History of Riley

Historical Facts About John E. Riley and Riley Elementary School


John E. Riley

Who was John E. Riley?

John E. Riley was a teacher, administrator, and principal in the South Plainfield School District for more than 40 years. He started his career in 1926 as a teacher in Grant School . He became acting superintendent in 1955, but declined the offer of a permanent appointment. He later became (and retired as) the principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary School .

In recognition of his dedication to the district, the school board voted to name John E. Riley Elementary School after him in October, 1964. In February, 1967, upon the announcement of Mr. Riley’s retirement the following June, the school board voted to appoint Riley “Principal Emeritus of the South Plainfield School District .”

When was John E. Riley Elementary School completed?

The cornerstone for Riley School is dated 1966, as Riley Elementary School was originally scheduled to open in September, 1966. However, due to construction delays, the building was not completed until the spring of 1967. It was decided that the students would not be transferred into the new building at this time though but instead they would start the following September. Thus, the first classes to occupy Riley Elementary School were in September, 1967.

When was Riley School dedicated?

John E. Riley Elementary School was dedicated with a formal ceremony and open house held on Sunday, October 15, 1967. Over 500 people attended the dedication, including Mr. Riley, who called the occasion “one of the red letter days of my lifetime”.

How much did the school cost to build?

Riley School cost $754,519.00 to build.

Who was the first principal?

Leonard Tobias was the first principal of Riley School .

How many students went to Riley School when it opened?

Riley School opened with 692 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.
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