P.S. 14 ponders principal replacement

The fighting at P.S. 14 is over, but the situation is anything but calm.

Now students, parents, faculty and staff are anxiously awaiting to see who will be appointed as interim principal, and who will ultimately be selected to fill the position that was vacated by Jason Kovac on Thursday, December 23.

Kovac formally announced that he will be leaving the school and taking an assistant principal position in an email to district superintendent Timothy Behr, on Wednesday, December 15. Behr announced the principal’s resignation at a Community Education Council District 8 meeting later that night.

“I have tried to make this work. For whatever reason the principal has decided to resign,” Behr said.

“I tried to make it work. I wanted the community to thrive. That is my intention with the next principal and I expect no less.”

Several teachers were in attendance and let out a collective sigh of relief at the news.

While all of them thanked Behr and CECD officials for addressing their concerns about Kovac – who they said was abusive to teachers and students and ultimately a bad influence on the school, many also expressed their worries about who would be stepping in to fill the former principal’s shoes.

“There have been so many dysfunctional decisions and upheavals, I’m concerned about what happens January 3,” said Lyana Genovese at the meeting.

As of press time, the Department of Education had not selected a candidate to take over for Kovac when classes return on Monday, January 3.

DOE officials said the interim principal will be chosen by a consulting firm, known as the School Support Organization, at the school.

In the meantime district officials will begin the C-30 process, which is the DOE-mandated procedure for finding a principal.

The process includes forming a committee comprised of members of the school community, including parents, teachers and union officials. A member of the School Support Organization will chair the committee.

A hiring manager, which will be Superintendent Behr, will review the applications submitted to a posting on the DOE website, and will select three to five candidates that will be reviewed by the committee.

Behr will consider the recommendation and make the final decision on the new principal.

“I would want somebody with experience, with knowledge of the best practices in education and somebody who knows the community and can help bring the school back to the way it was,” said Kathy Agona, a former teacher, who said she left because of Kovac.

“I would want somebody who is knowledgeable and understands working with a school of receptive parents. Whoever comes in will be bombarded by 100 parents who want to talk to the principal, but were totally shut out before. It would help if it were somebody that they already know.”

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