Seth Boyden Parents Oppose School Board Decision to Replace Principal


MAPLEWOOD, NJ - More than two dozen Seth Boyden Elementary School parents and students spoke out at Monday night’s school board meeting in favor of principal Damion Frye, who was not reappointed for the 2018-2019 school year, saying his support and oversight will be sorely missed.

Frye was not reappointed during last week’s board meeting when the governing body approved a long list of non-tenured staff, which did not include his name. The district has not stated why he was being replaced, offering only an email to parents Monday laying out plans for a replacement via a widespread search.

Frye, who is ending only his second year as principal, sent a letter to parents this past week that announced his departure, but also gave no reason. It stated, in part, “although my heart is heavy it is full of wonderful memories and experiences which I will cherish as I look forward to the next phase of my career.”

Sign Up for E-News

He later added, “my time here at Seth Boyden will be a source of inspiration as I continue my passion for building strong school communities, which are creative and help children want to come to school to learn.”

Frye’s departure, slated for the end of the current school year, comes just a few months after he was suspended for several weeks for an undisclosed reason. It was later reported that it was due to his treatment of a staffer, allegedly over a dispute about giving her time to pump breast milk, but the school board did not make an official statement about the suspension, stating they could not discuss personnel matters.

A crowd of more than 100 attended Monday’s meeting, with several dozen speaking up in favor of Frye and demanding he be reappointed. Several people even carried signs of support with messages like "Keep Frye" and "Don't Say Bye to Mr. Frye."

“I felt compelled to come to talk about who I see as a person who loves education,” said Nica Davidman, a Maplewood resident and Seth Boyden parent. “In education, we see a lot of people who love it and a lot of people who do it as a job … what I see in Mr. Frye is a really dedicated, engaged educator who loves his work … it would be a shame for this community to cast him away.”

Allyson Murphy, a South Orange parent, agreed: “I’m a huge advocate of Seth Boyden and of this principal, whose brought enthusiasm, creativity and spirit to this school. None of us are perfect … we believe in this principal and ask you to reconsider.”

Mitch Center, who helped launched an online petition supporting Frye that had already garnered 300 names as of Tuesday morning, said simply: “Please reconsider bringing Mr. Frye back for next year … he’s brought innovation to Seth Boyden.”

David E. Miller cited a personal incident that Frye helped resolve during his comments to the board.

“My fifth-grade daughter was the subject of severe bullying and thanks to Mr. Frye’s intervention that problem was nipped in the bud,” Miller explained. “And we were very grateful for that.”

Wilmana Bathelemy, a Seth Boyden fifth-grader, received a standing ovation after her heartfelt testimony.

“Mr. Frye has been a very great and inspiring principal and I think that he has inspired over 50 kids as I have been speaking to fifth graders, he’s put in programs that have made me feel better as a person,” she said. “He’s not the only person who has made mistakes, nobody is perfect.”

Katharine Houston-Voss, another Seth Boyden parent, said this move has raised concerns about the school board’s approach.

“He has been kind and patient,” she said of Frye, later adding, “to say I am disappointed is an understatement. To find out this wasn’t his decision and that the BOE has decided not to renew his contract makes me question this board of education that I helped elect.”

Board members did not comment on the issue, following their usual practice of not responding during public comment. No action was taken as the meeting was strictly an executive session, which means it is held behind closed doors. The law requires, however, that the meeting begin in open session and include a public comment portion.

The original board agenda online had set the meeting to start at 7 p.m. and public comment to begin at 7:05 p.m., but after opening the meeting, Board President Elizabeth Baker said that the public comment would be delayed nearly 90 minutes to 8:30 p.m.

Related articles

Parents Petition to Keep Principal of Seth Boyden Elementary School

Seth Boyden Principal’s Suspension Ends, But Still Without Explanation

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

June 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Home Burglaries Reported

June 4, 2018, Burglary; Sometime during the daytime hours, a home on the 100 block of Midland Blvd was forcibly entered.  At the time of the report it was unknown what the proceeds were.

June 4, 2018; Thefts; During the overnight hours a metal rack was stolen from outside of a business on the 200 block of Elmwood Ave.

June 5, 2018; Motor Vehicle Theft; During the overnight hours, a van ...

Fifth Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids Postponed Until September Due to South Orange Pool Still Being Closed

June 14, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 5th Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids, originally scheduled to be held in South Orange on Saturday, June 16, has been postponed until Saturday, September 8, according to an update on the South Orange website. 


The postponement is because the South Orange Community Pool is still closed for the season due to construction delays with the filter ...

Second Year of Maplewood South Orange Book Festival Brings Authors and Readers Together

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Anna Quindlen. Rosemary Wells. Keith Hernandez. Tayari Jones. These are just a few of the authors who were speakers at the Second Annual Maplewood South Orange Book Festival on Saturday.

The book festival, which attracted about 2,000 attendees according to organizers, had a full day of author panels covering a wide range of topics that included "#MeToo: From ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

June 16, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Record Number Attends West Essex YMCA's Sixth Annual Bike Livingston

LIVINGSTON, NJ — On the heels of National Bike Safety Month in May, a new record of nearly 500 Livingston riders participated in the sixth annual Bike Livingston event, a family-oriented bike tour of Livingston’s neighborhoods hosted each year by the West Essex YMCA on the first Sunday in June.

With three routes to choose from—a four-mile route around the ...

Applications to Rutgers Jumps Nearly 10 Percent; Increase From Out-of-State Students

June 15, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from outside New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Students Lead ‘Die-In’ at Congressman Lance’s Office; Summit Boy Arrested

WESTFIELD, NJ — Seventeen-year-old Summit High School student Ben Schachter was taken away in handcuffs Tuesday during a gun safety “die-in” protest led by local high school students at Congressman Leonard Lance's Westfield office. Lance was not present at the office at the time.

“We are organizing this ‘die-in’ at Congressman Lance’s ...

Maplewood Department of Public Works Employment Opportunity: Maintenance Worker

June 19, 2018


Title: Maintenance Worker – Parks/Shade Tree Dept.

Issue Date: 6/18/18       ...

Jersey Swamp Cats in Downtown After Sundown Friday, June 22

Dance under the stars to the swingin’ sounds of the Jersey Swamp Cats when the boys bring their patented piano and guitar driven blues and vintage rock’n roll to Spiotta Park, as part of the Sounds In Spiotta Park DAS concert series on Friday, June 22!

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Spiotta Park, located on Village Plaza and South Orange Avenue.


Founder of Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Award

Each year the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards highlight the spirit of civic engagement among New Jersey’s 1.5 million volunteers and provide Jefferson Awards medals in 22 categories of volunteer service.   

The 2018 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards presentation ceremony and celebration of volunteerism was held at the War ...