Schools say goodbye to athletic director after 38 years

Also: Students of the month get awards; HHS has 87 percent grad rate

The Board of Education officially said goodbye to longtime Athletic Director Mauro DeGennaro on Tuesday night.
DeGennaro will leave the district after 38 years at the end of the semester. DeGennaro has spent 28 years as the athletic director, leading the Redwings to multiple county and state titles along the way.
He began his career as a science teacher in 1973, and 10 years later became the athletic director.
DeGennaro said on Wednesday that he has no immediate plans, but wants to relax and enjoy his time with family and his new grandson.
“My favorite memory was my basketball coaching experience in 1990,” he said reflecting on his time spent at Hoboken High School. “We won a state championship in boys’ basketball, and I was the athletic director at the time.”

“You have taken Redwing pride and the Redwing banner to the highest level.” – Carmelo Garcia
He said that although the enrollment has dropped in Hoboken over the years, the Redwings “continued playing the biggest schools because of the talent pool we have here; everybody knows we’re successful.”
DeGennaro said he couldn’t put a number on how many times a team in his department has won a county or state championship, but said the number is probably around 30.
“Although they’re nice and great for the kids and the community, my job was to make sure the kids participated in the sports,” he said. “But when the championships came, it was nice to have them.”
“You have taken Redwing pride and the Redwing banner to the highest level,” said board member Carmelo Garcia at the meeting.
He even received a compliment on his fashion sense from board member Frances Rhodes-Kearns, who called him “the best dressed [director] in the district and in Hudson County.”
The new athletic director will be Martin Shannon, who will be paid approximately $70,000 per year.
The board also said goodbye to Robert Davis, who will remain as an employee in the district as the business superintendent, but will no longer be the board secretary at meetings.
“I want to thank all of the current and past members of the board for the support you have given,” Davis said.
Board member Leon Gold said that when Davis took over as the board secretary in the mid-2000s, the school board was about to be taken over by the state.
“Mr. Davis saved us from that,” Gold said. “Mr. Davis cleaned up our act and now we’re in good shape.”
Theresa Minutillo, another board member, thanked him for running an “efficient” program.
Davis said the district is beginning the process of working on the 2012-2013 school budget, and the board will be a part of the discussion in late January.
Last year, the district had the lowest possible tax levy allowed by state law, meaning it would be nearly impossible to lower taxes further this year.
When board member Maureen Sullivan asked about the potential for a tax decrease, Davis said that it would require a state statutory change that would affect over 200 districts, so it’s unlikely.

Graduation rates released from last year

Superintendent Mark Toback said as part of his monthly report that of the 125 students who graduated from Hoboken High School in June, 67 students went on to a four-year college. The class had an 87 percent graduation rate, he said. Forty-nine students attended a two-year college, and no students went immediately to the military. The remaining students were either undecided or entered the work force, according to Toback.
Toback said that for many students, a two-year college has a great educational and financial benefit.
“That two year college experience often turns into a four year college experience,” Toback said.

October students of the month announced

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Miguel Hernandez revealed the October students of the month at the meeting.
Eashan Patel was named the student of the month from Calabro School; Marissa Hernandez was honored from Connors School; Kianna Santiago received recognition from Wallace School; and Jennifer Tu was the student of the month from Hoboken High School.

Other business

Local community activist Patricia Waiters was conditionally approved to the district’s Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC), which is a collection of parents and community representatives who participate in the assessment of needs and resources in pre-school education. Waiters received a unanimous vote. The positions are not paid.
Before the vote, resident Anthony Oland, who said he wrote the bylaws of the ECAC, said the co-chairs of the council should have been notified of the appointment, but were not. The board attorney said the appointment would be modified, and Waiters’ spot on the council will be finalized only if a review process shows the district followed the correct steps.
Ray Smith may be reached at

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