Riverdale School will hire it’s 4th principal in as many years. At the July 29th meeting, the Board of Education approved the hiring of Sean Bowe of Roseland, NJ. A graduate of both Rutgers University and Caldwell College, Bowe received his principal certification in 2012. He has spent the last 2 years as an Assistant Principal with the North Haledon School District. Prior to this position he spent 6 years as an elementary school teacher in Ramsey and Oakland.
Back in June, then Principal Dan Cullen gave his resignation after just one year. For Cullen, a resident of Phillipsburg, a long commute combined with extra responsibilities proved too much for the rookie principal; he also served as the Director of Special Services. His exit was particularly disappointing to the students due to his enthusiastic and interactive approach.
The Riverdale BOE hopes to end the one-and-done trend by hiring local. Bowe gave his assurance that he does not view Riverdale School as a stepping stone and was looking for a place to call home. Superintendent Vicki Pede is hopefully that he will be able to join at the start of the new school year but he is obligated to North Haledon through October. Pede said that she would temporarily assume the responsibilities if there was a delay.
Despite the turnover at the Principal position, Riverdale School continues to perform well; a third of our 8th Grade graduates successfully completed the National Junior Honor Society program by maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher through Middle School. However, consistency at the administrative level has never been more important with the increasingly tumultuous state of public education in New Jersey.
Each of the last 3 principals brought their own ideals and immediately began implementing new policies and procedures, only to leave and the end of the year. For some parents and teachers this was too much and they hope that the new one will exercise restraint. Riverdale School has a lot of tradition and perhaps taking a year to understand the subtleties of small school in a tight-knit community would not be a bad idea.