July 22, 2021: Dr. Stephen Genco was approved as interim superintendent of Toms River Regional Schools at a July 21 public board meeting. Genco will replace Thomas Gialanella, who has served in that role since Jan. 1, 2021 and who is returning to his position at Ocean County College effective August 1.
The Toms River School Board approved of Dr. Genco’s hiring as it continues its search for a long-term appointment.
Genco certainly has the qualifications to steer the district through its transition to new leadership. A former science teacher, Genco rose from principal at Wall Township High School to assistant superintendent at Jackson Township School District, where he would ultimately serve as superintendent for seven years before retiring in 2020. Prior to Jackson, Genco led South Plainfield School District for four years, and had most recently returned to his educational roots by teaching a leadership course at Georgian Court University before being called upon by TRRS.
“I’m genuinely honored to have the opportunity to lead Toms River Schools,” said Genco. “Over the years in my various professional roles, and through being a longtime Jersey Shore guy, I’ve come to know and deeply respect many of the fine people who make up this district. I look forward to working with them, and to serving the students and families of this close-knit, diverse, and proud community for the next several months.”
Toms River Regional Schools is the second largest suburban district in New Jersey, and Genco will be able to build off his experience at Jackson, another K-12 district that serves nearly 9,000 students.
“Steve will do a fantastic job,” said outgoing Interim Superintendent Gialanella. “I’ve known him for many years, and he has the perfect temperament and educational background to navigate any challenges and keep this district moving in a positive direction.”
That educational background aligns well with the district’s current vision and goals. At Wall, Genco helped implement the accreditation process for students, which TRRS recently enhanced through dual enrollment with Ocean County College. His experience in large-scale collaborative projects and curriculum development bodes well, as does his research-based projects in improving school climate and integrating diverse student populations. And while he was superintendent, Jackson Schools became part of the statewide Support Our Schools (SOS) coalition of districts adversely affected by State Bill S2, so Genco is well equipped to continue carrying that torch on behalf of Toms River.
“I believe that the most important interaction that occurs in a school is between the teacher and the student,” said Genco. “As interim superintendent, I’ll be steadfast in my commitment to creating opportunities that foster this relationship as well as providing teachers with rich professional development experiences as part of a professional learning community.”