The Fort Lee Board of Education voted Tuesday to appoint a new principal at Lewis F. Cole Middle School roughly three months after the school’s former principal resigned.
The board appointed Robert Daniello, currently the principal of Secaucus Middle School, to the post. But the final details of his contract won’t be hammered out until a new board attorney is selected, which school officials anticipate will happen at a special meeting on Monday, Jan. 7.
“The resolution itself is that we will be hiring this person; we agreed to do so,” said Fort Lee Board of Education president Yusang Park on Wednesday. “And as far as the details are concerned, it will be worked out.”
According to the resolution the board passed at its special business meeting on New Year’s Day, Daniello’s appointment is effective March 4 “or sooner” and would run through the end of the current school year.
Park said it would be ideal to have someone in place “as early as possible,” given the situation at the middle school, which has been without a principal since October. But Daniello is contractually obligated to be with his current district until the beginning of March.
“If he could get a release before then, we would like to have that option available to us and to him as well,” Park said.
Daniello will earn a salary of $132,507, which will be “prorated pending negotiations,” according to the resolution. The board is in the process of reviewing RFPs for all of its professional services, including board attorney, according to Park.
“In this case it will be the board attorney’s job to go over the actual terms and conditions with any of our employees, especially in regard to administrators,” he said. “We just don’t have that person in place right now, and that’s why we are planning to hold another special meeting on the 7th to decide who we will appoint to those positions … We have received RFPs, and as of now, we have board members going in and out of the central office examining those RFPs. We’re planning to have those taken care of by the 7th.”
The board announced the Jan. 7 special meeting on Tuesday, but the notice wasn’t expected to go out until Wednesday night or Thursday morning, according to business administrator and board secretary Cheryl Balletto, who said Wednesday that she was still waiting for direction on whether the meeting would just be about vendor contracts or if there would be more items on the agenda.
“There will be a notice going out that there will be a special private and special public business meeting on Monday, Jan. 7,” Balletto said.
The middle school has been without a principal since Robert Kravitz, who was part of an administrative shakeup before the school year and reassigned to Lewis F. Cole from Fort Lee School No. 3, resigned from the post to take over as Superintendent of Schools in Englewood Cliffs in October.
Since then, the school’s Assistant Principal Lauren Glynn and Patrick Ambrosio, an assistant principal at Fort Lee High School, have been working together to run the day-to-day operations of the building and have been lauded by school officials for the job they’ve done.
Update: School officials issued a notice for the Jan. 7 special meeting late Wednesday. The public meeting, which starts at 8 p.m. in the Fort Lee High School library, will include vendor contracts and personnel matters. According to the notice, the school board will discuss personnel, “including the Superintendent of Schools,” at a special private work session preceding the public meeting.