PRINCETON: PHS Principal Gary Snyder on leave for remainder of school year (UPDATED)


Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder will take off the rest of the school year as a leave of absence, the district said Wednesday without elaborating on why he is away.
Mr. Snyder has been out of the high school all this month, having been marked out sick the week of May 2 and subsequently asking for a paid leave of absence from May 9 until June 30, the district said. The Board of Education has to vote, at its meeting May 24, on his leave request. School board President Andrea Spalla had no comment Wednesday.
This will mean that Mr. Snyder, due to earn a total compensation of $189,633, would miss graduation and other end-of-school year work including annual performance reviews and other activities. Mr. Snyder, 53, a resident of New Hope, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, could not be reached for comment.
Assistant Principal Lori Rotz will fill in on an interim basis, Superintendent of Schools Stephen C. Cochrane said Wednesday. She has worked at the high school in that capacity since 2007, giving her the most seniority over the two other assistant principals.
Mr. Cochrane said that with Ms. Rotz and the assistant principals, the school of 1,583 students is in “strong” and “caring” hands.
Mr. Snyder’s absence has been the fodder of much speculation within the community. For days, the district did not make any public comments on the subject — even though it was widely known he was no longer at the school — until the middle of the week.
In an email sent Wednesday to high school parents, Mr. Cochrane told them what was going on, but he gave no explanation for the reason why Mr. Snyder was away. He referenced Mr. Snyder twice in the entire message.
“I am writing to make you aware that Principal Gary Snyder will be on leave through the remainder of this school year,” Mr. Cochrane wrote.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Mr. Cochrane said he was not allowed to discuss personnel issues. Asked if Mr. Snyder would return, Mr. Cochrane offered that the leave of absence is until the end of June.
Mr. Snyder’s Twitter account has gone silent since he last posted a tweet on May 3.
He has worked for the district since being hired in August 2003 to be the high school principal, having previously worked at a high school in Massachusetts. During his tenure in Princeton, the high school came under a probe by the state Department of Education amid allegations that students were allowed to graduate despite wracking up too many absences.
Though no sanctions were issued or anyone punished, the state said in 2013 that it could not “conclusively” determine that all high school graduates from 2009 to 2012 met local attendance requirements to get a diploma. 