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RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF
TOWNSEND HARRIS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

WHEREAS, Townsend Harris Alumni Association is a 7,000+ member body representing the alumni of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College (“Townsend Harris”); and

WHEREAS, Townsend Harris Alumni Association was a principal driver of the reestablishment of the school in 1984, and continues to maintain a unique and collaborative relationship with the school, promoting the traditions and values of the school, providing scholarships to students, funding of several programs and participating in many school events; and

WHEREAS, Rosemarie Jahoda was appointed Interim Acting Principal of Townsend Harris in August 2016; and

WHEREAS, The Classic, the student run school newspaper, has reported on numerous incidents revolving around student concerns over Ms. Jahoda’s management of the school and her interactions with students, causing our students distress; and

WHEREAS, On December 8, 2016, numerous students from all grades staged a protest in favor of Principal Jahoda being disqualified from the C-30 principal selection process and in favor of her removal as Interim Acting Principal; and

WHEREAS, Since joining Townsend Harris as Interim Acting Principal, Principal Jahoda has had numerous issues concerning her management of Townsend Harris’ faculty and has been the subject of several grievances filed by the United Federation of Teachers; and

WHEREAS, An on-line petition through Change.org calling for Principal Jahoda to be disqualified from the permanent principal position has garnered over 3,500 signatures of current and former faculty, parents, current students and school alumni and includes many comments strongly supporting that contention; and

WHEREAS, On December 15, 2016, Ms. Jahoda publicly addressed almost 200 parents and faculty members at a Parent Teachers Association meeting in order to answer the concerns; and

WHEREAS, At this meeting, the audience was clearly not satisfied with her answers as she did not provide sufficient or adequate responses to questions relating to her management style, interactions with students interactions with parents and her vision for the future of the school; and

WHEREAS, At this meeting, the Townsend Harris High School Parent Teachers Association UNANIMOUSLY approved a resolution calling for the following actions to be taken by the NYC Department of Education immediately (attached to this resolution as Appendix A):

  • 1. Rosemarie Jahoda be immediately removed as Interim Acting Principal of Townsend Harris High School;
  • 2. Rosemarie Jahoda be removed as a candidate for the permanent principal position at Townsend Harris High School;
  • 3. An independent person from within the Department of Education be appointed to manage the C-30 process for the selection of the permanent principal of Townsend Harris, and that Superintendent Lindsey and Deputy Superintendent Pineiro be removed from this process;
  • 4. Townsend Harris High School no longer be part of the portfolio of schools led by Superintendent Lindsey and Deputy Superintendent Pineiro;
  • 5. The Department of Education as well as Deputy Superintendent Pinerio issue a formal apology to the students of Townsend Harris for her treatment of them on December 8, 2016;
  • 6. The C-30 process for the selection of the permanent principal of Townsend Harris be restarted immediately, commencing with the relisting of the position as well as outreach by the Department of Education to potential candidates worthy of the principal position of Townsend Harris.

WHEREAS, The Townsend Harris Alumni Association desires for Townsend Harris to be a place for students to learn and thrive in a non-threatening, supporting and nurturing environment and is highly concerned of the numerous reports of current conditions at the school as a result of Ms. Jahoda’s leadership; and

WHEREAS, The Townsend Harris Alumni Association further desires for Townsend Harris to be a place that attracts the world class faculty and is highly concerned of the reports of mistreatment of faculty by Ms. Jahoda; and

WHEREAS, Such turmoil is unprecedented in the transitions between school principals over the course of the 32 years since the reestablishment of the school; and

WHEREAS, Rather than serving in the responsible role of caretaker/steward that is expected of an interim acting principal who has not been permanently appointed, it is clear that she has disrupted the program, and become a distraction and hindrance to the proper functioning of the school and the delivery of educational services to students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, The Townsend Harris Alumni Association WHOLEHEARTEDLY and UNEQUIVOCALLY endorses the resolution of the Townsend Harris High School Parent Teachers Association dated December 15, 2016 and strongly supports the efforts of the parents, guardians, students and faculty of Townsend Harris.

Approved by the Board of Directors of Townsend Harris Alumni Association, Inc. on the 16th day of December 2016.


RESOLUTION OF THE PARENT TEACHERS ASSOCIATION OF
TOWNSEND HARRIS ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, INC.

WHEREAS, Rosemarie Jahoda was appointed Interim Acting Principal of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College (“Townsend Harris”) in August 2016; and

WHEREAS, There was significant press coverage surrounding issues with Principal Jahoda’s management of her subordinates at her previous position at the Bronx High School of Science; and

WHEREAS, The issues were documented by Carol Wittenberg, an independent fact-finder and presented in a non-binding report (Special Complaint 13 390 01347 09) dated April 15, 2010, included instances of intimidation and humiliation of subordinates, and included a recommendation that she voluntarily transfer out of the Bronx High School of Science as a direct result of her inappropriate actions towards her subordinates, something not done, and that “letters to the file” written by Principal Jahoda about her subordinates be removed and, essentially discarded; and

WHEREAS, Since joining Townsend Harris as Interim Acting Principal, Principal Jahoda has had numerous issues concerning her management of Townsend Harris’ faculty and has been the subject of several grievances filed by the United Federation of Teachers; and

WHEREAS, Numerous faculty, some anonymous and some non-anonymous, have described Principal Jahoda’s management style as “intimidating,” “condescending,” or “rude,” each of which unnecessarily creates an unwelcoming atmosphere for the faculty; and

WHEREAS, The Classic, the student run school newspaper, has reported that several faculty have indicated that they would plan to transfer out of Townsend Harris should Principal Jahoda be appointed the permanent principal of the school; and

WHEREAS, Under the guise of following proper procedure, Principal Jahoda has unnecessarily delayed certain programs and student excursions causing our students distress whereas with proper and timely communication, such delays would not have been necessary, and

WHEREAS, Students have expressed significant concern that Principal Jahoda has exhibited little interaction in their activities and daily life and shown little accessibility, a marked change from the previous principals of the school, causing a general feeling that she has little desire to interact with the students, and

WHEREAS, The Classic has reported that, in response to the student concerns about her lack of visibility, she expressed an utter reluctance to address those concerns and did so in a profanity-laced manner; and

WHEREAS, On December 8, 2016, numerous students from all grades staged a protest in favor of Principal Jahoda being disqualified from the C-30 principal selection process and in favor of her removal as Interim Acting Principal, and

WHEREAS, Deputy Superintendent Leticia Pineiro was in attendance the day of this protest and spoke to numerous students under the guise of trying to understand their concerns; and

WHEREAS, Deputy Superintendent Pineiro spoke to the student protesters in a demeaning manner and instead of trying to understand their concerns, spoke down to the students and simply dismissed their voices and acted in a manner to solely defend Principal Jahoda, and

WHEREAS, During the student protest, Principal Jahoda stood alongside Deputy Superintendent Pineiro and simply observed as the students were not permitted to voice their concerns in a safe manner, and in fact, many students reported that they felt that her presence was designed to intimidate them, which is an action unbecoming of the leader of the school and consistent with her actions as reported by numerous faculty and the report of the independent fact-finder; and

WHEREAS, Students, in fact, consistently report feeling intimated by Principal Jahoda with one student being quoted in The Classic as saying: “We believe she [Ms. Jahoda] would retaliate personally against us. I fear retaliation;” and

WHEREAS, During the student protest, Principal Jahoda watched as Deputy Superintendent Pineiro spoke to the student protesters in a demeaning manner and simply observed instead of intervening and protecting the students which one would expect in a principal; and

WHEREAS, The interaction between the student protestors, Deputy Superintendent Pineiro, Principal Jahoda was shown as a live podcast on the website of The Classic (www.thhsclassic.com), and continues to be available in the website’s archives, and has been accessed by over 30,000 viewers; and

WHEREAS, The general consensus by those viewers who have commented on this video is that Deputy Superintendent Pineiro’s demeanor and attitude towards the students was completely inappropriate and did not represent in any way that she was there to work with the students as opposed to stifle opposition to Principal Jahoda; and

WHEREAS, Townsend Harris’ has a history and culture of healthy debate and student activism, and the stifling of opposition to a permanent appointment of Principal Jahoda goes against the ethos of Townsend Harris; and

WHEREAS, By not protecting the students during their conversations with Deputy Superintendent Pineiro, Principal Jahoda acted in a manner that put her own personal and career interests ahead of the students she claimed she wished to protect; and

WHEREAS, During the week of December 12, 2016, Principal Jahoda rearranged student schedules to allow herself to defend her actions and essentially make the case for her candidacy for the permanent principal position; and

WHEREAS, Such diversion of critical instruction time to a candidacy speech is completely and whole-heartedly inappropriate and speaks to the prioritization of Principal Jahoda of her own interests over the interests of the student body; and

WHEREAS, It is our understanding that Deputy Superintendent Pineiro is the designated Hiring Manager for the C-30 process for the selection of the permanent principal of Townsend Harris, working with Superintendent Elaine Lindsey; and

WHEREAS, Despite attempts, the participants of the C-30 Level I Selection Committee have been given no information whatsoever in advance of the Level I meeting about how the meeting is organized, outreach to potential principals performed or how selections are made, thereby not allowing the C-30 Level I Selection Committee to do a thorough job in helping to select a world-class principal; and

WHEREAS, The C-30 Level I Selection Meeting was to be held on Thursday, December 8, 2016 and was postponed indefinitely with absolutely no explanation, resulting in the C-30 process likely spanning more than the prescribed three months; and

WHEREAS, An on-line petition through Change.org calling for Principal Jahoda to be disqualified from the permanent principal position has garnered almost 3,500 signatures of current and former faculty, parents, current students and school alumni and includes many comments strongly supporting that contention; and

WHEREAS, The Parent Teachers Association of Townsend Harris is dismayed by the appointment of Principal Jahoda as Interim Acting Principal of Townsend Harris, and the conduct of Deputy Superintendent Pineiro in the management of the C-30 process and her interactions with our students; and

WHEREAS, The Parent Teachers Association of Townsend Harris strongly feels that an appointment of Principal Jahoda as permanent principal of the school will cause irreparable harm to the school and student body; and

WHEREAS, The Parent Teachers Association of Townsend Harris strongly feels that there is no path forward at Townsend Harris for Principal Jahoda, and that the longer she remains at the school, the division between the principal and the various school constituencies will widen; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the Parent Teachers Association hereby DEMANDS the following actions be taken by the NYC Department of Education immediately:

  • 1. Rosemarie Jahoda be immediately removed as Interim Acting Principal of Townsend Harris High School;
  • 2. Rosemarie Jahoda be removed as a candidate for the permanent principal position at Townsend Harris High School;
  • 3. An independent person from within the Department of Education be appointed to manage the C-30 process for the selection of the permanent principal of Townsend Harris, and that Superintendent Lindsey and Deputy Superintendent Pineiro be removed from this process;
  • 4. Townsend Harris High School no longer be part of the portfolio of schools led by Superintendent Lindsey and Deputy Superintendent Pineiro;
  • 5. The Department of Education as well as Deputy Superintendent Pinerio issue a formal apology to the students of Townsend Harris for her treatment of them on December 8, 2016;
  • 6. The C-30 process for the selection of the permanent principal of Townsend Harris be restarted immediately, commencing with the relisting of the position as well as outreach by the Department of Education to potential candidates worthy of the principal position of Townsend Harris.

Approved unanimously at the meeting of the Parent Teachers Association of Townsend Harris High School on the 15th day of December 2016.