Toms River Gets It Right…Finally!
This one could fall under the category of “better late than never” but I’d rather go with “it’s never too late to do the right thing.” After more than a year of in-fighting the Board of Education in Toms River last night named Mike Citta as the district’s superintendent. He replaces interim super Steve Genco who replaced another interim administrator in Tom Gialanella who came aboard following the retirement of Dave Healy on December 31, 2020.
Board of Education meetings have often been somewhat contentious over the past 12 months as the 9 members debated who would lead the school district on a more permanent basis. I have purposely remained on the sidelines during this time but have made it known privately to some that the ideal candidate was right in front of them. The soon to be 47-year old Citta is homegrown, graduated from High School North and began his career as a substitute teacher and assistant football coach. Hired as a full-time teacher in 2000 his resume is proof that he checks all the boxes to take over this challenging position. Citta has served as an assistant principal, assistant superintendent, elementary school principal and for the last 4 ½ years principal at High School South. His leadership and popularity earned him the “Spirit of the Indian” award in 2020, the only time in the 130 year history of the school that an administrator was honored.
What the BOE finally got right was the need for Toms River to have one of their own lead the district. Citta and his family have deep roots in the community and you can be sure he will be a very visible leader. His wife works in the school district, his oldest son Michael recently graduated from High School South and his daughter Sophia is a freshman there. In other words he is invested in the future of the largest suburban school district in the state.
Genco and Gialanella brought stability over the past 13 months but Toms River needed to get this one right…they finally did.