The West Orange Board of Education has chosen James O’Neill -- a former superintendent in both Roxbury and Chatham schools -- to replace Superintendent Anthony Cavanna.
O’Neill will serve as interim superintendent for West Orange schools until June 2013, the board announced at its meeting Tuesday night.
“Even though I have spent the bulk of my career elsewhere,” said O’Neill after being appointed by the board on Tuesday, “my style is to become fully immersed, and to be an advocate and integral part of what happens ... in West Orange. It is not my style to do things halfway.
“I ask people not to make any judgments prior to seeing what actually happens and what takes place .... I won’t make any judgments about anyone else and we’ll start on an even foot.”
Board President Laura Lab said the board had looked over an unspecified number of candidates for the interim superintendent position before the board decided on O’Neill.
“We [the board] unanimously approved of Mr. O’Neill after our round of interviews,” said Lab. “We are very excited about Mr. O’Neill coming to the district.”
O’Neill’s selection must still be approved by Morris Executive County Superintendent Kathleen Serafino, however, O’Neill is scheduled to start as superintendent in the district on Thursday. He will earn $673.07 a day.
The appointment comes on the heels of the board placing Cavanna on paid-administrative leave in July. The board has remained tight-lipped and has released little information about its decision to remove Cavanna.
Cavanna is nonetheless still receiving his full salary, according to the board’s labor counsel attorney Philip Stern. Cavanna earns about $220,000 a year, and his four-year contract expires in June 2013.
O’Neill’s has held various administrative roles during his career, including principal and superintendent. He served as principal of Chatham High School from 1996 to 2003, and then served as superintendent of Chatham School District from 2003 to 2011.
In addition, he most recently served as the interim superintendent of Roxbury School District last year.