Waldwick July 22, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 7 Dr. Robert Penna, Waldwick’s superintendent of schools, recently announced that he will retire in June 2010. Penna is beginning his fourth year in the district, having begun work in May 2006. Asked about his impending retirement, he explained that he will turn 65 next year. “I would like to enjoy the rest of my life,” he noted Penna has been involved in education for over 40 years, and believes he has made a positive difference in his field. He noted that Waldwick has won several awards under his leadership, including recognition for the Pathways program and for Waldwick PLUS, an acronym for public library utilization by students. He also pointed to the praise Waldwick High School received during the recent Middle States evaluation, and the top scores the district received after the QSAC review. This year, Waldwick’s Traphagen School is being considered for the prestigious Blue Ribbon designation. “I’m very proud of the district,” he added. He said he would help the district search for his successor. “We don’t want anything lost in the transition,” he told Villadom TIMES last week. Penna said he plans to stay in the area, and will continue his work as an adjunct professor at Long Island University, where he has been working with students studying the field of special education for 11 years. In his leisure time, Penna plans to travel, and pursue his hobbies, which include antique cars and ghost hunting. Before joining the Waldwick school district, Penna was Guttenberg’s superintendent of schools. In 1967, he assumed a position as supervisor of education in Cliffside Park after he had been a grade 9-12 math teacher at Cliffside Park High School. In 1974, he became chairman of the English department and then assumed the position of supervisor in English and social studies K-12 for the Leonia school district in 1979. Four years later, Dr. Penna accepted the position of vice principal/athletic director in Leonia. In 1984, he became Leonia’s vice principal until he Superintendent announces plans to retire in 2010 accepted a job in 1986 as principal for the Bordentown Regional High School. Leonia asked Dr. Penna to return as that district’s principal the same year. East Orange hired Penna in 1990 as director of secondary education. In that post, he managed two high schools (one adult and the other alternative), three middle schools, and one junior high. In 1999, he became executive director of secondary education/assistant superintendent. He oversaw 12,000 students in 21 schools with a budget over $150 billion. With Penna at the helm, the district’s dropout rate decreased dramatically, and the district improved from Level 3 to Level 1 testing. Level 1 districts’ testing abilities meet the state’s requirements. Penna then joined Guttenberg as that district’s superintendent. In that capacity, Penna helped the district earn seven state awards in five years. Penna’s involvement in education has included work with the Advisory Committee for New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Pre-College Program for middle/high school students, the Advisory Committee for New Jersey Academy for Teaching Leadership, the Hudson County Curriculum Consortium, and the board of directors of Junior Achievement of New Jersey. In 2005, he was selected to the Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame as Educator of the Year in economics. Previously, Penna sat on the Magnet Schools of America’s Board. A noteworthy affiliation is his seat on the United Nation’s National Board of Directors for their Non-Governmental Organization. An accomplished author, Penna’s portfolio includes over 37 articles. Penna and his wife are long-time residents of Franklin Lakes. They have two daughters. This week, 11-year-old Riley Toolen of Waldwick will be participating in the Junior Olympics National Basketball Competition. Toolen was selected based on his performance in the U.S. Junior Olympic Committee’s regional basketball shooting competitions. He emerged victorious in both local events, earning an invitation to San Diego, California to compete for the national title. Toolen represents the East and is one of three boys in his age group competing for the championship. He will vie for the title with two other boys, one from the Midwest (Detroit) and one from the West (California). During the competition, informally known as “Hot Shot,” numbered circles are placed on the basketball court. Player shoot from the various circles, earning the number of points listed in that circle for each successful shot. The player who accumulates the most points in 45 seconds is the winner. The competition is being held at the Olympic Toolen to compete in national event Training facility just outside of San Diego. The U.S. Junior Olympic Committee is providing an all expenses paid trip for Toolen and a parent. His father, Jim, will join him on the trip. His mother, Maida, and his sisters Lauren and Emily will also attend the event. The Junior Olympic Committee will provide Riley with new basketball sneakers, shorts, and a shirt. The committee will host a welcoming reception dinner, a bay cruise boat ride, and a closing ceremony dinner at San Diego Zoo. Toolen loves basketball and plays on the Waldwick Travel Basketball team which is coached by his father. He is also a member of the soccer and baseball travel teams. Toolen plays the piano and has taken lessons since the age of five. 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