School board reinstates Heather Gladkowski as Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School principal

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In a reversal of its decision to dismiss Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School Principal Heather Gladkowski, the East Windsor Regional School District Board of Education has decided to rehire the school administrator for the 2018-19 school year.

The school board voted 8-0 to renew Gladkowski’s contract at a special meeting May 24. The board also agreed to name her as the principal of the Walter C. Black Elementary School for 2018-19, as recommended by Superintendent of Schools Richard Katz.

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School board members Pete Bussone, Jenna Drake, Erica DiRaimondo, Nicole LaRusso, Christine Harrington, Robert Laverty, school board vice president Paul Connolly and school board president Alice Weisman voted “yes.” School board member Ram Ramachandran was absent.

The decision to rehire Gladkowski came nearly a month after the school board voted 6-2 not to renew her contract at its April 30 meeting.

Nearly 100 parents, students and residents turned out for the school board’s May 14 meeting to make the case – unsuccessfully – for retaining Gladkowski, who has been the principal of the Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School since July 2014.

The school board could not vote to reverse its April 30 decision on non-renewal during the May 14 meeting “because personnel decisions can only be made in the context of a Superintendent’s recommendation,” the school board wrote in response on May 17.

But after considering the public’s comments, the school board met with Katz in closed session May 21. He presented additional documentation for the school board’s consideration, and the board agreed to hold the May 24 special meeting.

After the vote, Weisman told the 50 or so attendees that the school board “appreciates the input of parents, students and teachers. We remain closely committed to working with our superintendent and members of our community to appoint the best qualified candidates for positions in our district.”

“Upon reviewing additional documentation that Dr. Katz provided for the board’s consideration and considering all the comments by the members of the public, the board met with Dr. Katz and reached an agreement to rehire Mrs. Gladkowski as the principal of the Walter C. Black Elementary School,” Weisman said in a prepared statement.

The parents, students and residents in attendance erupted into applause following the vote.

“I would like to thank you. We very much appreciate your service to the community,” parent Adam Welch told the school board. “I am very proud and grateful. Thank you very much”

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