Suspended West Orange Superintendent Reportedly Seeking Job Elsewhere

The Greenburgh Daily Voice names Anthony Cavanna as a finalist for a superintendent position in New York.


Months before the West Orange Board of Education , Cavanna was seeking another superintendent job in New York. 

Cavanna was named as one of the finalists for the superintendent position in the Greenburgh Central 7 School District in New York on April 26, 2012, according to the Greenburgh Daily Voice.

“This is the job that I have been preparing for,” Cavanna said, according to the same artice in the Greenburgh Daily Voice. Cavanna added that he intended to stay superintendent for “10, 12, 15, years – whatever it takes to get the job done.” 

Cavanna was not available for comment on Friday. 

West Orange Board President Laura Lab could also not be reached for comment.

The superintendent position for the Greenburgh Central 7 School District was later filled by another candidate in June, according to another article in the Greenburgh Daily Voice

Cavanna had also sought the superintendent position in Greenburgh in 2007, but ultimately did not get the job. 

No one at the Greenburgh Central 7 School District could be reached for comment on Friday about Cavanna seeking the superintendent position there. 

Cavanna currently lives in Greenburgh, N.Y.

The West Orange BOE has not revealed any more information why it placed Cavanna on paid leave or why the board declined to renew his contract after it expires in June 2013.  

During Cavanna’s leave of absence, Assistance Superintendent Donna Rando will serve the superintendent. 

Cavanna was appointed as superintendent of the West Orange School District in 2009. Before coming to West Orange, Cavanna worked in schools in New Jersey and New York as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and deputy superintendent of schools.

Jim July 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Not to pile on Adam but in his case a seemingly well-educated man with impeccable credentials who still bought way more house than he can afford and is lucky to string a series of coherent thoughts together. And yet, here you are sir. Here you are.
Jim July 21, 2012 at 05:37 PM
As someone who actually studied education I am always surprised at how little you really understand about it.
Gary Englert July 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Twice failed political candidate and unsuccessful former gym owner john anthony prignano continues to critique the lives and careers of others while having no demonstrable accomplishments of his own. I appear to be one of his regular obsessions and subject of his incessant attacks. As with most everything else, he is quite incorrect concerning both my lack of job qualifications for the government positions I held and that my performance was anything less than laudable. Documents putting the lie to both his contentions can be found through these links: DVS Job Posting - https://acrobat.com/#d=*K5A3i65j0Xjl-pcZZ66yw Military Decorations - https://acrobat.com/#d=fn-h3X08VTmvEWW2hXtYsA Valorous Unit Award - https://acrobat.com/#d=4Ap4mBNGbhXzIB5VSblR5Q Letter of Reference - https://acrobat.com/#d=HJ6TmY7AL4A21Mi6ZOwbJQ So long as The Patch persist in allowing defamatory personal attacks to be posted and to remain on this site, those of us who are the subject of them will have little choice than to defend ourselves.
Adam Kraemer July 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM
I would argue that market forces can make education work better. The rich choose in education via a market: they pay tuition at non public schools or move to communities with high taxes and high property values to obtain good public schools. Universities pay top dollar to get big name professors. Why not try using some market forces on public education to get better results at a fair price to taxpayers? Top managers in a organization like the West Orange Public school with about $140,000,000.00 budget about 7,000 students and about 1,000 employees should be compensated based on performance.
Gary Englert July 22, 2012 at 01:18 AM
@ Adam Kraemer: A single school district in these United States, opting to create a performance based compensation package toward attracting its next Superintendent of Schools, will have absolutely no effect on the market concerning the profession and it is analagous to urinating into a hurricane. The rich are different from you and me, Adam, and so are the communities in which they live, as are the cummmulative test scores in the public schools therein and to which they send their children. It isn't the schools, teachers, curriculum or their management that are solely responsible for those scores; it's primarily that their students are the children of privilege and all the advantages that go with it. Further, our school budget is closer to $130 Million than 140 and the number of employees is closer to 700 than 1,000. If this is the kind of "innovation" and basic knowledge you are bringing to the table, your candidacy for the Board of Education is rightfully doomed.
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 01:56 AM
West Orange High School provides the equivalent of 14 days less yearly instructional time than the State average. Recently, Dr. Cavanna announce the addition of not one but two field days to the schedule . There will also be fitness testing, and a representative from the food vendor service West Orange employs will come in to the classes and speak to the children about healthy eating choices.Multiculturalism education , Anti- Bullying and Tolerance programs , a Character Curriculum, the D.A.R.E. program, the S.A.L.E.s program, co- ed gym classes, music, art , Health and Sex education, World languages, library, computer science , several days of standardized testing, Black History , New Jersey Social Studies,an Arbor day program, an Autism Awareness program , breast cancer awareness, Career Day, recycling and environmental education , a Turkey Trot, scoliosis screenings and health exams,field trips,fire drills and on and on and on . The response to all this by the people who care deeply about the children , you know , the people who come early and stay late and who work through the weekends ,is to have several scheduled early dismissals, in- service work shops ,at least one mandated free period a day , and no attempt is made to make up hours lost because of bad weather . Now give a teacher with poor or mediocre attendance a student teacher . Why do they have the children on an academic starvation diet? Is it laziness, apathy , elitism ? Moonlighting is an epidemic.Note the
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 02:15 AM
political activism of Public School Educrats . County Executive Joe D once held four jobs at the same time . This is one important reason why so many children "need " enrichment courses , summer school, private tutoring , Basic Skills teachers and Resource Room teachers, who of course need non- supervisory coordinators, consultants, Department Chairmen , etc.etc. . Public School failure is big business, BIG business. Thoughts ?
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Adam , The latest number of West Orange Board of Education employees is 1,101 . So the number IS closer to 1,000 than 700. Also, The Township is bonding for West Orange School construction projects, { inter- local agreement } AND the P.T.A. seems to be a fund raising juggernaut . They just donated $24,000 worth of White Boards to the Redwood School. And when I say a fund raising juggernaut, ,consider that an individual is accused of stealing over a period of time the staggering sum of $100,000 from ONE school's P.T.A. fund ?? I would say $140,000,000 is a very good estimate.
Adam Kraemer July 22, 2012 at 01:04 PM
@ Gary - The last line on the 2012-2013 West Oragne School budget is $139,503,106.00 or about $140,000,000.00. When you count non union employees, unionized employees part timers and pro-rate the part staft it is about 1,000 employees. I think West Orange should lead the state and nation in educaitonal policy and its implimentation. In my view part of the process of taking that lead in educational policy is changing the formula and payment asumptions for those who lead our schools. As for wealth: Yes wealth can help in life and help with obtaining educaitional oportunities. However, wealth diferences of students families does not excuse poor performance by schools or give them a pass on being measured for educaitonal outcomes. While we have many good things going on in the West Oragne publics schools some aspet of our school need improvement. As for the school board election: If the people of West Orange want some one who can think out of the box and bring new ideas on educaion to the table I will most likely win. If the voters of West Orange want things to stay as is I will most likely loose. We shall se in November.
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Adam FINALLY a Superintendent of an urban school district explained the reality of how socio- economics relates to student performance . The topic was a longer school day and year , He said that student performance IS related to economic status . However ,it is not that economically disadvantaged students do not have the ability to achieve comparable results to their more affluent peers He said that because the students have been placed on an academic starvation diet, money is absolutely needed to pay for so - called Enrichment Courses, private or semi - private tutoring classes ,"extra" help, Curriculum Camps and the like.The amount of social engineering that goes on in urban districts is even greater than what goes on in suburban districts .It was sad to hear a student at a low achieving Newark High School respond to the question " What can be done to improve test scores ?" She replied " They don't give us enough time . We need more classroom time " Maybe, just maybe, things might improve if the Principal wasn't also a Newark Councilman . Further, a noted educator said "If you want to see urban schools improve over night , just make the teachers put their own kids in those schools. You would see security and education like you wouldn't believe " Currently the vast majority of Newark teachers I know don't live in Newark, and many of them moonlight ,taking the jobs of the student's parents and the students themselves Quote; " The greatest classroom resource is time "
Gary Englert July 22, 2012 at 06:28 PM
@ Adam Kramer: I stand corrected as your gross figure for the most recent budget is accurate. My focus has always been (as are most) on what is raised through the local property tax levy and not inclusive of federal and state aid. Insofar as personnel are concerned, the district employs 36 people classified as administrators and 670 who are teachers or 706 professional staff; again, where I place my personal focus. While teachers aides, secreterial/clericals, custodial and maintenance workers undoubtedly add to the payroll, I'd be surprised (though not alarmed) if there were 300 of them in total...but, your gross figure may well be accurate. Next, while thinking out of the box is a quality I admire and the result often laudable, we are best served by keeping our thinking within the known universe...unless the object of the exercise is to explore beyond its borders. I do not think that hiring competent personnel falls into that category and that attempting to change the paradigm would be at the school system's peril: the risk is too great and the economic benefit too small. Lastly, bar none, nothing but nothing is a greater predictor of a student's academic success than their personal socio-conomic status and no amount of administrative or instructional intervention is going to change that. This is worth repeating: http://blog.nj.com/njv_kathleen_obrien/2012/05/where_your_high_school_ranks_-.html
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Adam , We must always reject the excuse makers, the people who say they care but never demonstrate it, the defeatists who flee in terror from challenges and competition, and the rabid defenders of the status quo , who offer only hopelessness and despair in their mantra " If you don't have a buck, you're outta luck " They are stating that the many billions being poured into poor districts is utterly wasted on the children There doesn't appear to be much chance of improving test scores when more and more and still more non- core curriculum mandates are being taught in less and less time . " Nothing great was ever achieved without effort . " If, as the educrats say, they " Come early and stay late, and often work through the weekends" what would be the problem with putting these hours in the contract ?
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 09:01 PM
On two occasions I have spoken to Teacher Union Reps . In the course of the conversations , I asked " Do you see any advantages over the private sector in having things like tenure, Summer's off, 30 or 40 fewer work days, shorter work days and the like ? " Both times their response was the same ; ' No, a job is a job " So I said ' So there would be no problem in eliminating all those things, right ? " That remark abruptly terminated both conversations .As Noel Coward said to the cast after an especially uninspired performance of one of his plays :" I guess it was a case of never mind over doesn't matter " Let us continue to prepare students for "The high - tech, hyper - competitive , global economy " with a schedule that doesn't even meet the needs of an Agrarian society. .As Shakespeare said ; " Words are but the shadows of action "
Gary Englert July 22, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Et tu Brute?
Gary Englert July 22, 2012 at 09:28 PM
First and foremost, one must understand precisely what the problem is, and neither overstate it nor minimize it. All the instructional time in the world won't do a damned thing to give anyone an aptitude or intellectual capacity they aren't born with. Whatever anyone's criticisms of the educational system might be, the fact still remains that we continue to produce an never ending stream og highly educated and accomplished people in every discipline known to man. All of which begs the question: If the system is so horrible, and its critics so adamant, why pray tell are they not working from within to effect the change they see as so necessary?
john anthony prignano July 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM
The West Orange High School site lists a total of 213 educrats . Of that number , 35 teach no classes, 3 teach 1 class and 1 teaches 2 classes . So eighteen and a half percent of the staff teaches a total of 5 classes . Like the spending per pupil figures , the student to teacher ratios , teacher attendance figures , Iowa test results, and instructional time figures, all of which were or are fraudulent , the educrats and their syncophants wage yet another battle of semantics . Non Supervisory Coordinators, In School Suspension Officers, Substance Abuse Coordinators, Guidance Counselors , Special Educaton Consultants, Department Chairpersons, etc.etc. ,all are categorized as teachers , yet none of them teach . Hence, the nationwide "teacher shortage " The State mandates Guidance be provided for all grade levels , but it doesn't mandate a student to Guidance Counselor ratio, and it doesn't mandate that Guidance Counselors be members of the Teacher's Union . Like the 9 salary steps , the salaries themselves,the longevity pay, the extremely expensive benefits package, the early dismissals, 14 days less than the yearly State average of High School instructional time, etc.etc. the School Board does these things because they CHOOSE TO . They honor the only true mandate of the Public School ;: Take care of your friends ! Did you always want to be employed as a professional by the Public Schools , but you hate kids and don't want to teach ? Hey , be a teacher !
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 02:55 PM
The suggestion that the typical unpaid Board member who volunteers to do a truly thankless job does so for the sole reason of padding the payroll with friends or relatives is nothing short of male bovine manure. I'd also challenge anyone making such a specious allegation to prove it. Further, the suggestion that teachers "hate kids" and join the profession not to teach is simply the height of absurdity. I would also challenge any poster critiquing the educational establishment so harshly to provide the personal credentials (academic or otherwise) that would suggest he/she has the requisite expertise and knowledge to do so.
john anthony prignano July 23, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Nick Salese is employed by the Township at a base salary of over $104,000. Nicolina Salese works for the WO Board of Education at a base salary of $55,928. Nicola D. Salese works for the WO Board at a base salary of $29,480. When William Paterson Professor William Willis ran for the School Board , he said he would take a hard look at all spending,... " but the teachers HAVE to be paid "After he was elected he literally fought for higher starting salaries. After achieving his goal., he boasted " We were determined to get those starting salaries up there " ?? Generous teacher Pat Urso sat on the Board. Patti Stansfield now teaches in another district. Nick Galante's mother - in -law worked for the Board. Dentist Andrew Brafman did not recuse himself from negotiating the teacher's dental plan . I hope they have demonstrably expressed their gratitude to him . When the sham search for a Superintendent concluded and Jerry Tarnoff was selected, Board Member Alice Skeffington said " Jerry was always our guy " The fences in O' Conner Park say "Lemma Fencing" . That's Michele Casalino's maiden name . I'm sure that " Lemma Fencing " is her brother . It's been stated that Laura Lab's son has a job with the Board .Since I wasn't in in the " take care of your friends " category, she turned her back on my Autistic son EPIDEMIC levels of nepotism and cronyism - Gary Englert has no qualifications to sit on the Accreditation Board. Is it any wonder why thing are so screwed up ?
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Clearly, Mr. Prignano doesn't know the first thing about the difference between rumor, innuendo, accusation, fact or actionable proof...as his post is rife with the first three and completely lacking in the last two. First and foremost, just because a Board member is a medical professional does not suggest he would possibly need to recuse himself from negotiations concerning an employee benefits package and, in fact, his expertise might well be invaluable to such negotiations. The question (concerning recusal) would be: Is there a conflict of interest insofar as the Board member reaping any direct benefit from the decisions made in the matter at hand? The answer is clearly, no, he would not...as even if a covered district employee wound up in his dental chair, how it might be paid for has no bearing on his compensation for the work performed; the patient has some level of insurance coverage or he/she does not. It is just such disjointed thinking that pervades Mr. Prignano's posts and, again, his questioning my credentials continues to be a part of them. While refuting (above, and without reply) his suggestion I was unqualifed for and ineffective in the government positions I held, he now proclaims I'm unworthy of serving as Community Member on the Accreditation for Gowth Committee, at WOHS, which monitors its ongoing accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. (To be continued...)
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
My qualifications are as follows: ~ I am a 51 year resident of the community and graduated from WOHS in 1969. ~ I hold an undergraduate degree (Business Administration) from Upsala College and have done graduate work (Management) at Rutgers University. ~ I am a highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran and long-time veteran advocate with a state-wide reputation as such. ~ I was an active and involved member of the PTA while my children matriculated in the system. ~ I have administered two annual scholarships, awarded at WOHS, for the last dozen years. ~ I have held executive management positions (in the private sector and in goverrnment) for over 40 years. ~ I was invited to serve on the Accreditation for Growth Committee and have done so for the last 8 years. If Mr. Prignano would like to question any or all of this, I would suggest he first present his own resume for scrutiny. Insofar as his Autistic son is concerned, I am more than confident that he received the full measure of services that were required while enrolled in the school system. The fact that Mr. Prignano has few friends (and the reason why) is obviated by the combativeness of his posts and how he comports himself in public.
john anthony prignano July 23, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Gary Englert has been/is unqualified for all his PURELY POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS . He is an Aide to John Mckeon . He is so hopelessly, head over heels biased about his dear friend and benefactor , it is inconceivable that he could be even remotely objective in discharging his duties as an Aide. He receives taxpayer dollars, yet they receive zero representation . To the contrary, his sole purpose is to defend and elevate, indeed, to deify, John Mckeon . The money he receives is not " merely " wasted, it pays to provide a deleterious effect on Mckeon's constituents . Sir John Harington; " Treason doth never prosper,what's the reason ? Why. when it prosper, none dare call it treason ." I shall conclude my latest expose with two quotes from the inimitable Bard of Avon ; "Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth oerwhelm them to men's eyes " And "So full of artless jealousy is guilt, it spills itself in fearing to be spilt " Finis
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 07:40 PM
And yet again, Mr. Prignano rambles on incoherently and without basis in fact. While I continue to serve as a Legislative Aide to Assemblyman McKeon, it is an upaid position as even the modest stipend I received (which didn't even cover my out of pocket expenses) has been terminated due to budgetary constraints. That said, I was qualified for every positon I ever held, none of which were "PURELY POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS," as the ill-informed Mr. Prignano would have you believe. Appointments of that type are neither publicly advertised (with applicants requested to apply), as was my state position, nor are they subject to civil service rules and regulations, as was the position I held with the Township.
Tabalas July 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Oh no guys...You need to grow up. How can two distingiush men carry on like gangsters? You are trying to defend a territory that does not exists. John and Gary, you need to stop this now! Please consider your legacy. I dont understand why grown men see the need not to humble themselves. Are you trying to see who make the worse punch? "Speak when you are angry, you make the best speech that you will live to regret".
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Tabalas: Please be so kind to note that it is me who is the subject of Mr. Prignano's incessant personal attacks and I am perfectly within my rights to defend myself. It is also he who goes completely off point, regardless of topic, wherever and whenever he posts. I am quite content to be humble and let my legacy speak for itself, so long as some miscreant isn't so hell bent on proclaiming it doesn't exist and demeaning myself and others. Kindly point your criticism in the right direction. "Lies unchallenged can become the accepted truth." ~ Joseph Goebbels
john anthony prignano July 23, 2012 at 09:07 PM
TABALAS First, watch your grammar and syntax ! Secondly,nice try . Englert clearly admits that he gets his positions which are" neither publicly advertised " C... C... Competition !! NOOOOO!, " nor are they subject to Civil Service rules and regulations , as was the position I held with the Township " i.e. PURELY POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS sans competition , sans advertising, sans Civil Service rules and regulations etc. Tabalas, you know I speak out on any situation of waste and cronyism and nepotism and profit - making liars and taxpayer ripoffs I am made aware of. But right now, I want to bring attention to the very dire situation of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan . Almost half are disabled. Many of these great men and women have multiple disabilities . The unemployment rate among these veterans is in the stratosphere. Most of the jobs they do find are in either retail or Government Service . In New Jersey, what else is there ? In the classic Arthur Miller play "Death of a Salesman" Main protagonist Willie Loman's wife says, " Attention ! Attention must finally be paid to such a man !...... " Attention ! Attention MUST be paid to these great men and women !
Gary Englert July 23, 2012 at 09:26 PM
john anthony prignano: Work on your reading comprehension skills, Sparky, as I'll repeat what I wrote: "That said, I was qualified for every positon I ever held, none of which were "PURELY POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS," as the ill-informed Mr. Prignano would have you believe. Appointments of that type {referring to the aforementioned ""PURELY POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS"} are neither publicly advertised (with applicants requested to apply), as was my state position, nor are they subject to civil service rules and regulations, as was the position I held with the Township." Rather than "speaking out" what you do is rant and, absent any evidence to the contrary, haven't accomplished a damned thing or made any contribution for the greater good. Insofar as veteran advocacy is concerned, it's something I'm involved in every day of my life...and I'm surely far better versed on the subject than someone, like yourself, who never served a day in uniform.
tabalas July 24, 2012 at 03:24 AM
John, I see you cannot help yourself. Who cares about grammar. You are acting like an old lady right now. Stop your bashing of this gentleman, why are you so adamant in trying to discredit him?
tabalas July 24, 2012 at 03:25 AM
By the way this town will not vote for any angry person. You are definitely angry.
Sue Freivald July 26, 2012 at 04:28 AM
Webcast of Cavanna's Meet and Greet in Greenburgh, NY http://www.greenburgh7.com/resources/board-of-education/superintendent-search His job history hits WO about 11 minutes in. He says when he got to West Orange "students come into the school system, and stay in the school system, sometimes leave after elementary school, sometimes leave after middle school, and don't get to the high school. So when I went to PTA meetings, parents were apprehensive about sending their children to the high school, so that was one of the first things that I focused on when I got to West Orange.[ ]That has resulted in more students choosing our high school and middle schools than ever had in the past." But when Cavanna was appointed in 2009 his main challenge was an INFLUX from private schools due to the economy. http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2009/06/west_orange_hires_new_schools.html "According to Tarnoff, one of the biggest issues Cavanna will face in West Orange is a large influx of students. This year the district received 100 new students from private schools. "Students are coming over because of the economy," Tarnoff said. "It will be a challenge for him to maintain reasonable class sizes, but he is bringing a lot of experience to the table." Cavanna said he has a lot to learn before he comes up with a comprehensive plan to address the influx.." Makes one wonder about the rest of the history he relates, and what he told WOBOE when interviewing here...
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