Welcoming new Pascack Valley District Superintendent: Sarah Bilotti

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Olivia Jackson

Sarah Bilotti, left, is the incoming PVRHSD superintendent.

Emily Moy, Staff Editor

Although Sarah Bilotti was not originally an education major, she always felt “inclined” towards working in education since both of her parents are teachers.

Bilotti, the incoming Pascack Valley Regional District superintendent, grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, and was initially an anthropology major at Penn State, as she was interested in studying human culture. She thought she would be a college professor or an anthropologist. However, her path changed when she was given the opportunity to work as a teacher’s assistant in an autistic support classroom the summer after her freshman year of college.

“They needed someone to go in the pool with the kids every day because the teachers didn’t want to,” Bilotti said. “I [got to go] swimming with kids every day…I just fell in love with [the concept of teaching]. I really enjoyed working with the students…And I went back to school that fall and became a special education major.”

Bilotti attended Lehigh University for her first master’s degree. Afterwards, she attended Concordia University, and she is currently finishing her doctoral studies at Drexel University.

After school, Bilotti became a K-8 special education teacher. She later served in the Greenwich Township School district as an elementary school principal and then a middle school principal. She then decided that she wanted a change of pace and started working in a high school district.

“The regional high schools are my favorite to work with,” Bilotti said. “The excitement of athletics and activities at the high school level is unparalleled.”

Bilotti served as a central office administrator at the Watchung Hills Regional School District for three years. Afterwards, she became the superintendent of the North Warren Regional School District, where she has been for the past seven years. She is also currently an adjunct professor at Centenary University, teaching at the graduate school of education.

One project Bilotti is proud that she helped to implement in North Warren is called Portrait of a Patriot, named after the North Warren mascot. According to Bilotti, the program is designed to help students develop different skills and character traits that will help them be successful in the future. 

“It’s just been so great to hear students talk about what values and skills they find to be the most compelling for graduates to have,” Bilotti said.

Bilotti has also helped to implement a common lunch in the North Warren district, and according to Jeanene Dutt, the principal of the North Warren Regional School District, she has also “[made it so] the building and the climate of the building [feels] more like a college campus environment. She [changed it so that we] have a more open friendly climate here for our students.”

“A lot of things that we’ve changed have been me or my team going to her saying, ‘hey, we’d really like to try this,” Dutt said. “She was always supportive and she would support and help us when needed, but for the most part, we had a lot of autonomy. It always goes back to what’s best for our kids.”

According to Dutt, Bilotti also knows how to stay calm during times of stress.

“No crisis can can elevate her,” Dutt said. “She’s very calm. She’s very even keeled. She’s very nonreactive, so she plans for the future. There’s always a real calmness about her and she works with students in the exact same capacity that she works with board members, teachers, [and] community members.”

Bilotti currently lives in Pennsylvania, and she is excited to relocate to be closer to the PV district. In her free time, she loves spending time with her three cats, going on trips with her nieces, and enjoying her favorite food—mac and cheese.

“I actually run an organized [contest] called s’Mac Down, which is a [vegan] mac and cheese festival in the Lehigh Valley,” Bilotti said. “We haven’t run it in the past few years because of COVID. But [it’s] annual contest [where] restaurants compete for the title of best mac and cheese in the area, which is very fun.”

In preparing to step into her role as the PV district superintendent, Bilotti has been meeting with the current interim superintendent, Daniel Fishbein, the board of education, and many of the district administrators. 

“When I first met with the [district] board of education, I felt like they were so supportive of the school. I wanted to work with them. And then when I began to meet with all of [the] administrators and got to know more about the community, I think that we could just see a good fit,” Bilotti said.

In September, Bilotti hopes to meet more students and student groups. 

“I try to make sure that students have the [high school] experiences that they want,” Bilotti said. “Just because I didn’t play a sport in high school doesn’t mean I don’t support certain sports. I love going to games. I just really like going out and supporting our students. I do really enjoy being able to be a spectator at all the different activities that are offered at high schools, and I can’t wait to do that [in the Pascack Valley district].”

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Emily Moy