BOE approves interim superintendent for district

Dr. Daniel Fishbein is an alum of Pascack Valley and served as superintendent in Ridgewood before retiring last September.


Jared Mitovich

For the first time since the pandemic began, the Board of Education held their meeting in the auditorium.

At their meeting Monday night, the Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education approved Dr. Daniel Fishbein as interim superintendent. He will replace Superintendent Erik Gundersen, who is leaving the district to be the superintendent for the Suffern Central School District in New York. The district is still searching for a permanent superintendent.

Fishbein will begin his position on July 1, which is effective until June 30, 2022. This was approved by the Executive County Superintendent, which is required by law. 

According to an article from, Fishbein started as a superintendent in Glen Ridge, and then went to Ridgewood for the same position in their district in 2008. He retired from Ridgewood in September of last year. 

@DFishbein7 on Twitter
Dr. Daniel Fishbein will be interim superintendent of Pascack Valley Regional.

During the meeting, Gundersen noted that Fishbein is an alum of Pascack Valley High School. He congratulated him on the interim position. BOE Vice President Joseph Blundo reflected on Fishbein’s high school origins: “Welcome home; this is where it started.” 

In addition, the BOE approved Benjamin Chianchiano to succeed Steve Papa as athletic trainer. Papa will be athletic director for Pascack Hills starting this fall.

Briana Keenan
The BOE student representatives, Aria Chalileh of Pascack Hills and Connor Flinn of Pascack Valley.

The BOE also recognized its two student representatives, Aria Chalileh of Pascack Hills and Connor Flinn of Pascack Valley, as their terms come to an end. The 2020-21 teachers, technical support staff, and education service professionals of the year at each school were honored.

Assistant Superintendent Barry Bachenheimer presented to the BOE regarding the anticipated fully in-person reopening of school this fall. Although seeking “as normal a start as possible,” Bachenheimer noted that current guidelines as of June 7 mean masks and social distancing will still be required. 

Briana Keenan
Assistant Superintendent Barry Bachenheimer presented to the BOE on the anticipated full reopening of school.

Food services will return to Pascack Hills this fall, although the district is still deciding between two options for lunch –– a full common lunch or a split lunch with only half of the student body eating at once. To maintain student and staff hygiene, faucets will become hands-free, and sanitizer will continue to be provided.

This summer, the district will host acceleration programs to help students who may have fallen behind this school year. In addition, freshman and sophomores will be able to participate in a program to learn how to use Canvas, the education software used by the district. 

Over 200 rising juniors and seniors have signed up for a free SAT preparation program, and 121 students so far are signed up for a free college essay boot camp, according to Bachenheimer. 

During a negotiations committee presentation, Blundo announced several agreements that the district had negotiated with staff. District administrators will receive a salary increase of 2.8% annually over the next three years, the same as teachers have received. Supervisors will receive a 2.4% salary increase the first year, 2.8% the second year, and 2.4% in the third year. They will be allowed to take one additional vacation day.

Teachers will now be able to receive a greater stipend if they are asked to work a sixth period with the new schedule. They will also be reimbursed for cafeteria duty.

Gundersen noted to the BOE that the lessened Covid-19 restrictions mean masks will be optional at graduation on June 16. He said the Class of 2021 would be celebrated in a way that is “as close to normal as possible.”