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Fair Lawn High School

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Title: Fair Lawn High School  
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Fair Lawn High School

Fair Lawn High School
14-00 Berdan Avenue
Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
Type Public High School
Principal James Marcella
Vice principal Matthew Cahn
Assistant principals Frank Guadagnino
Timothy Wilson
Faculty 110.6 (on FTE basis)[1]
Enrollment 1,561[1] (as of 2012-13)
Student to teacher ratio 14.11:1[1]
Color(s)      Crimson and
Athletics conference Big North Conference
Mascot Captain Cutter
Team name Cutters[2]

Fair Lawn High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school serving students in ninth through twelfth grades, located in Fair Lawn, Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the Fair Lawn Public Schools.

As of the 2012-13 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,561 students and 110.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 14.11:1. There were 56 students (3.6% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 30 (1.9% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.[1]


  • Awards, recognition and rankings 1
  • General 2
  • Clubs 3
  • Marching Band 4
  • Athletics 5
  • Administration 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • Notable faculty 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Awards, recognition and rankings

For the 1990-91 and 1997-98 school years, Fair Lawn High School received the Blue Ribbon Award from the United States Department of Education, the highest honor that an American school can achieve.[3][4]

Then-Principal was named the 1998 State Principal of the Year by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association in recognition of her work, which included being the principal of the only public high school in New Jersey (as of that time) to have won two Blue Ribbon Awards for Excellence.[5]

In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 876th in the nation among participating public high schools and 66th among schools in New Jersey.[6] In 2012, Newsweek ranked FLHS in the top 4% of high schools in the nation based on how hard schools challenge their students with Advanced Placement and college level courses. In the 2011 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 58th in New Jersey and 1,691st nationwide.[7] In Newsweek's May 22, 2007 issue, ranking the country's top high schools, Fair Lawn High School was listed in 808th place, the 19th-highest ranked school in New Jersey.[8]

The school was the 70th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology.[9] The school had been ranked 65th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 76th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed.[10] The magazine ranked the school 81st in 2008 out of 316 schools.[11] The school was ranked 62nd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.[12] ranked the school tied for 72nd out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 7 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (89.3%) and language arts literacy (96.8%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).[13]

The school musical is regularly nominated for both the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards as well as Helen Hayes' Metropolitan High School Theatre Awards.

In 2008, the Fair Lawn High School Destination Imagination team won the New Jersey Affiliate Finals for the first time in school history. The team competed in the Obstacles, Of Course Challenge.


The school offers numerous classes of various levels, including an extensive Advanced Placement (AP) program. Students consistently perform above the state average on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and SAT. Mandarin Chinese language instruction was introduced in 2007 in the Fair Lawn Public Schools district.


Fair Lawn High School has an active extracurricular program encompassing diverse interests. The school has an award-winning musical theater program [2], as well as shows performed by the Masques (drama group), the Boptones (school rock band), and the orchestra.

The Fair Lawn High School musical won a Rising Star Award for Best overall production in 2004 for their production of Company. In 2009, the school also received the Metropolitan High School Theatre Award for their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.

On November 11, 2006, the Fair Lawn High School Marching Band and Color Guard won the Class IV national championship in percussion at the 2006 United States National Marching Band Championships held in Annapolis, Maryland at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The color guard also placed fourth. The team finished third overall in Group IV with a score of 94.225.[14][15]

Both Junior and Senior Math Leagues do well in state and national competitions. The Senior Math League, previously under Irene Stein's command, swept the Bergen County Math League earning the first, second, and third place individual scores in 1999-2000. Other successful teams include, the Chemistry League, Academic Decathlon, Debate Team, and Computer League.

Another club in the school is Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Many students represent Fair Lawn High School at conferences around the nation every year, and bring back many awards. Fair Lawn High School is known to be a strong FBLA chapter and students run for NJ FBLA state office consistently.

Also, the Model United Nations delegation of Fair Lawn High School is one of the top delegations in New Jersey, and has named the Best Delegation at the AMUN Conference the last six years. Unlike other clubs, Model UN is solely funded through the delegates.

The Student Government is a large part of all student activities and is at the base of many school-sponsored events.

Marching Band

The Fair Lawn High School Marching Band is a highly acclaimed high school musical program. Directed by Paul Kafer, they placed third in Nationals in Annapolis, Maryland in 2006. They won Best Percussion, also. In 2007, they placed fifth in Nationals in Baltimore Maryland.

Some past shows include: Bound, Beyond the Periphery, Hypnotize, Passages, The Best Way Out is Always Through, Cascades: A Series of Stages, Festival of Lights, A New Century Dawn, Perspectives, and An American Portrait.

Paul Kafer is assisted by Jamie Szeinberg, Alex Knox, Jeff Daniels, DeLano Bonner, and others. Jamie Szeinberg became the acting band director of Fair Lawn High School at the start of the 2013 season.

Hypnotize is an original composition by musician Alex Knox. "Hypnotize," earned 13th place at National Championships in Baltimore, Maryland.

The 2009 show "Passages" got 13th place at Nationals, as well, in Annapolis, Maryland.

Their 2010 show was entitled "Beyond the Periphery". This year they were the number one marching band in Bergen County for the third year. They placed eighth (over all) and first place for percussion at Nationals in Annapolis, Maryland.

The 2011 show, "Bound," placed 5th Place at the USSBA National Championships at Annapolis, Maryland. For the second year in a row (a very difficult feat) that won the caption award of "Best Overall Percussion".

The 2012 show, titled "Relic" placed fourth at National Championships at Metlife stadium, getting second place in Percussion and Music.

The 2013 show, entitled "Mirage" placed 8th in Group Three Open, coming in Third in Percussion and Sixth in Color Guard.


The Fair Lawn High School Cutters[2] compete in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).[16] With 1,159 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2014-15 school year as North I, Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,108 to 2,479 students in that grade range.[17] On an interim basis, the school competed in the North Jersey Tri-County Conferencefor the 2009-10 season.[18] Prior to the realignment, the school participated in the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League (NBIL/NBIAL).[19]

Teams marked with an asterisk (*), although they officially compete and score as separate teams, usually have their events and practices with each other. Depending on the sport, there is at most a Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman team. Some sports do not have all three levels.

  • Fall sports teams: Cheerleading, Cross country (boys/girls)*, Football, Soccer (boys/girls), Tennis (girls), and Volleyball (girls)
  • Winter sports teams: Cheerleading, Basketball (boys/girls), Bowling (boys/girls)*, Ice hockey, Swimming (boys/girls)*, Track (boys/girls)*, Wrestling and Fencing (boys/girls)*, Dance
  • Spring sports teams: Baseball (boys), Softball (girls), Track (boys/girls)*, Tennis (boys), Lacrosse (boys/girls), Volleyball (boys)

The boys tennis team won the 2007 North I, Group III state sectional championship with a 3-2 win over Ramapo High School.[20]

The boys ice hockey team was formed in 2001 and has had great success over the past ten years. Since the ice hockey team's inception, they have compiled an overall record of 152-72-27. They have qualified for the state playoffs in every single season and in 2008 they were the #1 ranked public school in the state of New Jersey. The program was started by Cory Robinson who won multiple league titles in the Northern White division. Mike Goodrich took over for Robinson and coached the Cutters until 2010 when he resigned after a 10-12-2 campaign to become the head coach at Saint Peter's Prep. Robinson, who is now the athletic director, hired former Montclair Kimberley Academy head coach Brack Healy in 2010. Healy led the Cutters to an 11-10-5 record as they qualified for the state playoffs for the tenth consecutive season.

The boys wrestling team was started in 1947 by Frank Bennet (who also founded Washington Township's (now Warren Hills High School) wrestling program and has been inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame). The most successful coach in the program's history was Frank Guadagnino who retired in the beginning of the 2006 season. Guadagnino had over 300 career victories for the Cutters and 14 League Championships. The 1987 Fair Lawn High School wrestling team has been recognized as the best team in Bergen County for the 1980s decade, also led under the guidance of Guadagnino. The wrestling program is now under the guidance of Head Coach Jon Piela who earned his first League title in his first year of coaching.

The boys volleyball team won its first-ever NJSIAA state championship in 1995, finishing with a 25-1 record. The No. 2 seeded Cutters defeated No. 1 and undefeated Bridgewater-Raritan High School, in Bridgewater, 2-1 (15-13, 13-15, 15-13), making it the first North Jersey team to ever win the state title. The 2011 team was top-ranked in the state by The Star-Ledger and won the state title, defeating Southern Regional High School in straight sets by scores of 25-17 and 25-23.[21]


Core members of the school's administration include:[22]

  • James Marcella - Principal
  • Matthew Cahn - Vice Principal
  • Frank Guadagnino - Assistant Principal
  • Timothy Wilson - Assistant Principal
  • Cory Robinson - Director of Athletics

Notable alumni

Notable faculty


  1. ^ a b c d School Data for Fair Lawn High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed March 25, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Fair Lawn High School, NJSIAA. Accessed September 16, 2015.
  3. ^ Glovin, David. "SCHOOLS BASKING IN GLOW OF TOP AWARD", The Record (Bergen County), May 28, 1998. Accessed October 26, 2014. "Fair Lawn High School learned recently that it captured its second Blue Ribbon Award this year."
  4. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed May 11, 2006.
  5. ^ "PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR; FAIR LAWN EDUCATOR IS NO. 1 IN NEW JERSEY.", The Record (Bergen County), August 28, 1998: pL1.
  6. ^ Streib, Lauren. "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast, May 6, 2013. Accessed May 9, 2013.
  7. ^ Mathews, Jay. "The High School Challenge 2011: Fair Lawn High School", The Washington Post. Accessed August 21, 2011.
  8. ^ "The Top of the Class: The complete list of the 1,200 top U.S. schools", Newsweek, May 22, 2007. Accessed May 24, 2007.
  9. ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
  10. ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed December 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
  13. ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Accessed February 27, 2012.
  14. ^ Fair Lawn band, color guard excel in national competition, The Record (Bergen County), November 19, 2006.
  15. ^ USSBA National Championship Titles, United States Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) press release dated November 14, 2006.
  16. ^ League Memberships – 2014-2015, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed October 26, 2014.
  17. ^ 2014-2015 Public Schools Group Classification: ShopRite Cup–Basketball–Baseball–Softball for North I, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of July 8, 2014. Accessed October 26, 2014.
  18. ^ New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships – 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed October 25, 2014.
  19. ^ New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships – 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed December 15, 2014.
  20. ^ 2007 Boys Tennis - North I, Group III, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed June 6, 2007.
  21. ^ Hageny, John Christian. "NJ Boys Volleyball: Fair Lawn wins state championship", The Star-Ledger, June 10, 2011. Accessed June 13, 2011. "Nugent elevated his body and his game, putting on an aerial show with 18 kills, including 10 in the second set, as Fair Lawn, No. 1 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, capped a dominating season with a 25-17, 25-23 victory over No. 6 Southern to seize the 2011 NJSIAA state title Thursday at South Brunswick High.... A quick one-ball from Toron to Colomier sealed the second set, the season and the title for Fair Lawn, which wins its second state title in school history, having defeated Bridgewater-Raritan in 1995."
  22. ^ Administration, Fair Lawn High School. Accessed September 16, 2015.
  23. ^ McCall, Tris. "Ian Axel's 'New Year' is an impressive debut", The Star-Ledger, May 20, 2011. Accessed July 21, 2011. "Axel, who grew up in Bergen County and graduated from Fair Lawn High School, isn’t a showy pianist. He doesn’t take lengthy solos or call attention to his considerable technique.... Ian Axel, who grew up in Fair Lawn, makes his Bowery Ballroom debut on Tuesday."
  24. ^ Borden, Sam. "FAIR LAWN: UP FOR CHALLENGE", The Record (Bergen County), September 11, 2001. Accessed October 26, 2014. "The wiry senior will be reprising the role of Anthony Campanile, who transferred with his younger brother, Nick, to Fair Lawn from Paramus Catholic last year and then led the Cutters to the State playoffs before he graduated."
  25. ^ Sacir Hot, Boston College Eagles. Accessed January 29, 2011. "...earned All-State honors as a sophomore at Fair Lawn High School ... also played on the school's football team, earning All-League second-team accolades as a kicker."
  26. ^ Bruce Jankowski, database Football. Accessed March 30, 2008.
  27. ^
  28. ^ , April - May 2002 Edition. Accessed October 6, 2008.Fair Lawn News"Class of '54",
  29. ^ Schwartz, Paul. "Bob Potts dead at 73; Fair Lawn native heart and soul of Met League.", The Record (Bergen County), October 24, 2007. "In 1954, as a 17-year-old Fair Lawn High School student, Potts established the Fair Lawn Athletic Club baseball team to give himself and his friends a chance to play summer baseball. The team soon became the Paterson and later the Clifton Phillies, which was one of the most successful teams of its kind in the country until it folded in 1999. Among the first players on the Phillies was Potts' high school teammate, Ron Perranoski, who later starred as a relief pitcher on several Los Angeles Dodgers world championship teams."
  30. ^ Bloom, Nate. "Noshes: Worth Checking Out", The Jewish Standard, June 29, 2007. "Spektor, 27, is far better known... She went to middle school yeshiva in New York and, for her first two years in high school, she went to the Frisch School in Paramus. She graduated from Fair Lawn High School."
  31. ^ Vivina, Donna. "Biography",, May 27, 2009. "After starring in PIPPIN, HELLO DOLLY, and WILL ROGERS FOLLIES at Fair Lawn High School under the direction of John Giresi, Donna's final high school performance would ironically be ME AND MY GIRL—the very show that started it all!"
  32. ^ Harrison Bernstein, Washington Redskins. Accessed July 14, 2008. "Bernstein received his C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) degree from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and briefly played Indoor Professional Football while coaching defense for Fair Lawn High School's football team."
  33. ^ Hubie Brown, Fair Lawn News, Summer 2004, accessed April 17, 2007. "Brown was coach of the Fair Lawn High School basketball team in the 1960s and the offensive coordinator for its undefeated football team."

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