Jul 29, 2014

Zoeller Resigns As Westwood Regional Superintendent

The Westwood Regional Board of Education voted to accept Zoeller's resignation effective April 25.

Zoeller Resigns As Westwood Regional Superintendent

Dr. Geoffrey Zoeller, the superintendent of Westwood Regional Schools, resigned from his position effective April 25 via a letter to the school board. The board unanimously voted to accept his resignation at their meeting Thursday.

The board also voted to grant Zoeller a paid leave of absence from January 25 to April 24.

Board Member and former President Carol Mountain, who introduced the motion, said the board and Zoeller had come to a "mutual agreement" that he would resign his position.

Zoeller had been criticized by many for taking home a school-owned truck and generator for Hurricane Sandy, then leaving them there while away on vacation in Florida.

Several board members praised Zoeller for the work he did during his time in the district, noting that test scores rose, facilities and technology were upgraded and "excellent" administrators were hired during his time leading the district.

"We have to give him credit where credit is due," board Member Barbara Gregory said.

Westwood resident Gus Molina, who had previously urged the board to act on the issue before people forgot or stopped caring, thanked them for "doing the right thing."

"As a parent, I feel good about it," Molina said.

Many parents, teachers and other residents had called for Zoeller to resign. Westwood Education Association President Barry Albert said after the incident that the union had taken a vote of 222-19 of "no confidence" in Zoeller's ability to lead the district with integrity.

"I made a monumental error in judgment," Zoeller said at a previous meeting.

The board held several closed session meetings to discuss Zoeller, and ended up appointing Director of Elementary Education and Technology Rory McCourt as the acting superintendent last month. McCourt's appointment lasts through June 30.

Zoeller first joined the district as superintendent in 2006. The Board of Education approved new contracts with Zoeller in 2008 and again earlier last year. His new five-year contract had been scheduled to take affect after this school year.

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