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Queens Academy operating without permanent principal since January – QNS.com

Queens Academy operating without permanent principal since January

By Alex Robinson

Weeks after allegations surfaced that the city was not upholding hiring rules at Queens Gateway to Health Sciences, teachers at a Flushing school supervised by the same superintendant said they are facing similar problems.

Queens Academy High School teachers and parents said the city Department of Education has let a 90-day cap to hire a new principal go by without any indication of whether or when the so-called C-30 process used to hire principals and assistant principals will begin.

The school’s last principal, Beverly Short, retired at the end of January and the request for applicants to replace her was posted on the DOE’s website Feb. 18.

Under C-30 rules, the superintendent or principal acts as hiring manager, depending on whether a principal or assistant principal is being hired. After a position is posted on the DOE’s website, the hiring manager is required to present the best three to five candidates to the C-30 committee, which is made up of teachers, parents and students from the School’s Leadership Team.

The committee will then rank the applicants and make a recommendation to the hiring manager, who will make the final decision.

The process, meant to give students, teachers and parents a say in selecting school administrators, never started, members of the school’s Leadership Team said.

“The SLT has not heard a single word,” said Jenny Squires, an English teacher who has taught at the school for more than 20 years and serves as its the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader.

The school’s superintendent, Juan Mendez, also supervises Queens Gateway to Health Sciences, at 160-20 Goethals Ave. in Hollis Hills, where parents, teachers and students believed the C-30 process was skirted in 2012 to benefit an acting principal at the school.

In March, Queens Academy’s interim acting principal, Vasilios Manolios, a candidate for the principal position and who was previously an assistant principal at the school, sent an e-mail to Squires, who serves as the SLT’s secretary, that he was going to organize the orientation for the start of the C-30 process.

Knowing Manolios should have been barred from being involved in the process because he was an applicant, Squires contacted the DOE to prevent him from proceeding.

“We found it strange because the person who was applying for that job shouldn’t have that kind of information,” said Alexandra Joseph, a guidance counselor, who is the chairwoman of the SLT and also received the e-mail from Manolios. “It isn’t fair to other candidates.”

Manolios, who refused to comment for this story, did not go through with organizing the orientation after Squires contacted the DOE.

Since then teachers and parents who serve on the SLT have not heard anything from school administrators about the process.

“The 90 days has long passed and we’ve heard nothing of the C-30,” Squires said.

Squires, who has sat on four C-30 committees in the past, said she believes Mendez is dragging his feet with the process in order to try to get the candidate he favors, who she believes is Manolios.

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña would still have to sign off on Mendez’s final decision in the C-30 process. Squires said she believes the fact she went above Mendez’s head to the DOE when Manolios tried to organize the orientation has made him uncooperative in the process.

Mendez, who supervises Districts 24, 25, 26, 28 and 29, referred all enquiries to the DOE, which said while C-30 rules require that vacancies should be filled within three months of the date of the posting, there may be circumstances that prevent adherence to the suggested three-month time frame.

The delay has left parents and teachers scratching their heads.

“It seems there is something going on I can’t put my finger on,” said Robin Baugh, whose daughter attends the school, at 138-11 35th Ave. in Flushing.

Queens Academy also has a campus, at 142-10 Linden Blvd., in Jamaica.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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