Frataccia will resign July 1 from Portage schools post
BY JOHN ROBBINS Post-Tribune correspondent February 10, 2014 2:40PM
Portage Township Schools Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia announced Monday he is resigning from his post effective July 1. | Post-Tribune File Photo
Updated: February 11, 2014 11:30AM
Portage Township Schools Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia announced Monday he is resigning from his post effective July 1.
“Ten years and a cloud of dust,” said Frataccia in describing his total years of service to the district. In 2012, Frataccia succeeded previous superintendent Michael Berta in the post after serving as associate superintendent since 2005.
His original contract, signed in March 2012, called for only a two year term, ending June 30, 2014.
The only surprise is that Frataccia is actually sticking to his guns in announcing his decision to leave. He informed the board of his plans to leave within the last few weeks. He declined a request from the board to stay, he said Monday.
Frataccia, who was named the Indiana Association of Superintendents 2014 District I Superintendent of the Year, said he believes he is leaving the district in good shape after a decade in various roles.
The school system is Porter County’s largest and most diverse. Nearly 60 percent of its pupils are from economically disadvantaged households. Budget woes have dogged the district. But Frataccia leaves the school system in healthy fiscal shape, recently closing the books on the last school year with a half-million dollar savings. And the school system is ranked among the best in the state.
“Test scores in Portage have come a long way under the direction of the Portage educators,” Frataccia said. “We have been recognized as an Exemplary School District, two schools have achieved Blue Ribbon status, and the State of Indiana has graded our high school as an ‘A’ high school. Six of our eight elementary schools are graded as A or B and the two middle schools are achieving better than ever.”
Frataccia led the district in implementing significant changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment practices which fueled growth in achievement. Even though around 60 percent of its children qualify for free and reduced-price meals, the district has maintained a state rating of “exemplary” or A since 2011. The district-wide grade slipped to a C in 2013.
The Portage Township Board of School Trustees requested that he stay, but Frataccia wants to explore new avenues, such as teaching, becoming a principal, working at a college, or “get back to working directly with kids” at a district seeking a new direction.
“I love Portage kids, staff and the administrators, but know it is time to look at other opportunities,” he said.
Frataccia started teaching in New York. He came to Indiana from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1988. He served as director of elementary education at Valparaiso Community Schools, and superintendent of Union Township Schools from 1995-2005.
He has been active within the Portage community as well as serving on serving on the state’s A-F Accountability System Review Panel.
“It will be hard, as hard as leaving Union Township schools. You really have to know yourself. I’m at the ten-year mark. I’m not really good at just showing up for work. I need someplace that needs help,” he said.
“I love Portage kids, staff and the administrators,” he said. “I’m going to miss my troops.”
Frataccia sits on a variety of commissions and boards in Porter County, including the Porter Hospital Board, county Redevelopment Commission, Valparaiso Park Board, Portage Chamber of Commerce, Portage Economic Development Corporation and Portage Education Foundation, positions he expects to maintain for the immediate future.
He expects to explore teaching opportunities at the local universities, including Purdue North Central, Valparaiso University, and Indiana University Northwest but doesn’t plan to look further afield.
Correspondent John Robbins contributed to this story.