Dr. Thomas McCann was recognized at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting as the first recipient of the “Hall of Heroes” honoring Vineland Public Schools employees who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to the district.
McCann, who retired at the end of the 2018 school year, served for more than three decades in the district, including almost 20 years at Landis Middle School. He was nominated by Keith Petrosky, Vineland Municipal Clerk and former chair of the VHS Historical Committee. In his nomination letter, Petrosky listed just a few of the many accomplishments during McCann’s tenure, including coordinating the VHS South 50th anniversary celebration; planning and hosting the annual Wall of Warriors event; naming the VHS pool in honor of Coach John Casadia; naming the athletic fields after former teacher, coach, and athletic director Anthony DiTomo; dedicating the VHS South foyer in honor of former teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, and superintendent Charles Ottinger; naming the varsity soccer field after coach Richard Klimek; and dedicating the VHS North building in honor of teacher, coach and administrator Dennis Tanner, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Education was member F. John Sbrana, friend and former colleague of McCann’s. He noted that he hopes this is just the first of many honorees in the “Hall of Heroes” displayed in the Landis Administration Building.
“In my view, it is also our responsibility to put those life achievements into the public record and share via all available media,” Sbrana said. “All those honored—whether educators or not—will have made significant efforts on behalf of the students, their families, other staff members, and the taxpayers of this community.”
Sbrana also remarked on McCann’s influence and popularity with the students, bringing to mind the “extended, thunderous ovations” he would receive at each of the student recognition ceremonies.
McCann, who was accompanied by rows of family members, thanked the board and district administration for not only honoring him, but spearheading this new type of recognition.
“I think it’s fantastic that Vineland is known for this kind of thing,” McCann said.
He also highlighted two of the initiatives that he was most proud of during his tenure in the district – uniting the high school under one principal and petitioning to get Landis School named as a National Historic Landmark. But ultimately, it was his love of education and influencing generations of students that made the biggest impact.
“The experience was awesome and I loved every minute of it,” McCann said. “It was a great, great ride. The students in Vineland are second to none.”
McCann received a plaque, donated by Donna Martine and presented by Sbrana, Board of Education President Scott English, and Superintendent Dr. Mary Gruccio. A matching plaque will eventually be hung in the Landis building.
Pictured, from left: Dr. Thomas McCann, F. John Sbrana, Dr. Mary Gruccio, and Scott English