NUTLEY, NJ — Historian Henry Adams once said: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Former Nutley Superintendent of Schools James Joseph Fadule Jr. is an educator for whom this quote is especially true. Having served as Nutley’s superintendent for 18 years, Fadule left a lasting legacy of commitment, rigor and aspiration.
This August, Fadule, age 80, died in his Margate home with his wife, June, at his side. Fadule retired as Nutley superintendent in 1996; prior to Nutley, he served as superintendent in the Wyomissing Area School District in Pennsylvania for seven years. During his long career as an educator, Fadule also served as a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent, as well as working for the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
According to Fadule’s obituary, he received numerous accolades for his role as an educator, including a ceremony attended by N.J. Education Commissioner Saul Cooperman, who credited Fadule with graduating some of the brightest students in the country, who regularly attended colleges such as Yale, Duke and Princeton. Fadule was recognized for his outstanding and invaluable contributions to education by members of both New Jersey’s State Legislature and the U.S. Congress.
Having spent nearly two decades at the helm of Nutley Public Schools, Fadule will be missed by the community.
“Dr. Fadule served for 18 years as superintendent. I served most of those years with him. He retired in 1996 and his legacy continues,” Board of Education President Charles Kucinski said at the board’s Aug. 19 meeting. “Dr. Fadule was a true mentor of mine. He was an outstanding superintendent and a caring person.”
BOE members Fredrick Scalera and Kenneth Reilly both had the privilege of working with Fadule and remember him fondly.
“Dr. Fadule was a true educator. He will never be replicated for the work he was able to do,” Scalera said.
“He was an incredible educator,” Reilly agreed.
Others who knew Fadule left similar remarks in a virtual guestbook, celebrating his life.
“I was privileged to have been mentored by such an outstanding educator,” Nutley fixture Barbara Hirsch said. “Any success I may have had was due to his tutelage. June, my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family; may he rest well.”
A former colleague of Fadule’s from Pennsylvania credited Fadule with helping him get his start in education.
“I am forever grateful to Dr. Fadule,” educator Matthew Ecker said. “As principal of Wyomissing High School in 1970, he and the school board took a chance on a rookie teacher. I expressed my gratitude when I visited him in his Nutley office in 1995. My condolences to his wife, June, and the entire Fadule family.”
Fadule is also well remembered by former students, including Richard Dieffenbach, who described Fadule as one of the guys who kept Wyomissing High School “from going off the rails in the Vietnam era. Guided lots of us by example. Lucky to have had him in our school days.”
Fadule felt similarly lucky to have been able to have an impact on so many students and teachers over so many years.
According to his obituary, Fadule once said, “When faced with the strains of administration, I would visit the kindergarten class, sit in the back of the room, and watch the little ones do their thing. It always reminded me why we were there as teachers.”
Fadule’s dedication to teaching children will live on long after him in all the educators and students whose lives he touched.