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Principal At Watchung School Resigns

Peter Turnamian has accepted an assistant superintendent position with Newark Public Schools

Principal At Watchung School Resigns Principal At Watchung School Resigns


Watchung Elementary School Principal Peter Turnamian announced Monday that he would resign as principal to take the post of assistant superintendent in the Newark Public Schools system.

His letter to the Watchung school community is below.

Turnamian—whose career has taken him all over the country—took on the role of Watchung principal March 1, 2010.

Previously, Turnamian had served as founder and director of the Greater Newark Charter School. He is a pioneer of the “Data-Driven Instruction” model, whose work was featured in a book, “Driven by Data,” published in 2010.

Only last September, Watchung was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Indeed, Watchung was one of only 305 schools nationwide and one of seven New Jersey public schools—and the only one in Montclair—to receive the recognition from the DOE based on its overall academic excellence. It was the third Blue Ribbon award for Watchung school.

Turnamian's announcement comes as the school district wraps up its search for a new principal at Charles H. Bullock Elementary School. The former principal, Barbara Weller, has taken on the role of assistant schools superintendent.

At the same time, the district has launched a search for a new superintendent to replace Dr. Frank Alvarez, who is stepping down the end of June 2012 after nine years in the job.

Here is the letter from Turnamian emailed out on Monday afternoon:

Dear Watchung School Community,

I hope everyone is well. I am writing to share some important news. This past weekend, with very mixed emotions, I accepted an Assistant Superintendent position with Newark Public Schools. I will be resigning as the Principal of Watchung School at the end of this school year.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to serve as the Principal of Watchung School. The past two and a half years were some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my professional career. I can’t think of another community that does more for its children and teachers than Montclair. The students of Watchung School are simply amazing! I have been very fortunate for the opportunity to know each of them.

The decision to leave was not easy. I also could not be prouder of the Watchung School staff. As you know, the greatness of Watchung School lives in the work of our teachers and staff and it has been a great honor for me to work with each of them. They comprise the very best our profession has to offer. I truly appreciate all of their efforts and I will miss them greatly.

Over the last several years we accomplished much together. In the coming weeks I will work to ensure a smooth and organized transition occurs so the work we began together may continue.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge [Superintendent] Dr. [Frank] Alvarez for his leadership and mentorship during my time at Watchung School. He has been a source of great support and inspiration.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve you. I remain humbled by the trust you placed in me.


Peter Turnamian, Ed.D.

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