by Toms River Schools
The Toms River Board of Education approved the appointment of Michael Citta, current principal of High School South, as superintendent of Toms River Regional Schools.
“I’ve had the privilege over the last 24 years, and my entire life, to work in this community with all these great people, in this great town,” said Citta during his opening remarks in acceptance of the position at a special board meeting Feb. 2.
Indeed, Citta has spent two dozen years working in the district. He also grew up within Toms River Schools, and speculated that he is “the first superintendent who can say he started this district in kindergarten.”
Prior to leading High School South, Citta served as principal of Hooper Avenue Elementary School. As a testament to his impact, many staff members from both schools packed the High School North auditorium in support of their former and current colleague.
“This has obviously been a longer process than we anticipated,” said Board President Jennifer Howe with regard to a superintendent search interrupted by a pandemic. “But great things come to those who wait, and we are confident that Mr. Citta, who has the respect and admiration of so many throughout this district and community, will do a fantastic job leading our schools in the years to come.”
Challenges surely await, as the pandemic continues in various forms, and the district confronts the ongoing effects of S2 and its reductions in state aid. But Citta is confident he is up for the challenge, and indicated a desire to turn the conversation in a positive direction.
“I’d much rather talk about solutions and opportunities for kids,” he said. “I promise not to let anyone down.”
It’s expected that Citta will begin his tenure effective May 1, relieving interim Superintendent Stephen Genco.
“In only a short amount of time here, I’ve grown to learn the challenges of navigating a school system this large, and I’ve come to know the outstanding people who make up this district,” said Genco. “Mike is one of those people, and I know everyone here is in good hands.”
After more than a calendar year without a permanent superintendent, in the context of an ongoing but hopefully waning pandemic, and within a newly-renovated HSN auditorium, the energy of Wednesday’s meeting and announcement was one of hope and optimism, with a family feel. It’s a high bar to maintain, but Citta seems up to the task.
“The bar is set high, and we set it,” he said.