Board hires interim KHS principal




The Board of Education voted May 18 to hire a retired educator from the Jersey Shore as interim principal of Kearny High School.

Linda Rocco of Spring Lake Heights will begin work July 1 and will be paid $500 a day, the board resolution says. And, the resolution adds that she will continue in the post “until such time as the search for a permanent hire has been completed.”

Rocco will take over for Al Gilson, who is leaving June 30 to seek other educational opportunities.

Blood told The Observer that the principal position will be posted during the summer “and we will be seeking the best possible candidate as a permanent appointment.”

Blood said that Rocco grew up in Harrison and later moved to Kearny where, during the ‘70s, she was a summer supervisor with the town recreation program. While in college studying education, Rocco student-taught physical education, health and dance at Garfield Elementary School and Kearny High, Blood said.

Blood said Rocco began teaching in Mendham, served as the first woman athletic director at Whippany Park High School and at Howell High School, then as assistant principal
at East Brunswick High School.

In November 1999 she became the first female assistant principal of Point Pleasant High School and, in 2007, she achieved another distinction in becoming the first female principal at that school where she continued to serve until her retirement in 2012.

Since then, Blood said, Rocco has worked as an interim principal in the Matawan/ Aberdeen Regional School District.

Asked how she was picked for the job, Blood said: “She has an excellent reputation and I sought her out as someone I thought would be a good fit to lead the high school as we conduct a search for a permanent principal.”

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.