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BHPRSD Board to Work with Administration on Triton Interim Principal Search

The board votes Thursday to temporarily suspend a policy that would keep it out of the Triton interim principal search.

Black Horse Pike Regional School District (BHPRSD) Board of Education members will have a say in who fills Catherine DePaul's shoes as interim Triton principal while the longtime administrator serves an indefinite suspension for allegedly covering up inappropriate teacher-student relationships.

The board voted Thursday night during its meeting at Timber Creek Regional High School to temporarily suspend a district policy that dictates the board not be involved in the interview process for certificated staff members except for the positions of assistant superintendent and business administrator/board secretary.

"For the purpose of assessing interim principal candidates for Triton High School, the BOE will suspend (the policy) temporarily, or until the board sees fit to reinstate it," Superintendent John Golden said in placing the resolution on the meeting agenda.

The emergency resolution was unanimously approved in a single voice vote that also included two other policy measures.

DePaul and four Triton educators are suspended with pay and criminally charged in connection with a teacher-student sex scandal at the Runnemede school. The board voted last Thursday to stop paying the educators as soon as legally permissible.

DePaul, 55, and Jernee Kollock, 39, who became vice principal at Timber Creek on July 1, are accused of attempting to squelch information regarding teacher-student relationships that first came to them in April.

Three Triton teachers—Jeffrey Logandro, 32, Nicholas Martinelli, 28, and Daniel Michielli, 27—are accused of sexual relationships with now-former students.

The relationships occurred between November 2011 and June 2012, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, which began investigating the alleged relationships in August.

Logandro is accused of kissing and inappropriately touching a 17-year-old former student during the 2011-12 school year, but not of engaging in sexual intercourse with the girl, according to investigative documents.

Records show that Martinelli's victim was 18 years old at the time of the alleged sexual contact and that he and the student did not engage in sexual intercourse until after she had graduated in June.

Michielli is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old student during the 2011-12 school year. He is the only one of the three teachers who has been charged with sexual assault.

BHPRSD Solicitor John Wade indicated following Thursday's meeting that the board will not have to vote to ratify an agreement his firm—Wade, Long, Wood & Kennedy—reached with Philadelphia public-relations firm Braithwaite Communications to handle what he and Golden have described as a "media barrage" in the wake of the Oct. 4 announcement of criminal charges against the five Triton educators.

His contract with the district authorizes his firm to make such hires after consulting with district officials, he said.

Gloucester Township Patch on Wednesday submitted an Open Public Records Act request for that contract.

The Braithwaite agreement was finalized on Oct. 4—the same day Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk announced the five educators' arrests. The Philadelphia PR firm will directly bill Wade, Long, Wood & Kennedy.

During last Thursday's board meeting, Wade estimated BHPRSD will pay Braithwaite a total of $10,000 to $15,000.

 

For more on the Triton teacher-student sex charges, visit:

Anonymous 4 CamCo October 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Why are rules being suspended, ignored and flat out broken by the BHPRSD? Why is the district's attorney calling so many shots? How can the board of ed be involved in hiring a new principal when members of that board work for the schools or are married to other administrators? Do we have any answers or just more questions? Typical arrogance from the ruling political class.
Michael October 19, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Usually, when rules are "suspended", something underhanded is taking place. I would venture to guess that someone politically connected will get the job, and our kids will pay the price.
Doctor October 19, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Maybe they can promote another gym teacher as the vice principal. Bhprsd only promote the best teachers!!!
Michelle Wolfson October 19, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I mean, I don't necessarily understand why that policy exists in the first place. I mean, why is the board NOT involved in deciding who is qualified to be on the staff in our schools? But since it does exist, why are they casting it aside in this case? Hey there'a policy that says I am not eligible to get a raise. I am going to vote against that policy. Duh.
Charles October 19, 2012 at 02:37 PM
OUCH!! My concern is the lawfirm's ability to hire a PR firm independent of Board approval. "Consulting with District officials" is plain BS for "Hire friends and family".
Cathy Brackin October 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Sean, who would otherwise be doing the interviewing?
Sean McCullen (Editor) October 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
@Cathy: As I understand it, the policy dictates that the district's central office administrators (superintendent, business admin., asst. superintendent ...) conduct interviews for building administrators.
Roger Delgado October 19, 2012 at 05:46 PM
The school board should absolutely not have a say in personnel decisions. They are politicians, not educators. That is like saying the Freeholders should have hiring decisions of the new Camden police force. The job of personnel comes from the Superintendent who (in theory) should have the skills to know what to look for in good administrators. When you allow politicians, especially some of the ones on both the regional and GT schools, to have direct control over hiring decisions you are opening the door to influence peddling and putting less than qualified people because of their connections to the party. Does that happen today, probably. But overtly allowing the board to make the decisions is not in the best interest of the children of Gloucester Township.
Michelle Wolfson October 19, 2012 at 05:51 PM
So, it would have made more sense if say, the central office administrators perhaps voted to request that policy be put aside and allow BHPRSD to have input on the hiring, no?
Michelle Wolfson October 19, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I mean, as opposed to having them vote on it themselves of course.
Schu October 19, 2012 at 08:57 PM
This is the BHPRSD, everything is backwards and for them this is the only way they do business. We're the fools for re-electing them.
Rock Bottom October 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Agree 100%. Zanghi is a Gloucester Township council "plant" on that BHP Board. He is "Friends" with many on council. His children do not even attend public schools so where do you think his interests really lie?? He gets his reward as President of the Little League by having Council approve a major $$$ upgrade to the complex, thats how. And who is going to delegate the spending of that money? Hopefully not the league, it's shaky there already. What about the other Little leagues , don't we need help? Erial payed for there own lights to be installed with no financial help from council. Seriously... It's a joke what goes on in this community.
DanJensen October 20, 2012 at 06:30 PM
The school board is totally running the show in the K-8 district. They have been doing all the interviewing themselves and administrators are all leaving. They have a ton of open positions and seem to be in no rush filling them. What are they doing with the extra money?
Schu October 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM
Maybe the BHPRSD is forcing the gt administers to jump ship.
Schu December 03, 2012 at 02:07 AM
When is the board going to fire the five perverts that used to work at triton? Are we still paying them to sit at home to text former students?
Hadenough January 15, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Schu - The five arrested - teachers, principle and vice principle are technically " STILL" employed !!!! They are still receiving a paycheck ... The board legally can't fire any of them until they are indicted or plead guilty which NONE have done yet. If they plead not guilty and move forward, if a grand jury finds them guilty, they automatically do at least 5 years in jail ! I hope they are found guilty and thrown in prison. Our justice system is one that gives time to those charged to decide how they will plea. Its a game of " chicken". 3 months is LONG ENOUGH to have them sitting around, collecting our money. ALL A GAME !! Its not a game to those families dealing with the aftermath of what occurred. For all those parents out there that put blame on the girls, SHAME ON YOU !! You wouldnt be blaming them if one of them were your daughter. There is something terribly wrong with people today. No one wants to take responsibilty for anything. No one wants to get involved. Its apalling how many people knew about this long before it hit the news. They did NOTHING!! Disgrace!! Our kids are not safe ANYWHERE!

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