A five month battle to remove Superintendent Janine Caffrey has come to a close unless Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s education commissioner once again overturns the elected Board of Education (BOE) members that originally gave her the job.
I'm sure the people of Perth Amboy would like to personally thank NJ Education Commissioner Cerf for stringing this entire thing out for so long. Of course, he can always override the board's decision; let's see if he has the brass to do so.Caffrey has been placed on suspension and officially notified that her contract will not be renewed when her term expires. She is expected to be replaced by Dr. Vivian Rodriguez during her indefinite administrative leave.
The saga of Janine Caffrey has been a reformy tale for the ages. Hired to lead a large district with little practical public school administrative experience, Caffrey was turned into an anti-tenure star by the Star Ledger's Tom Moran. She quickly got into a war with her board (apparently eggnog was involved), and decided her best course of action was to wage it in public. She was defended by B4K, StudentsFirsts's partner in New Jersey, and Cerf soon stepped in and saved her job. She brought a huge contract before the board for a firm with ties to both Cerf and StudentsFirst; this status of that contract is unknown at this point.
Now she's been fired again. As I've said all along: I have no idea who is in the right here. I do know this entire thing has been a circus, and that we have very little information about Caffrey's allegations against the board. It may well be that she has been persecuted; it may well be she's completely in the wrong. But this never should have gone on this long.
The teachers, students, and parents of Perth Amboy have been ill-served by the NJDOE during this fiasco. My brother and sister educators in Perth Amboy have been the true heroes in all of this; they have soldiered ahead, putting the interests of their students above petty squabbles. Their conduct is the only bright light in this squalid mess.
ADDING: Let's take bets: how long will it be before Tom Moran writes an editorial in the S-L that defends Caffrey and implies the Perth Amboy board is unethical, even though the evidence is not yet in on her charges?
I say Tuesday.