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Home Cranbury Press ‘Trustworthy, accountable and collaborative’

‘Trustworthy, accountable and collaborative’

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‘Trustworthy, accountable and collaborative’

Nearly 500 people respond to informal survey seeking input for next Princton High School principal

The informal survey results are in. The next Princeton High School principal should be someone who is “trustworthy, accountable and collaborative.”

Nearly 500 people responded to the survey, which was issued by school district officials as the district prepares to hire a new principal to replace former Princeton High School Principal Frank Chmiel. He was dismissed March 17.

The online survey asked respondents to rate the importance of characteristics that included accountability, collaboration, community focus, compassion, empowering, flexibility, growth, mindset, innovative, transformative, trustworthiness and visibility.

The top three characteristics were trustworthiness, with an average rating of 9.6 on a scale of 1-10; and accountability and collaboration, which each had an average rating of 9.1, explained school board president Dafna Kendal.

The survey was open to Princeton High School students, parents, employees and all Princeton and Cranbury residents. The Cranbury Public Schools sends its high school students to Princeton High School.

The survey was also emailed to Princeton High School alumni who graduated in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The majority of the 490 respondents, or 284 respondents, were parents of children currently enrolled in the school district, Kendal said.

The rest included current and former Princeton High School students, school district employees, and former Princeton Public Schools parents and community members who do not have children enrolled in the school district.

School district officials expect to begin interviewing candidates for the principal’s post this month. The deadline to apply for the Princeton High School principal’s job was July 30. The goal is to have a new principal in place by Sept. 1.

“We will use these findings to form some of the questions when we interview candidates,” Kendal said.

The survey allowed for respondents to offer comments. Some of the comments were “not so nice,” but other comments were very thoughtful, Kendal noted, saying the school board appreciated all of the comments.

Kendal said that among the comments received, one respondent wrote that it is important that a principal “is both warm and engaging, but able to also make the important administrative decisions that any high school principal must deal with.”

Another respondent wrote that it is time “to bring in an educational leader who is  collaborative; leads by example; inspires faculty to innovate and communicate effectively with students, parents and each other; and who by his/her actions instills trust, respect and collegiality among all stakeholders in the Princeton High School community.”

Also, a respondent wrote that the next principal should be “an eloquent public speaker who is able to sway students and staff, but not be susceptible to peer pressure. A person who understands they serve the school and not themself (sic), and protects the school and community.”

The search for a new principal was launched after Chmiel, who had led Princeton High School for two years, was placed on administrative leave in March. His contract was not renewed.

Chmiel requested a Donaldson hearing before the school board in response to the recommendation by Superintendent of Schools Carol Kelley to not renew his contract.

The school board upheld Kelley’s recommendation at a special meeting May 15.

Chmiel is appealing the school board’s vote. He has taken his case to the state Office of Administrative Law and the state Commissioner of Education.