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I.S. 228 principal comes under fire - Parents fume as rumors swirl about DOE plan to oust Caniglia

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Is a beloved principal being pushed out? For the last three weeks, rumors have swirled that city Department of Education (DOE) officials are trying to kick Rose Caniglia out of her post at I.S. 228 David A. Boody School for Magnet Studies – and that has parents fuming. They insist that DOE reps are “nitpicking” to find a way to remove the principal, who lacks tenure and the job security it provides. “She can’t tell us what’s going on, but she’s been having a lot of calls to the region and we feel that they are trying to push her out,” said Tammy Lam, president of Boody’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). With the city set to dismantle its regional structure and those staffers searching for other jobs, some parents wonder if Caniglia may be asked to leave so a displaced regional administrator can take her position. “There’s a need for open slots for principals and she’s non-tenured,” said Martha Bell, whose son is in the seventh grade at Boody, which is located at 228 Avenue S. When reached by phone, Caniglia said DOE protocol prevents her from commenting for this story. All a DOE spokesperson would say was, “She’s a probationary principal about whom there are serious questions regarding her ability to lead the school.” If the DOE is in fact trying to remove Caniglia from Boody, there must be an official reason. But parents can’t image what possible reason could be offered to justify the dismissal of an administrator who they say turned around the once-troubled school. “I don’t know what the reasons are,” Bell said. “I know that they’ve been trying to find little things. As far as I know, they were upset that she was absent when she broke her arm before Christmas.” Bell said Caniglia was absent for just one week but during that time was always available via phone. “She was on the phone from eight in the morning to six at night,” said Francesa Whelan, first vice president of Boody’s PTA. “She was on the job.” A source familiar with the situation said allegations have arisen that Caniglia may have not called in sick during those days. But, “if she did something horribly illegal, she wouldn’t be sitting there anymore. It’s all nitpicking,” said Whelan. Caniglia has also received support from Assemblymember William Colton. “I know Principal Caniglia and admired her community involvement and how she brought the school up in its annual proficiency ratings within these past two years,” he said. Parents credit Caniglia with making academics the focus of Boody once again. When she was appointed principal two years ago, it was after a troubled time when her predecessor was criticized for being unwelcoming to parents and trying to dismantle the school’s successful chess program. In a letter Boody’s PTA sent to this paper, the group noted that Caniglia has worked to get the chess program back on track and has started basketball, soccer, and flag football teams. Carmine Santa Maria, a member of District 21’s Community Education Council (CEC), said Caniglia has been actively involved in the community. “She’s always available for us,” he said. “I’m surprised that they’re picking on such an excellent educator.” Regardless of what the future holds for Caniglia, parents want to send a message to the DOE – keep parents informed about what’s going on at their children’s schools. “Even if they’re getting rid of her, they should have the decency to let us know what’s going on,” Whelan said.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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