Editor's note: This article relied on information presented at the school board meeting by school officials. Officials later stated that while the schools superintendent was "relieved of her duties" as reported, she remained actively employed by the district, as reported in this updated article.
RARITAN TWP, NJ – Yesterday was Dr. Maryrose Caulfield’s last day in the Flemington-Raritan School District.
The embattled schools superintendent has weathered months of accusations that she’s secretive and that those who criticize what they call her autocratic management style are subject to retribution.
Caulfield’s resignation from the district was revealed at a May 31 school board meeting here. Although she provided the 120 day notice required under the terms of her contract, many in the public sought her immediate removal and asked the board to put her on administrative leave.
At yesterday’s school board meeting, board President Anna Fallon said Caulfield was being relieved of her duties “at her request.”
The board voted to name district Business Administrator and Board Secretary Stephanie Voorhees acting superintendent, an announcement that was met with jeers from the public. Voorhees will hold that post, under the terms of her present contract, until July 3, Fallon said.
The board also voted to select Dr. Johanna Ruberto, who they said is a Flemington resident, as interim superintendent. Ruberto currently holds that post in the Hunterdon Central High School District.
Ruberto has accepted the board’s offer, Fallon said, and her contract is presently under negotiation. A former Readington Middle School principal, Ruberto will then take the reins from Voorhees when the contract is approved by the state superintendent of county schools and approved by the school board.
If anyone from the public was in favor of the decisions, they were silent at the meeting, which was sometimes raucous. About two dozen parents, teachers and former district administrators objected to the decisions, and many argued that Assistant Superintendent Dan Bland was most qualified and should be named to the interim post.
Parent Becky Peterson said the choices reveal “the train has come off the track again” and called the board’s actions a “bobble head agreement.”
The board faced other criticism for its budget, its management of school nurses and the rules governing its public meetings. Stay with TAPinto Flemington-Raritan for more on the challenges the school board is facing.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to clarify that Ruberto's appointment as interim superintendent will still require the approval of the school board in a future public vote.