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In Your Opinion: We Support Frank Chimel As Next FHS Principal

By John Felix and Linda Darby, Somerset.

The last sentence of Dr. John Ravally’s letter announcing the resignation of Franklin High School’s principal tells parents that the district “will begin actively seeking a permanent principal for Franklin High School as soon as possible.”

Like many like-minded parents who have been advocating/pleading for continuity, consistency, stability and scholarship leadership at FHS, I strongly believe that the “active” search should be short-lived given the pool of well-qualified and proven candidates currently working in our public schools.

Among these candidates and possibly top of the list is Mr. Frank Chimel. During the tenure of our co-PTSO leadership at FHS, Linda Darby and I worked very closely with school administrators and specifically with interim Principal Dr. Tom DiGanci and Mr. Chimel, who was then FHS vice-principal. We met Frank during a parent-orientation meeting at the start of our respective daughter’s 4-year FHS experiences, and immediately saw in him a humble, genuine, authentic educator whose passion for educating and molding youngsters were second to none.

As an incoming administrator, Mr. Chimel was assigned to the freshman class, and throughout the next four years he diligently supported, mentored and supervised this cohort of students until their graduation in 2017. His omnipresence and unique ability to learn/remember the names of all his students, combined with Dr. DiGanci’s affable and student-centered approach to learning, yielded a much-appreciated academic culture of learning and high staff morale and appreciation. As a mentor, DiGanci’s tutelage of Mr. Chimel has positioned him to lead the FHS community as an effective and respected principal who will maintain high staff morale and promote strong academic growth for all students. As FHS vice-principal, among his many achievements is his overseeing of the establishment of a multitude of after-school clubs which he actively encouraged students to create and take ownership of; hence, building on these students’ leadership acumens. Throughout his tenure as an administrator, Mr. Chimel’s collaborative working relationship with the PTSO was consistent, extremely productive and was instrumental in dramatically increasing the PTSO-membership and participation of teachers.

The FHS students, teachers and community deserve, if not demand, stable leadership to ensure sustained staff morale and steady student academic growth. Since its opening day in the fall of 2005, FHS has had nearly as many principals as its existence. Regrettably, nearly all of its “permanent” principals have used our beacon of high learning as a resume-builder. Our BOE and Superintendent must NOT let this pattern of blatant abuse continue. There are qualified, committed, dedicated proven leadership among our current educators; hence, we strongly encourage Superintendent Dr. John Ravally and his cabinet to carefully consider Mr. Frank Chimel’s qualifications and the successful contributions he has made in the lives of our students, particularly the class of 2017.

We invite Dr. Ravally and the BOE leadership to reach out to the community and former FHS students/parents to gauge the level of support for our current long-time educators as potential candidates for the “permanent” FHS principal.

 

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