Suspended Newark Principals Meet With AFSA President Diann Woodard and CASA


January 23, 2014

Andrea Garvue
(425) 922-5730

Suspended Newark Principals Meet With President of Principals’ Union

Newark, NJ—Pledging full support for Newark’s recently suspended principals, Diann Woodard, president of the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), AFL-CIO met for a briefing with four of the five principals on Thursday. Joined by the City Association of Supervisors and Administrators (CASA), AFSA Local 20, the briefing was held at AFT’s Newark office. All of the suspended principals are members of AFSA and CASA Local 20.

During the meeting President Woodard praised the CASA leadership for building community support and coalitions in support of its members, and Joseph Del Grosso, president of the Newark Teachers Union, an affiliate of the AFT, for his unwavering support for the principals and their union.

“These principals did nothing wrong,” said Woodard. They were suspended for having a voice, which is a basic right of every American and an essential responsibility for school leaders committed to doing what is best for our children.”

Principals H. Grady James of Hawthorne Avenue School, Tony Motley of Bragaw Avenue School, Dorothy Handfield of Belmont Runyan School, Deneen Washington of Maple Avenue School and Lisa Brown of Ivy Hill School were suspended for an “incident” that allegedly took place on January 15. The incident appears to be related to several of the principals attending community meetings held to discuss the school changes and closures scheduled to take place due to Superintendent Cami Anderson’s proposed One Newark plan.

“Superintendent Anderson has seemingly plowed forward blindly, ignoring school leaders and disregarding our input as the people most responsible for running the public schools. And now, in this case, our school leaders are being punished for their input,” said Woodard.

While the terms for the suspension are yet to be defined, Woodard declared her dedication to providing the principals with full support moving forward.

“As Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.’ We cannot afford to sit in our offices with our doors closed and think everything is going to be alright. We must take action for what is right.”