Today’s news:

SE Queens school gets new principal

Students and parents have protested the change, saying the city forced Hickson out of the job, but Paul Rose, a spokesman for the Department of Education, said the five-year leader left the school after seeking the new position himself.

"He is not being moved," Rose said. "He is not being terminated. He is accepting another job he sought."

Hickson did not return calls seeking comment.

He began as an assistant principal at the New Beginnings Center at Brooklyn College Monday, Rose said. The school is an alternative facility within the city's public school system, but additional details on the school were unavailable.

Hickson's last day at Springfield Gardens High School was Friday.

Elizabeth McCullough, a former principal at the Brooklyn Academy, another alternative school in Brooklyn, was named principal at Springfield Gardens High School and started there Monday, Rose said.

A handful of parents and students held protests Friday and earlier this month to voice their objection to the change, Rose said. Many were concerned that a leadership change so close to the end of the school year would have a negative impact on the students, but the Department of Education is working to ensure the students studies and the environment are disrupted as little as possible, he said.

"We will continue to meet with students, parents and staff to ensure a smooth transition," Rose said.

Springfield Gardens is a corrective action school, meaning test scores are below the required standards. The school will be phased out by 2007 and replaced with smaller schools at the same location. The new schools - George Washington Carver High School, Langston Hughes High School and Excelsior Preparatory High School - were slated to open in September.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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