MAPLEWOOD, NJ - For the second time in two weeks a South Orange - Maplewood School District (SOMSD) elementary school is seeing a change in principal, as the school board voted to appoint an acting principal for Seth Boyden, but with no explanation.

The board voted, 8-0, on the appointment on Saturday, with board member Robin Baker absent. 

The vote occurred at a special budget meeting Saturday, where the appointment was added just before the gathering began. The board appointed Raquel Horn, Seth Boyden assistant principal, to the acting post with a salary of $120,169 annually.

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There was no indication as to why Seth Boyden principal Damion Frye was being replaced, at least temporarily. Sources indicate it is related, at least in part, to his alleged mistreatment of a staffer.

The vote comes several weeks after the board appointed an acting principal for Marshall School, Shannon Glander, to replace Bonita Samuels, who was placed on paid leave. 

Asked to comment on why the Seth Boyden appointment was made Saturday, Board President Elizabeth Baker and the board attorney indicated they could not comment, citing personnel reasons.

Interim Superintendent Thomas Ficarra sent an email to Seth Boyden parents Saturday that offered no specific reasons:

Dear Seth Boyden Community,

At today’s Board of Education meeting, Seth Boyden Assistant Principal Raquel Horn was appointed to serve as Acting Principal of Seth Boyden School, effective February 5, 2018.  “Acting Principal” is a temporary title, designating who is in charge when there is still a Principal in the position, but that person is unavailable.  


Dr. Thomas Ficarra

Interim Superintendent

Sources have indicated, however, that Frye’s removal from the top post follows complaints related to his alleged treatment of a teacher. Frye did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Frye became the principal of Seth Boyden in 2016, replacing retiring principal Mark Quiles.

As for Samuels, the board voted Saturday to appoint her as a “principal on special assignment” at an annual salary of $143,091. Asked to explain that position, the board also declined.