The 70-year-old Fischbach, who has been working in the school district for the last 46 years, submitted his letter of retirement, officially effective June 30, 2007, to the Board of Education Wednesday night. The board then passed a resolution to accept Fischbach's request.
"I informed the Board of Education that I did not want to have my contract extended when it expires in June," Fischbach said. "I handed in the letter. This is my final year. I've given 46 years to the North Bergen school district and it's time to get some new young blood in there."
Started in science
Fischbach, who was a science teacher in the North Bergen school district when North Bergen High School came into existence in 1960, had plenty of time served to retire with full superintendent benefits, but decided to continue to work.
"I was advised by some that I should have retired long ago, but I really enjoyed what I was doing and wanted to continue to work," Fischbach said.
However, last November, Fischbach suffered a fall where he severely hurt his shoulder, an injury that eventually required reconstructive surgery in February.
"Ever since the accident, it's been very heavy on my mind," Fischbach said. "I think it simply became a matter of wanting to spend more time with my family. I think it's the right decision and the right time. I've enjoyed my time and my many years in North Bergen, but it's time to spend more time with my grandchildren and family. That's what it all came down to."
Fischbach's wife, Karen, is one of the main guidance counselors and coordinators in the high school. It is not known whether she will join her husband in retirement.
"That hasn't been determined yet," Fischbach said. "Right now, it's only me."
Fischbach is the last active member of the Board of Education who was working when North Bergen High School opened its doors in September of 1961. A year prior, he taught science classes to ninth graders who were attending classes at Robert Fulton School in preparation for the opening of the new high school.
"I'm the last one still around from when the building opened," Fischbach said.
Search for new superintendent
Fischbach has enough sick time and vacation time accumulated that he could very well step down during the course of the school year, but he has not made a final decision about when he will officially leave.
When Fischbach does step down, a new superintendent will have to be selected. There are currently two assistant superintendents in the district, namely Vince Ascolese, who is also the school's football coach, and Nicholas Sacco, who is also the township's mayor and the State Senator representing the 33rd District.
It is not known whether either Ascolese or Sacco would be considered as Fischbach's eventual replacement.
"There's always mixed emotions when you make a decision like this," Fischbach said. "But it's time. It's the right decision."
North Bergen's six elementary schools and the high school will have full-day sessions right from the first day this Wednesday. Only the pre-kindergarten (early childhood) classes will be half-day sessions. The Pre-K classes are held inside Bruins Stadium in North Hudson Braddock Park.
Unlike last year, the kindergarten annex at Lincoln School is now complete. Last year, construction woes delayed the opening of school for the kindergarten students for one week.
"The kindergarten students are to report to their home neighborhood school and the parents will be provided information for busing to the Lincoln School annex," Superintendent Peter Fischbach said. "Then, the parents can either opt to provide their own transportation or have the students continue to be bused to the annex. It's all business as usual."
The high school will feature freshman orientation for the incoming freshmen on Tuesday, a day before regular classes are scheduled to begin.
Fischbach said that the district is not offering any major changes in its curriculum, other than now offering graphic art design and computer art design classes in the high school.
"It should be another good school year for us," Fischbach said. - JH