went to internal Montclair district candidates). Not to put too much of a silver lining on it, but he AP opening at Hillside can be seen as an opportunity for another, new district rising star. Let’s hope they move quickly on the hire.

  18. POSTED BY danahawkinssimons  |  October 14, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    this is a HUGE loss, folks. mr. grosso is amazing…an incredibly bright, caring, professional, and hardworking guy with a stellar future. i’m stunned and deeply disappointed that montclair didn’t do what was necessary to keep him in the district.

  19. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 14, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

    “It doesn’t help when the principal of Hillside is doing everything he can to hurt Grosso’s chances for a promotion.”

    Do you know for a fact that this was occurring? It seems excessive.

  20. POSTED BY belletoness  |  October 14, 2013 @ 4:09 pm


  21. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 14, 2013 @ 4:25 pm


    *Grumble* I wish I’d know about this. It would probably have made no difference, but I’d already been mentioning our district’s need to do something about Mr. Grosso for months to anyone whose ear I could bend. I wish I could have added this little fact.


  22. POSTED BY belletoness  |  October 14, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

    He’s going to be greatly missed. I wish they could have found a place for him in district. From what I’m told, he was one of the finalists for the Watchung job. Next, somewhat understandably didn’t get the Glenfield job as I guess Putrino had the advantage it being a MS job, then lost out on the Northeast job to Bilal (who reportedly was not a finalist for the Watchung job).

    It would have been great to see him take over at Hillside, but who knows how long until that job opens up. Some rumors say January, but we’ve heard that before.

    With a 5th grader at Hillside, I’d wait it out, but 3rd or 4th? I might be looking elsewhere depending on who the new AP is. Is there even any up and comers over there ready to take over the position? I can think of one, though not sure he wants it.

  23. POSTED BY agideon  |  October 17, 2013 @ 10:15 am

    “Not to put too much of a silver lining on it, but he AP opening at Hillside can be seen as an opportunity for another, new district rising star.”

    You raise good points about previous changes at Hillside, and this is an opportunity for someone to shine. Yet change involves risk, and I am a bit afraid for Hillside, where I’ve a 3rd grader. Needless to say, I’m very interested to see who steps into the position.

    If Mr. Grosso had shifted to another position within the district, I’d be less disappointed knowing that others in town would be benefiting from his abilities. His departure is our town’s loss.

    As I wrote above: I very much regret his departure, but I wish him the best.


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