At Edgemont’s Board of Education meeting on January 12, the sudden retirement of Greenville Elementary School’s Principal Marc Heller was addressed; however, no explanation was given for his decision.
Superintendent Taddiken stated that out of respect for Principal Heller she forwarded his letter, with his words, to the parents of Greenville students along with her own cover letter. While Heller’s letter provided no explanation for his retirement, his letter stated: “the experience of being Principal of Greenville School will serve me well as I face new professional roads and challenges ahead. Many of you may have realized that there is no libretto to our career paths: uncertainty is a fact of human life.” After being asked if Heller was working outside of the district, Taddiken said: “I do not believe Marc is working elsewhere right now, and I really can’t add anything to what Marc wrote in his letter regarding his retirement.” She said it was for “personal” reasons and was unaware of reasons beyond that.
In Tuesday night’s meeting, Taddiken focused on transition plans for the Greenville school. She recommended that the Board approve Edgemont Junior-Senior High School Assistant Principal Jennifer Allen as an Interim Principal for Greenville and that Edgemont’s Instructional Technology Specialist Michael Curtain fill Allen’s Assistant Principal responsibilities at the Junior-Senior High School. This raised concerns from parents, as Curtain is the only technology instructor for all three schools in the district. Taddiken, however, assured parents that other administrative staff would help support Curtain, so he could continue his responsibilities as the district’s technology instructor.
In her letter to Greenville parents, Taddiken wrote that she planned to hold several forums with community members, so they had the opportunity to voice “thoughts about the qualities that [they] deem essential for the next Greenville Principal.” She reiterated several times throughout the meeting that it was Edgemont tradition to do a comprehensive search for the best person, which would include input from the community along the way. Taddiken said she planned to post advertisements in the New York Times, local newspapers, and several education publications this month. When asked if she had a deadline for the search, she said that she would ideally like to have the appointment made effective July 1, 2010, but that is not a “hard fast date. I’m willing to wait two extra weeks, or so, for the best person.”
One member of the community voiced concern that changes in the budget could render Edgemont unable to attract quality candidates. Taddiken assured the community that “despite the state aid currently being withheld from all districts, Edgemont is the kind of place that attracts the best people.” She continued, “I do think we’re in the position to attract quality candidates.”
One parent asked whether there was anyone within the district being considered for the position. Taddiken responded that the only condition necessary for the position was a certification in school building leadership.
Despite the lack of explanation for Heller’s retirement, both Taddiken and parents focused the discussion on the transition period and the future at Greenville school. Taddiken encouraged community members to be involved in the search for a new principal and again reminded parents that it is Edgemont tradition for the whole community to be involved in the search.
Taddiken concluded her thoughts on the issue by telling parents “I’m thrilled to have Jennifer fill in; the school couldn’t be in better hands with the assurance we’re in good shape over here [at the high school].”
Rebecca Greenberg is a graduate of Scardale High School where she was the News Editor of the Maroon. She is currently a senior at the N.Y.U. School of Arts and Sciences and upon her graduation plans to pursue a career in politics.