Resignation of HR Director Tops List of New Rochelle Board of Education Personnel Decisions at Recent Meeting

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The New Rochelle Board of Education has authorized an agreement between the Board and Dr. Joseph Williams under which the Board of Education accepts the resignation of Dr. Williams for purposes of retirement, effective July 8, 2019, after 29 years of service to the District.

The move was one of dozens of personnel decisions taken by the board at a Special Meeting Thursday night.

“The Board wishes Dr. Joseph Williams the very best in all of his future endeavors,” said the Board in a statement.

Talk of the Sound has submitted a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the agreement and related documents pertaining to Williams unexpected departure from the school district on June 27th, first reported by Talk of the Sound. This story will be updated upon receipt of those records.

The unexpected retirement of Dr. Williams who is black has been tied to the controversy over the hiring of Dr. Laura Feijóo as incoming Schools Superintendent. Feijóo who is white is a party to a $90 million lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education and Richard A. Carranza, the current New York City Schools Chancellor alleging reverse discrimination. A group calling themselves The Collective, made up of primarily Black and Hispanic members of the New Rochelle community and various organizations, has vehemently opposed the hiring of Dr. Feijóo based on the allegations in the lawsuit.

The Board also passed a related resolution last night appointing Peter C. Scordo as the Human Resources Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools, effective July 1, 2019 and authorizing an Employment Agreement between Peter Scordo and the Board of Education of the City School District of New Rochelle.

Talk of the Sound has submitted a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the employment agreement.

Among other notable actions of the Board last night was the re-appointment of Carl Thurnau as Director of Facilities, the termination. effective August 19th, of Focus Media, a PR firm, and the appointment of Plinio Trujillo as Assistant Principal of Isaac E. Young Middle School who is replacing Frank Carlson who resigned.

Also, Rachel Cornelius was appointed as Interim Assistant Principal of New Rochelle High School. The position had been held by Camille Edwards-Thomas after Joseph Starvaggi was named Interim Principal of New Rochelle High School last summer. The position became open after the board recently announced that Edwards-Thomas was assuming her permanent position as Assistant Principal at Albert Leonard Middle School. She had been appointed to that position a year ago but was asked to serve a year as Interim Assistant Principal of New Rochelle High School after the sudden departure of former Principal Reggie Richardson under confused circumstances in the summer of 2018. The board has had an active search underway for a new Principal at New Rochelle High School since last Spring. While Starvaggi is widely believed to be in the running for the permanent job, the Board has yet to announce a decision.

The Board approved settlement agreements with two employees whose names were withheld.

The next scheduled Regular Meeting of the New Rochelle Board of Education is Tuesday, August 6th at 7:00 PM in the Board Room on the Second Floor at New Rochelle City Hall. The Board anticipates making a motion immediately for an Executive Session, and will announce the pertinent topic(s), and then a motion to reconvene the public session at 7 PM.

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