Former Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron expressed “optimism” and wrote that she was “honored” to take on her new role with the South Orange-Maplewood School District in a message today.
She also stated that large-scale initiatives — of which she, the Board of Education, district administration staff, teachers, students and families will be a part — will require “full transparency, collaboration, trust, and dedication.”
Aaron’s message came as part of side-by-side statements by her and Interim Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra today presented in a single document (see below).
The decision to move Aaron into a new administrative role and appoint an interim principal for CHS surprised the South Orange-Maplewood community when it was announced via email at 7 p.m. on Saturday June 30, provoking one group of parents to form the “Emergency Committee to Reinstate Principal Aaron” FB group, which garnered more than 1,600 members.
The removal of Aaron, other district administrative changes and subsequent backlash also elicited a plea from the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race for the district to be more transparent in communicating staff changes.
Aaron had not communicated publicly about the changes until today.
Today, Aaron wrote, “The opportunity to work with students, staff, families, and community partners pre-K12 across our two towns is one I look forward to with optimism. The work done over the past several years in our district on a Strategic Plan, our awareness of our enrollment growth, and commitment to making sure our schools are safe, strong, and nurturing for all of our students and staff are the building blocks of the work ahead.”
Ficarra, in his statement today, wrote that Aaron would aid in “large-scale initiatives” such as the “long-range facilities plan and the restructuring of our schools.”
“Ms. Aaron will research best practices across the nation in school configurations and reorganization efforts. Once the new structure is developed fro grades K-8, Ms. Aaron will work closely with the superintendent to ensure educators, community members, and parents/guardians collaboratively design a seamless and supported transition for students, staff and families. She will help assure that we are designing structures that are not only more effective logistically, but which also create a learner-centered environment in which all students can thrive.”
Read both statements in full here: