Change is coming to Townsend Harris High School.
After a student protest, parent, faculty and alumni outcry at a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting and a response from the borough president, the school community in Flushing has received an answer from the Department of Education (DOE) regarding interim acting principal Rosemarie Jahoda and the principal hiring process.
After a tense School Leadership Team (SLT) meeting on Jan. 19 at the school, PTA Co-President Susan Karlic informed parents at the monthly PTA meeting that the DOE’s C-30 process to hire a permanent principal would restart as of Feb. 1.
“The C-30 process, which was under investigation prior, has now been closed,” Karlic said. “Now, that frees up our ability to be listed on the vacancy pool. Feb. 1 starts the new period for the vacancy and our name — our school — will now be listed, and we will be collecting principal applications.”
Parents in attendance began to applaud and cheer.
The news comes after weeks of reports of strained relations between Jahoda and the THHS community.
Borough President Melinda Katz also chimed in on her Facebook page after hearing news of the C-30 restart.
“The DOE has informed me that the C-30 process for hiring a permanent principal at Townsend Harris High School is being restarted,” Katz said. “I hope the community’s voice will be heard during this process, which is designed to incorporate public input into the process of hiring a principal. The DOE is drafting a new job posting for the position and I will post it here as soon as it is available.”
Members of the Townsend Harris Alumni Association (THAA) were also present at the PTA meeting and commented on the news.
“This year in particular, the THAA has been very active in reporting what has been going on within the school to the alumni community at large,” said THAA board member Lara Traum. “And that has, in turn, connected a lot of this energy to press, to government, to petitions … All of these things keep the community engaged [in the process].”
Jahoda will continue to serve as interim acting principal and will remain in the pool of candidates.
“We are re-posting the position, and will hire a Townsend Harris principal in accordance with the C-30 regulation,” a DOE spokesperson said. “We continue to listen to feedback from this school community.”
Additionally, the school’s SLT will see a change in leadership as of next month. After the group nominated the candidates and came to a consensus, PTA co-president Susan Karlic and student union president Alex Chen were chosen to replace Jahoda as co-chairs of the group.
According to Jahoda, the change in SLT leadership was recommended by the DOE’s Division of Family and Community Engagement (FACE). Chen asked Jahoda why the change was suggested.
“I think it’s just a matter of wanting to make sure that its clear that this is a committee and the principal doesn’t, you know, direct them,” Jahoda said. “I still would serve as a mandated member of the SLT and still be engaged in the process. But that was a recommendation.”