Even though much about the interim principal of P.S. 14 is still a mystery, many parents and teachers are happy a new administration is taking over the school.
On Thursday, December 23, the city Department of Education announced Ira Schulman has been appointed to the position of interim principal at the school. He will begin on Monday, January 3, and will lead the school until the end of the semester, unless district officials appoint a permanent principal to the school before the end of the school year.
“From what I’ve heard, he seems like a good guy to work for. He’s a veteran New York City educator and I’m sure his leadership will ensure solid educational foundation,” said Ben Signore, a parent who was a vocal opponent of former principal, Jason Kovac. “We’re hoping that everything works out. I try to be optimistic in everything.”
Officials with the DOE only said that Schulman was working as an assistant principal at P.S. 16 in the Wakefield area for several years. They declined to comment on why he was selected.
Parents, teachers and the community will be able to meet the interim principal in person at a “meet and greet” event on Wednesday, January 5, at 6 p.m. in the school auditorium.
Those contacted had little, to no details, about Schulman, but most said they were sure the new principal would be better than former principal Kovac, who took over the school at the start of the 2008-2009 school year.
Since taking over, the school’s rating dropped from an A to a C, and about 20 teachers departed, claiming that Kovac was threatening and intimidating.
Many parents also claimed that Kovac was difficult to reach and very inattentive to the needs of their children.
“The old guy, there was something wrong with him, the way he threatened teachers and kids,” Signore said. “I just think we got a bad apple. It happens everywhere.”
Fourth-grade teacher, Noelle Gold, said she is hoping to come back from her childcare leave early, since there is a new administration in charge of the school.
“My intention is to come back as soon as possible,” she said. “I love teaching and I want to go back to teaching for a good administrator.”
The district is now starting the C-30 process to find a permanent replacement for Kovac. The DOE-mandated procedure includes forming a committee with the superintendent, community members, parents, teachers and union officials, and having the committee review applicants to the position.
Superintendent Timothy Behr will make the final decision in the selection process.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, a former teacher, said he is confident the C-30 process will result in a capable principal.
“It’s a process that’s fair, and you put your confidence in it,” he said. “How well that works we’ll see when the new principal is announced.”