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Hearing on Drum Point Road Principal's Tenure Tonight

Hearing will be conducted in public

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.

JD June 05, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Denny, You are incorrect... they have to give a reason... but that reason could be vague, etc.. Just like the letter she got... she did not measure up to the excellence required... bla bla.. if it is arbitrary and caprious... etc... she can sue... in other words, were others granted and she not?? See the links I provided.
maryann June 05, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I was flaged, again is Jd and Mary related to her?
JD June 05, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Not at all... I don't even have a kid in Brick schools... However, I do know... Brick schools are terrible... not just the buildings... but from an educational perspective. If scores improve... that makes the school district attractive... increases market demand for homes in Brick... improves home values. Senior citizens could careless about the value of their homes... they are going to live in their existing home until the die with the money going to their heirs.
JD June 05, 2012 at 08:14 PM
but are you related to Wolf or Acropolis or anyone on BOE?? How can you not keep a person in their job when they improved scores and ranking of their school versus their peers!!! Really... just sayin.
DennyD June 05, 2012 at 08:14 PM
JD, I was in this profession for 39 years. Vague is just that. Vague. They do not have to give a definitive anything. Is the lawyer going to be here tonight? BTV? I'm tired watching the April show. LOL
JD June 05, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I answered... NO... I don't know the lady... I have not kids in the district... I want to see scores improve so that drives demands for homes in Brick which in turn will increase home values. So, anyone who improves results like they did at Drum Pt. with her leadership.. I'm all for it!!!
concernofkids June 05, 2012 at 09:30 PM
maybe off subject, but does it really matter is the hearing is private or public, The BOE has their agenda & will follow it the way THEY want reagardless of whats in the best intrest of the children or what the public is saying... It doesnt really matter... the bottom line & most of all that needs to addressed is that our children are failing with common sense because the only concern is passing standard test to get more funding for the schools, however the grades are going down & the Adm. pays are going up, ... I know if I had poor or failling results ( or declining) I Def would NOT be getting raises & be lucky to still have a job.
JD June 05, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Who is up for re-election on the BOE this November?? Today was last day to file!
JC June 05, 2012 at 11:23 PM
I have nothing against this person, but if she performs well, why is tenure necessary. In the real world workers are evaluated on a constant basis and need to perform everyday. There is no safety net such as tenure. Tenure is a flawed system and needs to change.
JD June 05, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Tenure is a discussion for another day... But in effect, she is getting demoted... and she performed her job well...
mary June 05, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Maryann....I am not related to her, lol. I simply was trying to make the point that parents would not know her full performance in her position. There is more that a principal is responsible for than what is seen by parents. So even if she was great in certain aspects, she may have not performed all the parts of her job adequately. And yes, she may have done nothing wrong and they have it out for her.....but I really can't imagine that this hearing would change their minds. A boe is not generally going to bow down to people with signs....they are not going to admit it even if they are wrong.
JD June 06, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Not according to her boss... Super Hycenko... he gave glowing reviews!!! BOE doesn't know what she does day to day.. get a clue.. read above who teaches at Drum Pt... Wolf Jr. and Acropolis!!!
DennyD June 06, 2012 at 01:05 AM
She was reinstated as Principal for next year. The vote 7-0. There was a lame "anonymous" letter, supposedly, about two faculty members being bullied but apparently the BOE member who, supposedly, got the letter dd not share it with all of the other BOE members. The Equity Officer for the district was never notified. Hmmm
Lil'DragonMom June 06, 2012 at 01:33 AM
JD - BOE did the right thing with this unanimous Yes tenure vote. Principal McConnell deserves this. And for the record, Mrs. Acropolis, who is a wonderful 5th grade teacher was supporting this principal. And she happens to teach the excel class.
David Fischer June 06, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Congratulations to Principal McConnell on receiving Tenure. I was at the meeting (sat up front so I could hear everything) and heard her amazing qualifications. The members of the BOE who had originally voted against tenure came up with a lame excuse about the time limit for tenure determination and an unsubstantiated bullying complaint which they did not, apparently, even investigate.
JD June 06, 2012 at 01:50 AM
So, some anonymous letter... probably from some teacher who needs to be removed but can't due to tenure... BOE are idiots... but I wonder if true or they made up this anonymous letter. Perhaps it was Wolf Jr.!!!!
DennyD June 06, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I hope to God if there was a "bullying" issue that the person who claims to being bullied is a female. No offense ladies but I cannot fathom an adult male in an elementary school being bullied. Bullied by who? The custodian? Geeezzzz!
Melinda Murray June 06, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Congrats. to Ms. McConnell and the staff at Drum Point.There are 3 different neighborhoods that go to this school the kids are young so its not like they can get on a bike and go to a friends house or you meet the parents taking a walk around the block.The BOE did more then keep a wonderful principal they brought 3 neighborhoods together within Brick.Parents,kids,Staff all working for the same thing.As it should be in any school.
DennyD June 06, 2012 at 11:54 AM
JD, It is Wednesday morning but I wanted to put this where more people would see it. To all Brick residents: Please make it your business to watch this meeting when it airs on BTV. The meeting was only about an hour and a half. Pay particular attention to the reasons why 3 BOE members originally voted no. There may be "character" issues here but it is NOT Ms. McConnell's "character" that is flawed and being exposed. Look and listen.
JD June 06, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Can't wait... Heard about this "fabricated" letter.. Did anyone produce this "letter"!!! lol The BOE needs to go.... I hear the former football coach asked for a hearing... he should make it public also. That was a great stategy to make it public!!!
DennyD June 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
JD, Were you at the meeting last night? Did you her the 3 reasons that were given for a no vote? If they aren't vague how would you classify them? A. lame B. pathetic C. questionable D. a lie E, all of these
JD June 06, 2012 at 02:20 PM
denny... not there... i can only imagine... what a joke.. in the future, everyone should go public with their Donaldson hearing. but, I would say... E... All the above... I believe this letter was a fabrication. If someone got it... Super would have known and investigated... that is why I believe this letter is a fabrication... the BOE was called to the carpet and blinked!!!
BrickTwn June 06, 2012 at 09:22 PM
WOW ALOT of conments GOT deleted here.... I guess the best way to fix a problem is to ignore it...
KC June 07, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Yes they have to come up with a fabricated reason in order to hire an entry level principal for a lower salary on the guide. This way they have more monies to fill the administrations' pockets. This is why the school districts will only hire entry level teachers they do no want to have to pay a seasoned professional for their expertise. This is why there are so many crazy loons running around in the schools.I wish this young woman the best and hope she sticks to her guns.
Ratiocination June 07, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Denny, they never said the letters were anonymous. They said they were from teachers within the school. I do not think it would have been appropriate for them to name the teachers, do you? They also stated that the super prevented them from asking the questions they needed answers to and he gave them incorrect information initially. Sounds like he is the one who complicated this whole situation and it never should have gone as far as it did. You clearly have a personal axe to grind and will criticize ANY move the board makes and accuse it of being political. There are very specific laws regarding the tenure process and Donaldson hearings and confidentiality of personnel records. Ultimately, the process worked. Best wishes to Ms. McConnell and Drum Point School for a bright future!
DennyD June 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Ratiocination, If you follow my concerns it has more to do with the way some BOE members condescendingl speak to Mr. Hrycenko and towards one another. The hostility can be cut with a knife. I praised Mrs. Kight at the last meeting for extending the meeting for 2 hours so all the public could be heard. Please do not try to say this whole thing is not political. It began 3 years ago. The complaint that Mrs. Suter said she received should have been forwarded to the Principal or the Equity Officer. Why didn't she share the info with the rest of the Board? Waving some papers at a Donaldson hearing as if it were some "expose' " was ridiculous. I guess she will be bringing some more papers on Monday. Four people were denied tenure by the exact same vote. Coincidental? As far as Mrs. McConnell's restoration is concerned, the BOE had no choice! The genie had gotten out of the bottle. Mr. Cuppari's one sentence was all that had to be said. BOE stop the vendettas and negativity. It is counter-productive!
Ratiocination June 07, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Denny, I believe it was Mrs. Kight, not Mrs. Suter, who said she received the letters. Do you attend all the meetings? Have you seen how many times the super has been disrespectful to board members, or it has come up that he gave them incorrect info or no info at all? This has been an ongoing. I know you are close with the equity officer, but how do you know the super was never given the letters? I don't recall that being stated. Maybe you can obtain the letters through an OPRA request (if permissable)? I think your judgment may be clouded from your personal relationships within the district, your past employment here as an in-school suspension teacher, and your pro-tenure union affiliation. Just because you disagree with someone or with the decisions made by the board does not mean you should personally attack them and slander them as being politically motivated. Did you make the same cries when coaches were hired for (created) teaching jobs that were never advertised? Were you upset when new hires were brought in at pay levels far above their step on the guide? If you become a little better informed and investigate the facts and how the laws and policies work, you may gain some objectivity. Decisions need to be made for the best of the STUDENTS. I am sure if the other teachers denied tenure are excellent TEACHERS there will be an outcry from their students and the parents of the students, just as there was for Ms. McConnell.
Ashamed June 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Ratiocination, please stop in your attempts to defend this BOE. First few facts, Suter was the one who brought up the bullying letter not Kight. Suter also took a lame shot at Edwards, saying she didn't approve of the wording of the letter, she was the one who voted NO, she should have sent the letter if she wanted it to say something else. Now, politics...if you are trying to say that politics are not a prime motivator in this BOE coming into power and some of their actions, you are either a blind supporter or ignorant. The reason SO MANY people are ANGRY at this BOE is it is crystal clear that their objectives of revenge are playing out here. Wolf PUBLICALLY stated that he was going to run for the BOE, take over the majority of BOE, then fire the superintendent and fire the coach. These are Wolf's public words (forgive him for being so blunt but he is an old man). This BOE continues to act out this threat. Dowling was removed as coach, removed Hyrchenko as Super, they are trying to un-do other Hyrchenko moves, and trying to fire two teachers, Dowling and Sacco, central figures in the Wolf Football Saga. This is 100% political. The one thing this BOE didn't plan on was that people get TIRED OF REVENGE AND POLITICAL VENDETTA, and candidly this has turned on them. Many are angry at this BOE, they took a good step changing tune on McConnell, it would be wise to do same of Dowling and others, maybe then community will believe they have stopped politics and payback.
DennyD June 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
At least we can agree on your last sentence. As far as getting informed what makes you think I'm not? I'm not taking sides on this debacle. Lots of finger pointing. The problem is when you have BOE members whose first task is making the Super look bad and humiliate him at every turn nothing works well. As far as me being pro-union what else would you think I should be? Actually I would prefer speaking directly to you. My e-mail is dennydandrea@verizon.net I would give you my phone number except Dan Nee discourages putting phone #s up here. This is his rule and him being the Editor it is his call. e-mail me
Ashamed June 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Rationcination, one last question from me on this BOE, which you seem to want to defend....How can this group have this high moral imperative when their very own BOE President has been previously suspended by the state for ethics violations??? They want to deny tenure on a Principal for some unsubstanited letter, but it's what , just a misunderstanding when a BOE member is suspended, after LEGAL appeal has taken place? Come on, stop the non sense. This is all poltical, plain and simple. I want to hear what this BOE believes Mr. Dowling has done to not deserve tenure. If they don't have VERY GOOD and FACTUAL PROOF that he does not deserve it there is going to be a large backlash towards this BOE...that is a fact...it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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