Princeton High School interim principal’s contract extended

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Search for permanent principal continues

Princeton High School Interim Principal Kathie Foster’s contract has been extended to Sept. 30, as school district officials continue the search for a permanent principal.

Foster was named to serve as the interim principal, beginning March 29 and ending June 30, by the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. Her contract was extended to Aug. 31 and subsequently to Sept. 30.

The Princeton High School Principal Search Committee will meet next week, school district officials said. The 20-plus members include school district employees, parents and school board observers.

The school board has scheduled a special school board meeting on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. for personnel matters. It is open to the public via Zoom.

The new principal will replace former Princeton High School Principal Frank Chmiel, who was placed on administrative leave March 17. His contract was not renewed upon the recommendation of Superintendent of Schools Carol Kelley.

Chmiel had led the high school for two years before his dismissal in March. He requested a Donaldson hearing before the school board in response to Kelley’s recommendation to not renew his contract.

A school district employee whose contract is not being renewed has the right to a written statement of reasons for the non-renewal, according to the New Jersey School Boards Association.

An informal hearing may be held before the school board to convince it to offer a new contract, despite the superintendent of schools’ recommendation. It may be held in public or in private.

Chmiel chose to hold the Donaldson hearing in public at a special school board meeting May 15. The school board voted to uphold Kelley’s recommendation to not renew his contract at the end of the five-hour meeting.

Chmiel has taken his case to the state Office of Administrative Law and the state Commissioner of Education, according to published reports on TapIntoPrinceton and the Daily Princetonian, which is Princeton University’s student newspaper.

Chmiel is appealing the school board’s vote to uphold Kelley’s recommendation to dismiss him. The superintendent makes a recommendation, but it is up to the school board to take action.

Attorney David Schroth, who represents Chmiel, also filed a tort claims notice. It puts the school district on notice of a potential civil lawsuit, the reports said. The appeal and tort claims notice were filed June 14.