A hearing that could determine the fate of principal Allison McConnell's position in the school district will be held in public Tuesday night.
Traditionally such hearings, known as Donaldson hearings, are held in closed executive sessions. But Board of Education President Sharon Kight confirmed Tuesday morning that McConnell has requested her hearing be held in public.
The hearing will provide the public with a rare glimpse into how such proceedings are conducted.
According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, a Donaldson hearing is an "informal appearance before the board in order to convince the board to offer re-employment," usually after a superintendent of schools decides against offering tenure to an employee. In McConnell's case, however, the board voted to override Superintendent Walter Hrycenko's recommendation that McConnell be granted tenure as a principal. She already holds tenure as an assistant principal.
The hearings are normally conducted in a quasi-judicial setting, with McConnell having the right to be represented by an attorney and present witnesses to speak on her behalf, the NJSBA said. Witnesses do not have to be sworn in, however.
The hearing is named after a 1974 New Jersey Supreme Court case, Donaldson v. North Wildwood Board of Education.
State law says the board must come to a decision on an employee's fate within three days of the hearing.
Less than three weeks ago, at a regular board meeting, supporters of McConnell , waving homemade signs and speaking in favor of keeping McConnell in the principal's position during a public comment session.
Tuesday's meeting is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in the Brick Township High School auditorium.