TOMS RIVER, NJ – Being the guy in charge of the Toms River Regional School District in the aftermath of the Michael Rittaco scandal has been a difficult job for Superintendent Dave Healy. Healy came in on the heels of multiple interim superintendents and tried to right a ship that nearly sank and was barely staying afloat despite the well crafted public perception that the district was in its golden years during Ritacco’s reign.
Today, Healy announced he is retiring amid one a very tough time for educators and school districts across New Jersey. Healy has been in the crosshairs from all sides during his tenure, caught in the middle between teachers’ unions and school board members, many with political agendas driving their participation in the district. He was hired in 2014 to take the helm at Toms River Regional Schools and will be retiring effective Jan. 1, 2021.
“It has been my sincere pleasure and distinct honor to lead what I consider to be the finest school district within the most child-centered school community in the state of New Jersey,” Healy said. “I have immense pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish, gratitude for the relationships and friendships that will last beyond my retirement, and confidence that Toms River Regional Schools is better positioned to confront the many challenges facing public school districts in New Jersey.”
Oddly enough, many Toms River residents called for the return of Michael Ritacco who was recently released from prison for political corruption and tax evasion.
One person who is not calling for Ritacco’s return is former Beachwood board member Daniel Leonard. Leonard, a U.S. Army war veteran was never one to mince his words while on the board.
“Brutally honest Dave Healy and his team brought this district back from the brink of disaster and made hard decisions that were both effective and efficient while many bashed him for problems created by the years of neglect from Criminal Ritacco and his legion of “Yes Men” followers,” Leonard said. “This scumbag [Ritacco] raped and pillaged the district behind the scenes, but kissed your ass while he did it so you liked him? That’s what Politicians do. They lie, cheat and steal while underinformed partisan cheerleaders eat it up.”
Leonard also claimed the NJEA in Toms River was never behind Healy because he wouldn’t be intimidated by the union.
“The union leadership tried to destroy and disparage this man because he stood his ground and would not be intimidated,” Leonard said. “Much like President Trump, Dave’s ability to be a leader while taking years of unethical, illegal & unprovoked “incoming” should be commended. He never took his eye off the ball and our community should be proud of him.”
Leonard said he is thankful for the opportunity he had during his tenure on the board of education and to help Healy repair deep wounds that existed when he took over in 2014.
The Toms River Board of Education was notified of Healy’s decision Thursday morning.
“I must express my appreciation for the Toms River School Board and the members who have served throughout my tenure. They placed their trust and confidence in me and, throughout my time here, have provided the support necessary to achieve the many lofty goals we set for Toms River Schools.”