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:
- BHPRSD Board Moves to Take Suspended Educators' Pay
- Suspended Triton Educators Still Drawing Paychecks?
- School District Hires PR Firm in Wake of Triton Sex Scandal
- District, Superintendent Issue Statements on Triton Sex Scandal
- 'Shocked,' 'Astonished' Triton Students React to Sex Scandal
- [UPDATE] Triton Teachers Under Investigation