The West Essex School District will soon have a new supervisor of fine arts.
The board of education recently appointed of Vee Popat as the new supervisor of fine, performing and practical arts for the district. Popat will take over on Oct. 27 and replace Nicholas Santoro, who served as the interim supervisor last year.
Popat has been the supervisor of music, visual and performing arts at Randolph School District in Morris County for nearly two years. He worked in the Randolph District for 19 years as a music teacher and then as a band director.
Popat said he plans to take everything he has learned over his career and apply it here in West Essex.
“I know how valued the arts are here,” Popat said. He added he was very impressed with the talented teachers at West Essex, saying, “I am looking forward to collaborating with them to help the departments grow."
Popat graduated from Randolph High School in 1995 and he lives in Randolph with his wife Heather Jones — a 1995 graduate of West Essex High School and a former resident of North Caldwell — and his five-year-old twins.
He also plays the saxophone, and said he wants to get more involved in the local jazz scene.
Popat has a bachelor's degree in music education and performance from Virginia Tech, a master's degree is jazz education from the University of Miami in Florida and a master’s of science in educational administration from the University of Scranton.
Popat said he is excited to begin his new position and to get to know the community.“My first goal is to get to know the staff, what makes them tick as people and as educators as well as their dreams,” Popat said. “Once I learn more about them and do observations, I can discuss how I can help them and get a bigger picture of what is going on.”