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Principal Raymond Rotella Retires After 34 Years Serving Community

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Lulu Mubarak '20
23 October 2019

Principal Raymond Rotella has retired from his position at Passaic Valley High School as of October 1st. Mr. Rotella, known for his kindness and sense of humor, was a special man to many in the PV community and will be missed by all. From left to right:  Mr. Ray Rotella, Mr. Colin Monahan, & Mr. Joe Benvenuti; photo credit: Rae Allex

Mr. Rotella began his career as a police officer before making the unlikely transition to principal after 25 years. While on the Little Falls police force, Mr. Rotella worked security detail at the school for 21 years and as the School Resource Officer for another four years. During that time, he returned to school for his certification in Administration and Supervision. When he retired from the police department, Mr. Rotella was hired as a vice principal at West Essex High School and worked there for two years until the Passaic Valley principal position became available. He believed his unique position gave him the advantage of seeing things through two perspectives: that of a police officer and as an educator.

Mr. Rotella decided to transition from police officer to principal, because he loved the interactions he had with staff and students at PV. "I will always remember being in awe of what some students were able to accomplish," said Mr. Rotella. "It was always inspiring to deal with students who were driven, ambitious, and had schedules much more difficult than mine. It was always rewarding to see them take full advantage of what the school had to offer." Furthermore, he had previous experience with teaching as an instructor at the police academy. In fact, Mr. Rotella doesn't really view his experience as a "transition" at all. 

After working in the community for a combined 34 years, Mr. Rotella certainly got along with his colleagues. "He's always been funny, friendly, and fair. I will miss his jokes during faculty meetings," English teacher Mr. Thomas Schwab said. "His leadership helped forge a lasting legacy here at this school."From right to left:  Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, Mr. Ray Rotella, & Mr. Colin Monahan; photo credit: Rae Allex

Mrs. Sliker, Mr. Rotella's secretary, characterizes working with him as a great experience. "He was such a kind, caring man. He was a great leader for the school, always looking to improve the school," said Mrs. Sliker. "The friendship we created will truly be missed." She also said she will miss Mr. Rotella's uncanny ability to prepare the perfect joke for any crowd he was engaging with.

Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Cardillo also had a lot of nice things to say about our former principal. "I will miss his calm presence, he never lost his cool," she said. "I wish Mr. Rotella many blessings and he knows as educators we touch children's future. He should be proud of his work."

Mr. Rotella says an important lesson he learned being principal was that you need to have effective management skills, tolerance, and the ability to think rationally in any situation (no matter how serious or trivial). Just as all Hornets will miss Mr. Rotella, the feeling is certainly reciprocated. "[I will miss] the relationships I established with my fellow administrators and staff members. Dealing with problems in a school can be very challenging and you need support from people around you to both commiserate and share humorous anecdotes as a coping mechanism, so you don't lose your mind," Mr. Rotella said. "I was always good at the latter."

After so many years of service to the community, Mr. Rotella looks forward to slowing things down a bit at home. "Now I plan on spending time with the family, doing some maintenance projects around the house, walking the dog and waiting for the wife to retire," he said.