Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

UPDATED: BOE Rejects Maplewood Middle School Principal’s Resignation

Editor’s note, May 16, 4:30 p.m.: This article has been updated with comment from MMS Principal Dara Gronau.

May 14, 5 p.m.: This article has been updated with comments from BOE President Annemarie Maini:

The impending resignation of Maplewood Middle School Principal Dara Gronau — which many community members learned about just hours before it was scheduled for a vote at Monday’s Board of Education meeting — was rejected.

During the public speaks portion of the meeting ahead of the vote, several parents voiced support for Gronau, who has led the school for the past three years.

Sara Knutsen, co-president of the MMS Home School Association, praised the principal’s efforts to address the achievement gap, implement restorative practices, win STEM grants and improve PARCC test scores.

“We have witnessed first-hand the passion for her job and care for her students that Principal Gronau has shown day in and day out,” she said. “Not only is she a daughter of this district, she is raising her own children in MAPSO. Her dedication to this community, its students and its future are unparalleled.”

Rachel Fisher, another parent, called it “shameful to have her resign.”

“We have to stop treating administrators as disposable,” she added. “The problems at Maplewood Middle School are structural.”

Two other speakers praised Gronau, with one lamenting that there had been “zero communication” regarding the resignation.

Gronau’s resignation was severed from an agenda item and subsequently rejected as a separate 4-3 vote, with board members Susie Adamson, Elizabeth Baker, Shannon Cuttle and Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad opposing it.

Board members Robin Baker, Anthony Mazzocchi and Johanna Wright voted to accept Gronau’s resignation. Board President Annemarie Maini recused herself.

Maini later told Village Green, “The end result is that Ms. Gronau is renewed for next school year.”

In response to a question from Village Green, Maini sent the following about her recusal: “I recused myself from the select personnel resolutions on advice of board counsel due to my personal and professional relationships. I remind the community that all employees, and their families, have a right to privacy, and when children are involved additional caution is recommended.”

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