Today’s news:

Quinn named to School District 24 super post

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has reappointed longtime Superintendent Joseph Quinn to the top post in School District 24, bringing to a close the school board’s contentious and drawn-out attempts to replace him.

“He has a clear understanding of what it takes to ensure the students in the community receive a quality education,” Klein said in a release.

The search for a new District 24 superintendent has dragged on since 1999, when the newly elected school board voted not to renew Quinn’s contract despite vocal protests from parents who wanted him to stay. Klein’s predecessor, Harold Levy, selected Quinn to serve as interim acting superintendent once his contract expired two years ago, and the process of finding his successor has been repeatedly stalled by assorted grievances and delays.

Parents who met with Klein in recent weeks had advocated for him to hang onto Quinn, who has led the district for the past 13 years.

“I’m thrilled to pieces,” said Gloria Morgenstern, the president of a district parent group. “Our reading scores are up, our math scores are up, our budget is under control. He has a wonderful relationship with the parents, so we’re very happy to have him stay.”

Levy had rejected the school board’s first choice of a new superintendent, PS 12 principal Ronald Costa, and failed to rule on their second candidate, Brooklyn principal James Quail, before leaving his post last month.

Louisa Chan, who serves as school board secretary, said she was “very disappointed” by Klein’s decision.

“For the whole time that he has been serving as superintendent, our district has always ranked second from the bottom,” she said. “I don’t see any real effort put into upgrading instruction, upgrading the students’ performance.”

“The one good thing to keep him is to provide continuity in the district, but that will be a continuity of mediocrity,” she added.

School board member Robert Cermeli, who was in the minority on the board as a Quinn supporter, said the chancellor “made an excellent choice.”

“I happen to think that Mr. Quinn is an excellent superintendent,” he said.

New regulations approved this year in the state Legislature give the schools chancellor the power to choose district superintendents by himself, a duty once shared with the community school boards, which are to be abolished next year.

School District 24 covers the communities of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst and Corona.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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