Puccio approved to become next principal


Matt Austin

The Board of Education approved John Puccio as Pascack Valley’s next principal during Monday night’s BOE meeting in Pascack Valley’s cafeteria and virtually on Zoom. The BOE also discussed the ongoing process in implementing an eighth period in the school’s schedule.

Isabella Zuluaga and Abby Shapiro

At the recommendation of district Superintendent Erik Gundersen, the Board of Education approved John Puccio to be the next principal of Pascack Valley High School during its Monday night BOE meeting held in PV’s cafeteria and virtually on Zoom. Puccio’s principal term will begin on July 1, 2021. 

“[Puccio] cares about what students are going through, and just like all the rest of us, he’s not a perfect administrator but is constantly reflecting and determining what he can do – just as we all do – to get better, year after year,” Gundersen said.

Gundersen noted that he is thrilled to have experienced what Puccio has been able to do this year. He believes that Puccio being principal will bring about a “great future for [PV].”

During the board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Barry Bachenheimer presented to the BOE the ongoing process of implementing an eighth period at PV that will first be offered to upperclassmen and then, if possible, to the lowerclassmen. Bachenheimer further stated that more data will be presented to the board in the upcoming weeks with the expected support from the board to proceed.

“I’m behind [the eighth period], you know, anything that gives students the flexibility and more choices and options for them,” BOE member James Stankus said. “It is really enriching the curriculum to go this extra level here, where they can take electives and really get a good handle on what they might desire maybe in a career or maybe in college later.”

According to Bachenheimer, the main struggle of only having seven classes was that students “weren’t able to take advantage of extra courses if they wanted to.”

“Two classes that stood out [in the survey by students] were the financial literacy course and the ceramics college course,” Puccio said. “[The eighth period] will help give [students] that opportunity to gain interest in something that they wouldn’t be able to take if we had a normal five or seven-period day.”

The BOE discussed future board member interviews for the recently vacated spot following the resignation of former BOE member Janet Bissinger. 

According to BOE President Tammy Molinelli, three people have already applied. Molinelli also clarified that the agenda and questions will be shared by tomorrow and they will have all the resumes by Thursday morning.

“We have a hearing beforehand which will be in a closed executive session and then we will start the interviews that will be scheduled,” Gundersen said. “After the board conducts all the interviews, we [will] go into closed session to deliberate, and then [we will] come out and vote.”

Board member Kelly Blundy presented the Health, Wellness, and Safety Committee Report covering the district wellness program, the effects of COVID-19 on students, and updates on the school safety protocols.

There’s a focus on family mental health for those doing remote [learning] – so just support for the families of the students who are 100% remote,” Blundy said. “Working on re-engaging students as they return or gradually return to school is definitely going to be a big topic.”

During the BOE meeting, Stankus presented the Curriculum and Instruction, and the Technology Committee Report, which covered the AP placement testing policy, the possible eighth-period implementation, and the district’s SAT preparation class.

“I want to give credit to the administration and the superintendent for always watching out for the safety of our students [while], at the same time, being proactive in trying to get the students in class and taking these tests,” Stankus said.