BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Board of Education accepted the resignation of Bridgewater-Raritan High School principal Brett Charleston on Tuesday, May 13 by a vote of 5-3.
The board declined to comment on the circumstances behind the resignation.
According to interim Superintendent Cheryl Dyer, every individual who is not tenured needs to be informed of renewal status by May 15. In Bridgewater, she said, they usually make the determinations by April 30.
From there, the Board of Education takes action on the recommendation of the superintendent.
In the case where an employee is not recommended for renewal, Dyer said, the board cannot take any action unless the employee appeals, called a Donaldson hearing.
That hearing was scheduled for May 13, but was canceled after Charleston submitted his resignation that morning.
Charleston had submitted his resignation in late April, but rescinded it before board action was taken. He resubmitted it before the most recent meeting.
“The board does not have a legal authority to reappoint someone,” board president Jeffrey Brookner said. “The only effect of turning down a resignation is that instead of resigning, there would be a non-renewal.”
Brookner said that was the only question before the board, whether or not to accept the resignation.
But residents and students at the school were not pleased with the loss of Charleston.
“He has stated many times that he didn’t want to resign, but felt he needed to have that on his resume rather than his contract not being renewed,” said resident Laura Keleher. “This is an unfortunate position for him to be in.”
BRHS junior Matthew Molinari read to the board a letter he had written to Charleston following the announcement of his resignation.
“I am saddened by the decision because I know you are on the brink of making the school a truly great place,” he read. “You taught me valuable skills that I will take with me. I strive everyday to emulate your courage and can-do attitude.”
Molinari said Charleston has always supported everything going on at the school, attending sporting events and the school plays.
“He is the best advocate and supporter and does anything for the school and for the students,” he said.
And, Molinari said, the loss of Charleston will cause the Class of 2015 to have three principals in four years.
Student, and ice hockey team member, Mickey Avenoso agreed that Charleston’s absence would be a great loss to the school community.
“On behalf of all the athletes, I would appreciate it if you would consider keeping him next year,” he said.
Resident Kelly Avenoso said she is very concerned about turnover rate at this point.
“The research is there, there is a negative impact on school districts with a high turnover rate,” she said. “It makes me wonder as a taxpayer, how serious are you about implementing things if there is all this turnover?”
Resident Kathleen Caola had one word to describe the loss of Charleston.
“Bummer,” she said.