Principal's departure marks the end of a era in the Sparta schools

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:52

Sparta - Early this week, when Sparta children returned to school following summer vacation, noticeably absent from the staff welcoming the students was Dennis Tobin, who for the past seven years served as principal at Helen Morgan School. Last July, Tobin traded in his principal's hat for that of a superintendent's in the Hardyston Township School District. In the past, as the hallways teemed with excitement on the first day of school, Tobin was always there greeting the students returning to classes. Students and parents remember that Halloween was an especially fun day for Tobin who would don a costume, march in the parade and take part in the day's activities. "Dennis ran this building with both his head and his heart. What sticks in my memory the most is watching him bend down to tie a little child's shoe or dealing with administrative issues over a desk filled with cupcakes and cookies that the kids so proudly brought up to him on their birthdays," said Marina McBain, secretary/receptionist at the Helen Morgan School. "Dennis will be a tough act to follow, we have been very lucky to have a boss, and a friend like him." Tobin's employment and relationship with the Sparta community spans the last 20 years. In addition to his administrative positions, he served as a teacher and coach at the high school. "I have many, many memories of Dennis as a principal, but my memories date back to 1982, when Dennis started his teaching career and just about every girl in Sparta High School wanted to be in his phys. ed. Class," said secretary and bookkeeper Trish Jent. "It's a shame we have to say good-bye to such a positive influence on our school district. Sparta's loss is definitely Hardyston's gain," His involvement with the community did not stop at the school's door. In 2004, Tobin served as a pallbearer in the funeral of fourth-grade student Samantha Stassi who, along with her parents, was killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve. "My 20 years in the Sparta school district as a teacher, coach and school administrator have been a most rewarding experience, both on the professional and personal levels. The students, teachers, athletes, parents and the Sparta community have been a pleasure to work with over the years," said Tobin during an interview before leaving his post in Sparta. "I have nothing but fond memories of Sparta that I will keep with me the rest of my life."