For the final time Wednesday, June 26, interim Superintendent of Schools Barry Galasso sat at the center of the table for the monthly board of education meeting for Voorhees Township Public Schools, helping assist what he says is a phenomenal educational district.
For the past six months, Galasso has served as the interim superintendent following the retirement of Raymond Brosel on the final day of 2018, who had been with the district for 41 years. Galasso was chosen to come in and fill the temporary position while the board searched for a full-time replacement.
Despite having served Voorhees Township Public Schools for only a short period of time, Galasso was already well known by many in the district.
Having first served as a principal at Berlin Community School in 1976, he later became superintendent there in 1983. After moving over to Winslow Township for eight years, Galasso later took over as Eastern Regional High School superintendent for 12 years, while also filling in at Gibbsboro for one year as an interim superintendent while the board worked with training someone for the permanent position.
Over the past 43 years, Galasso has been all over the regional school district, having worked with all of the boards of education in some capacity after now completing his most recent stay with Voorhees Township Public Schools.
“This entire regional school district, because of the quality of the leadership and its stability, I believe affords kids a tremendous opportunity to grow and to be successful,” said Galasso. “If you look at the graduates of Eastern Regional over the past 50 years, the prestigious schools that they attend is due to good leadership and the terrific boards of education that help run them.”
Having worked with each of the districts over time and working closely with each school district’s board of education, he says he appreciates the focus all have kept on students and their education, during at least his time in working with the boards.
“The boards of education have always been high quality and terrific, while holding you to high standards,” said Galasso. “School administration should be focused on kids, it shouldn’t be focused on boards. And if boards allow that and hold them to high standards of accountability, I think the results are great.”
Over the past six months, Galasso has worked closely with a board member whom he handed her high school diploma from Eastern Regional during his time as superintendent at the regional high school, as well as with Business Administrator Helen Haley, whom he hired as an accountant, also during his time at Eastern.
“He was a great superintendent and attended all the events; he was definitely someone to look up to as an education leader and he was always very supportive of the staff,” said Haley. “Over the past six months, he’s been really great about educating the staff and he’s been a great mentor. We’re really going to miss him; he’s fun to have around, he’s a great leader and sets a great tone from the top.”
Born and raised in Camden, Galasso has spent his entire educational career in Camden County. Looking back, he says he’s thankful for having had the opportunity to lead and help to improve the area schools in which he grew up around.
Growing up, Galasso says an old high school English teacher of his helped spark his interest in education, leadership and even coaching many years ago.
“You never know which person you’re going to meet that’s going to make you think about something that’s interesting or spark your interest,” said Galasso. “Really, I think it was his style.”
As Galasso prepares to leave, he says he’s excited for the future of Voorhees Township Public Schools.
“I think this district, with the new leadership that is coming in, in my opinion is prepared to move to greater accomplishments for its kids,” said Galasso. “You have a school board that is focused on programs and kids, and you have new leadership that has the same value.”
As for having been able to come back to Voorhees Township and work once again in education after retiring for a year and a half in 2017 before serving as the interim superintendent of schools with the district, Galasso has enjoyed being able to get back out in the field that he loves.
“It’s almost been like a rebirth. It’s been a pleasure, but the good thing is that there’s an ending,” said Galasso with a laugh.
David Gentile is to become Voorhees Township Public School’s new superintendent officially on July 1, with his contract running until June 30, 2022. Gentile has served as superintendent for the past nine years at Millville Public Schools.