PLAINFIELD, NJ - Interim Superintendent Dr. Ronald Bolandi was noticeably absent from Tuesday's Board of Education Work & Study meeting at Plainfield High School. He could, however, be available via phone if needed, according to Board President Richard Wyatt.
Wyatt then provided an update on the superintendent search:
It is the Plainfield Board of Education’s pleasure to update the public on the search. The community has expressed concerns that the advertisement for candidates for the position of Superintendent of Schools lacks certain key information described in the advertisement.
Please rest assured that the advertisement contains the requirement experienced in a similar district performance. Which means the Board expects that any candidate that will have performed the requisite research will know exactly what our District requires for the Superintendent of Schools, including attention to our EOL and ESL students.
The Board will be holding a special meetings on April 12, 18 and 30th in order to interview candidates for the position of Superintendent of Schools. Interviews will take place at our Attorney’s office in order to protect confidentiality interest of candidates.
Each special meeting will begin at 6:30 pm at our Attorney’s office and provides 10 minutes for public comment and then will have the Board convene in executive session to hold the interviews.
No action will be taken at these social meetings so after the brief public portion of the meeting at 6:30, the public is welcome to exit.
The results of all surveys taken as a result of the Superintendent search process will be posted on a special Superintendent search portal on the District’s website.
Also the notes taken (summary of notes) at the community, teachers and administrative forums will be posted on the website as well.
The Board looks forward to providing the community with further updates to this exciting process and welcomes all feedback. Thank you for your attention to this important process.
Wyatt emphasized that selecting a superintendent is the most critical job of the board, and they take the search very seriously. A total of 48 candidates submitted applications for the position, 17 of which met or exceeded the requirements.
Katherine Balch, a resident who has raised concerns over the superintendent search at previous meetings, commented that it will never be known if the board could have attracted a better pool of candidates since the advertisement was never updated.
During public comment, new Plainfield Education Association President Charisse Parker and several PEA members, including longtime bus drivers and aides, took to the mic to express sentiments over the recent changes to their benefits, a loss of insurance coverage and lack of salary increases among them.
Board Attorney Philip Stern stated that it was not the appropriate forum to air grievances, and is typically a confidential procedure. The board was advised not to respond as they listened to the emotional opinions expressed by the PEA members.
Ajaleen Fraizer, the board's student liaison, expressed support for the PEA members, saying they hold the lives of the students in their hands and should be compensated. Wyatt indicated that this was the first time the board was made aware of the issue, but could not comment on as it was a legal matter.
Assemblywoman Linda Carter presented a joint legislative resolution to Plainfield High School senior Jonathan Campos Pinheiro for his accomplishments as an athlete, artist and high school scholar.
Campos received Honorable Mention in the Peace Islands Institute's 2018 Art & Essay Contest for his painting entitled “Unity” that depicts people from various nationalities using vibrant colors. The picture was submitted to the competition by his art teacher, Ana Cordero.
According to Carter, "Jonathan has done some amazing things in his 17 years of life.”
A moment of silence was observed for Dr. Derrick Nelson, Westfield HS principal and former Plainfield teacher in the district at Washington Community School from 2002-2007.