Question 10 of 20 for 2020 NRBOE Candidates: Adofo Muhammad?

Written By: Robert Cox
  1. The District recently announced the hiring of Adofo Muhammad as the new NRHS Principal who then subsequently withdrew. What are your thoughts on that situation?

Adina Berrios Brooks: Because this is a personnel issue, the details of Mr. Muhammad’s hiring and subsequent withdrawal are not publicly known. It is my hope that the community will be fully engaged in the search for the permanent NRHS Principal this fall.

Katie Castellano Minaya: Policy with respect to hiring of personnel should guide decisions, including communication with the school and community at large. I would hope for more thoughtfulness and caution in the future.

Barbara D’Alois: How is it that no one thought to do a cursory internet search on the person who would take the reins on one of the largest high schools in the state? Conversely, was a search done and somebody thought this was a good idea? Either way, a clear indication of the troublesome thought process that goes into hiring. This must end, NOW. In my humble opinion, the attempt to hire Adofo Muhammad was, plain and simple, pandering. Let me pose this question, can you tell me an instance in which pandering actually led to a successful outcome? The bottom line throughout all of this is that the reputation for the district has become such that it is difficult to attract the personnel of quality and substance needed to fill the vacancies. This is a direct result of the failures of the Board, as a whole, to address the events leading up to where we are at this point.

Christopher Daniello:Did not answer.

Stephen A. DiDonato: As far as I know, Mr. Muhammad declined the offer. At this point there is nothing more to say.

Sharon D. Footes: No comment.

Matthew T. Hirschman: This is one of the most abysmal failures in New Rochelle city school district history. I’m sorry that Mr Muhammad’s story book return to New Rochelle wasn’t meant to be but the BOE handled this horrible from the very beginning. Some very important questions should have been asked BEFORE they offered Mr. Muhammad a contract and I’m sad that this had to be played out in public.

Michael Leone: As a Board member, two of the roles are to hire and oversee the Superintendent, not to hire employees. My role is to question: Did the Board have a policy which would have covered this hiring situation? If yes, then we must ask whether the policy was followed. If not, then the Board must develop a policy to fill the void or revise a flawed policy. In this case, the hiring of a school principal fell to the Superintendent. My role is to question: Did the Superintendent follow school policies? Did she properly vet the candidate? In a case such as hiring a high school principal, I would be curious about the candidate and would conduct my own independent investigation. In the case of Adofo Muhammad, I would not have had to look very far before I uncovered his controversial background. At that point, I would have been prepared to vote NO on his nomination. If all Board members had done some due diligence, maybe his candidacy never would have reached a vote. The fact is Mr. Muhammad was unanimously approved by the Board.

Timothy McKnight: I am saddened by the way this situation was handled. Mr. Muhammad did not receive the opportunity to do the job he was hired to achieve as the new principal of our High School. I wish him well in the future and hope his family is safe and healthy. Many of the particulars regarding his hiring were not made clear, as there have been a number of speculations about how secure his position was at the time of withdrawal. At this point, we must move forward and hope to secure a new principal by this time next year.

Mario A. Scarano: This is a prime example of unprofessionalism at the top that creates confusion and division that weakens our school district.  Who announces a hire without actually hiring the person first. That is what the school district did in this case. The announced the hiring of Adofo Muhammad without him ever signing a contract. No one does this.

Julia Taylor: As a person in the community, I do not want to speculate without having information. According to the letter I received he withdrew because of family issues due to COVID. I am happy to see that NRHS has an interim principal effective July 1, 2020. I hope the superintendent and assistant superintendent of human resources are both following policy as it pertains to hiring.

Donald Vega: The information I found on this issue was limited as well. If what is being said in the media is accurate, then he withdrew for a variety of reasons. There are also questions on associations which I can’t confirm. If I believe the rumors, then no person in the NR ed system should be controversial and a distraction from the education mission. If I believe what Mr. Muhammad says, then he pulled out for personal reasons. Perhaps it’s time to move on from the issue and look towards the future.