Members of the “Change for Children” Jersey City Board of Education slate are refuting claims that they have plans to bring back former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marcia Lyles, as well as former assistant superintendent and state monitor Cathy Coyle.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We want to make it clear that we have never been in talks to bring anyone back to fill the role of superintendent. Discussing any position is highly inappropriate and a violation of employee privacy,” Alexander Hamilton, a three-year term candidate, said in a statement.
“More importantly, the Change for Children candidates are not looking backwards at the disorder created by some of the current board members, we are looking forward to a new and positive reality for children, parents, teachers and the school board.”
He continued that it is “entirely inappropriate” for sitting board members to publicly support Acting Superintendent Franklin Walker to succeed Lyles, given that it is “unethical” to get involved with hiring decisions.
The Jersey City BOE voted Lyles out of her post earlier this year, but it wasn’t easy.
Lyles appeared to be terminated on February 1st with Walker, then an associate superintendent, named as her temporary replacement.
However, things got a bit chaotic from there, as the interim county superintendent called the vote “invalid and void,” prompting two more votes on Lyles between February 3rd and 4th – with yet another vote taking place on February 11th.
Lyles is still being paid a six-figure salary after finally being placed on paid administrative leave. She also remains in the midst of an a federal lawsuit where she alleges she was forced to endure a hostile work environment.
Anthony Sharperson, a candidate seeking a one-year term on the board, said that he and his running mates have a great respect for Walker given his decades of service.
“We have great admiration for Mr. Walker. He is a mentor and is looked up to by the community. He has done so much for the city and is a great role model for the more than 30,000 children in Jersey City today,” he said.
Finally, Asheenia Johnson, seeking a three-year board seat, accused the “Education Matters” slate, which is backed by the Jersey City Education Association, of “fear mongering” and propagating lies, rather than looking out for the best interests of the school district.
Jersey City BOE President Sudhan Thomas, a member of the Education Matters team,
“It appears that Change for Children seem to agree with and support our choice for the superintendent of schools, Mr.Walker which is the most important decision and function of any school board member. We take that as a vote of confidence by them in support of our transformative leadership and work that returned local control after 30 years of state control, he said.
“There are obvious factual incorrectness in the release … but I think that stems from their lack of involvement in school board all these years, no one has seen any of them at a JC school board meeting in the last 7 years let alone speak during public comment or advocate for school issues.”