ALJ Students and Parents Speak Out About Change in Clark School Leadership

Parent Cara Hund spoke on behalf of ALJ Principal Rick Delmonaco. Credits: Elizabeth Clee
ALJ Student Brooke Gallo presented the BOE with a petition signed by ALJ students, requesting their principal be allowed to stay at the high school. Credits: Elizabeth Clee
Jennifer Gallo approached the BOE with her perspective on why the BOE should reconsider the changes to school leadership. Credits: Elizabeth Clee

CLARK, NJ – The Clark Board of Education met Tuesday evening for the last time before the end of the school year. The evening’s agenda was packed with over 140 items up to vote. 

The first vote of the evening addressed 65 personnel items on the agenda including retirements, resignations, reassignments, rehires and new appointments.   One of the most controversial items on the list was a change in leadership at the high school for the upcoming school year. 

According to the agenda, Rick Delmonaco will become principal of the Carl H. Kumpf Middle School and the current Kumpf principal, Jennifer Feeley, will move to Arthur L. Johnson High School effective September 1, 2017.

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This change brought many students and parents to the meeting who spoke out and asked the BOE to reconsider their plans to move Delmonaco from the high school.   “Mr. Delmonaco knows all the kids; he’s been to every single event whether he has to be there or not.  He is a great role model and supports every single student and he has amazing connection with his kids,” said student Brooke Gallo.  

In her emotional plea to the BOE, Gallo held up a petition with the signatures of 513 ALJ students asking that Delmonaco stay at ALJ.   According to Gallo, she was able to collect those signatures from fellow students in less than one school day.

Parents joined the rally to keep Delmonaco in his current position.   “Please do not give up on our principal Mr. Delmonaco at ALJ.  He demonstrates a quality of a principal with such support, dedication and school sprit to his students, as well as discipline.  He is an asset to ALJ,” said Cara Hund, mother of two students in ALJ. 

Equally passionate in her plea, another mother talked about how Delmonaco pulled her son, a current ALJ Senior, from out of his shell when he first came to the school and helped him become the young man she sees today.    According to her, Delmonaco knows what to do with youth this age.  

“We could not ask for a better principal, he is perfect for the HS and why anybody would think to change where he is, he is so good at gearing these people to be young adults.  He doesn’t treat them like they are students or little kids, he treats them as adults, he is at every event,” said Jennifer Gallo.

The BOE voted to make the change in leadership at ALJ and Kumpf as listed in the agenda.  "I am unable to discuss personnel decisions, but actions are always taken after thorough consideration and with the best interest of all our students in mind, "  said Ed Grande, Superintendent of Clark Schools.   Jill Curran, BOE President made a similar statement, “This was a personnel decision so I am not at liberty to talk about the principals.   The BOE members do not take their job lightly.  We work closely with the superintendent to make decisions that we feel are best for all the students of the Clark school district.”

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