Verona’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rui Dionisio, has been recognized as the 2019-2020 Essex County Superintendent of the Year. The award is given to a superintendent who exhibits leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and active participation in community involvement with an understanding of regional, national, and international issues.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected by my peers,” Dr. Dionisio said in an email sent by the district this morning. “But this recognition is truly the result of the constant focus, commitment, and support of our Board of Education, administration, staff, students, and families in the Verona community.”
Dr. Dionisio has served as superintendent since 2014. “During his tenure, he has proven himself as a highly effective, collaborative leader with an ability to guide our community in an effort to raise the bar and continuously redefine success,” Board of Education President Lisa Freschi said in the email. “Stewardship of our schools requires intent, process, and perseverance. He possesses a dedication and enthusiasm to develop the mind while also expanding the heart.”
Among his recent accomplishments, Dionisio established a partnership with the national nonprofit Positive Coaching Alliance to provide all youth and high school athletes with a positive, character-building sports experience. He spearheaded Verona community action committees on mental health and suicide prevention, which led to a successful public vote on funding for a K-12 mental health program. He also championed Verona’s expansion of kindergarten to a full-day program, which was also approved in a community vote last November.
Dr. Dionisio is currently studying at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government toward a credential in public leadership. He completed his doctorate in educational leadership, management, and policy at Seton Hall University. His dissertation examined the impact of inquiry-based science on non-cognitive outcomes and academic achievement. He holds a B.A. in biology with a minor in chemistry and M.A. in administration and supervision from Montclair State University.