Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Board Approves New Titles

As purple-shirted members of the school district’s supervisors and administrators union looked on Tuesday (May 5, 2008), the Plainfield school board slashed 45 top positions and created 33 new titles in a single vote.

Two of the new titles are not represented by unions, so the net loss of administrative positions appears to number at least 14, but the exact correlation of titles is not known. The 45 titles will be abolished effective June 30, but those affected may begin applying for the new titles today.

The title changes were developed “in conjunction with guidelines from the state,” Interim Superintendent Garnell Bailey said, and they are meant to achieve “more of a direct impact for student achievement and accountability.”

Those whose titles were abolished can seek “Donaldson hearings,” Bailey said. Asked whether the new titles would result in lower salaries, Bailey said that was a “work in progress.”

More than 150 people packed the Plainfield High School library after news of the job changes became public over the weekend. Plainfield Administrators and Supervisors Association President Shirley Johnson-Tucker said members were outraged at the job cuts. Even after a meeting Tuesday with Bailey that yielded some clarification, Johnson-Tucker said, the union felt some changes were for the best and some not for the best.

Johnson-Tucker said when members first saw the list, the impression was that the administrators “do not matter,” that they gave service “and without any consideration are being chopped away.” She said the union will give the information offered Monday to fight the action.

In other comments before the vote, longtime teacher Tiffany Corbett recalled a 1998 change where “supervisors were done away with,” and vice principals were put in charge of evaluating teachers.

“We at Plainfield High School will miss having supervisors to help us,” she said, adding vice principals can’t help because they are too busy.

The titles to be abolished include 19 supervisors and the new titles include five vice principals.

Parent Renata Hernandez asked whether there was a “job-mapping matrix” so people could understand the changes, and if so, requested a copy so she could share the information with Parents Empowering Parents.

In other comments, teachers who received non-renewal notices for the 2008-09 school year asked how it was decided which teachers would stay or go. Bailey said decisions on non-tenured teachers were based on “feedback from principals.” The audience applauded a teacher who said that process encouraged favoritism and was bad management.

Other speakers questioned whether incoming Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III had any input into the title changes and cuts. Gallon, an administrator in the Miami-Dade school district, was hired in February after a nationwide search. He will begin a four-year term in Plainfield July 1. But parent Laura Shoemaker also questioned Monday whether Gallon had the credentials or experience to be a superintendent. Gallon will be mentored by retired Westfield superintendent William Foley while becoming certified to be a superintendent in New Jersey.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Laura S said...

Bernice, I think it's important to note that when asked regarding Dr. Gallon, the response was simply "no comment." I would like to know more about Mr. Foley, and why Dr. Gallon was considered in the first place.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura s,

The "no comment" response from the Board was based on them not being able to publicly comment on personnel matters involving the names of people. It would have been unfair since Dr. Gallon himself was not present. As for the questioning of his credentials, you simply need to review his bio. The link was on one of Bernice's previous articles. After reading it, I must say that I was very impressed with him having been a teacher, principal, high level district administrator, and college professor. It did not hurt that he is coming from the nation's fourth largest urban school district, ran a high school for many years nearly the size of PPS and was a finalist in several other districts througout thenation. PPS is very fortunate. I was also there the night he was appointed. Based on his expereinces and personal presentation I see why he was selected from a national search. Dr. Foley was also present. Dr. Gallon is more than qualified for the position of Superintendent of Schools. As in everything there is a process that he will have to go through. I am sure that he will do just fine and give PPS a new perspective and form of leadership that our children need.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Laura S said...


My issue was that Dr. Gallon might have been a district administrator, which is great, but NJDOE requires superintendents to have 5 years experience as an Asst. Superintendent, at a minimum. You also mention his the district he ran, but you fail to check the test scores of those schools. I have checked, and the high school where he was principal received an "F" from the state.

Yes, he is from the nations 4th largest urban district...and that would be commendable if they were schools that have improved over the years. I haven't seen anything in his bio showing how he raised the grade levels in his current district.

We are trying to fix things in Plainfield...why bring in an administrator with no Superintendent experience coming from a failing district?

This is bizarre to me. But I'm just a parent, who's child's future rests in Dr. Gallon's hands. I'm not comfortable with his level of experience. Also, I have googled Dr. Gallon...and I've read his Zoominfo page, which he verified. He is considered a principal and motivational speaker, along with writing a book. We need someone in Plainfield who is not going to only speak, but roll up their sleeves and get dirty.

I personally don't see that in Dr. Gallon. Another question maybe Bernice can answer, if he is being mentored by Dr. Foley, are we paying Dr. Foley?

The problem lies with the fact that everyone just accepts what the BOE says, without question. Isn't that how we got into this mess?

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foley is not certified to be his mentor. That was squashed a while ago.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also quite alarmed last night at the comment regarding Dr. Gallon's credentialss. Not to rely on the blogs as too many of us do, I did a little research on the New Jersey Ed wesbite http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/. Based on what I read, the incoming superintendent will need to do the following: 1. Hold a valid out-of-state administrator's certificate. I could not imagine that Dr. Gallon having been a principal, district leader, and college professor for educational leadership would not have that. 2. Show evidence of leadership experiences as a superintendent or assistant superintendent defined under 6A:9-12.2. 3. Maser's Degree. Gallon holds a doctorate. 4. Offer of employment. He has a contract from Plainfield. 5. Mentor. Dr. Foley has agreed to serve so that recognize that as a requirement and based on the previous writer did so at the Board meeting when Dr. Foley (who is retired superintendent in NJ-Westfield) was introduced. There were residency requirements that were mentioned but he has to move here to begin satisfying those. The Board apparently is on target with Dr. Gallon. Let's do our own research before we rush to judgement.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If he is out-of-state, he has to have five years experience as a superintendent or assistant superintendent. THAT is where the issue lies.

3:58 PM  

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