P.S. 14 principal reportedly stepping down

After months of bickering and fighting between the teachers and the administration, the principal at P.S. 14 will leaving his position.

According to several sources, the embattledprincipal, 34-year-old Jason Kovac, is voluntarily stepping down at the end of the month to accept an assistant principal position outside the district. Kovac declined to comment for this article.

“It was his choice to leave. He wasn’t fired, and he wasn’t voted out,” said PTA co-president Diana Colamarino. “I hope now everybody can focus on the children and not Mr. Kovac.”

Kovac will be replaced by an interim principal as school officials go through the C-30 process, which is the standard Department of Education procedure for appointing a new principal.

Kovac has run the school since August 2008. Since then, nearly 20 teachers have quit, claiming that Kovac regularly intimidated and threatened them.

Teachers described being scolded for their bulletin boards, and filing grievances for teachers that question his methods. Parents have also complained that he is inaccessible and inattentive to the students.

Both supporters and detractors held competing rallies at the end of the 2009 school year, but the controversy truly reached a fever-pitch after the school ‘s test scores fell from an A to a C in the most recent DOE progress report.

“If he leaves, it’ll be the best for the school and best for the community. This way it can get back to what it was, an A-class school,” said Bob Franklin, president of Community Education Council District 8. “They need somebody who they can trust to lead them in the proper way. They need a real educator, not a dictator.”

The DOE declined to comment about Kovac, but stated that the school is under investigation by the DOE’s Office of Special Investigation.

Last month, Community Board 10 called for OSI to investigate the school’s fall from being the top in the area to the bottom on the progress report list.

Community board members recently had a meeting with Timothy Behr, superintendent of the district.

“He said he’s been working with the principal, and he’s doing his best to make him aware of the needs of the community,” Kenneth Kearns, district manager with Community Board 10, said. “He said the district will be more responsive to the board in the future and that we have to let the investigation run its course.”

Colamarino said she is sad that Kovac will be leaving the school. She said she was happy about the principal’s efforts to keep teachers accountable for their work and endorsed the large amount of work the students had become responsible for during his tenure.

“I hope the new principal keeps the academics the same, because the students do not need another change,” she said. “They don’t need any more upheaval.”

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