JERSEY CITY, NJ - Unable to convince a majority of The Ethical Community Charter School board to remove four of its members, principal Marta Bergamini appears to have opted for retirement.
In late June the school announced via an online post that Bergamini, in the position for 11 years, would not be returning to the school in September because of an inability to come to terms on her contract.
Although the board reopened negotiations with Bergamini after the board’s personal committee announced the contract impasse, and an outcry of support for Bergamini that included an on-line survey conducted by the Family School Association (FSA) which showed overwhelming supported the longtime school leader’s retention as principal, one condition of her returning was that four board members – who opposed her being retained- step down or be removed from the body.
A resolution that would have removed the four members was narrowly defeated during a meeting in late July, setting the stage for Bergamini’s retirement, the latest move in an intense behind the scenes power struggle inside the school. The school’s vice principal, Elisha Abdelaal, also resigned.
Normally, the yearly contract renewal for principal is a routine matter for the board.
While Bergamini hasn’t yet officially ceased her duties at the school despite her contract expiring on July 1, sources close to her say she intends to retire. The school board is currently seeking an interim principal to handle operations until a new principal can be hired, source said.
This comes at a critical time for the school and some teachers fear the struggle over leadership could result in a loss of funding. The school relies on several key grants.
The school also has to gear up for the new school year which will likely involve remote learning – at least in September, and other decisions that would require significant input from a principal.
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