Principal shakeup in the SOMSD

Marshall School

MAPLEWOOD / SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — In just a few weeks, two South Orange-Maplewood School District principals have been removed from their original posts.

Marshall School Principal Bonita Samuels was placed on paid leave a few weeks ago following public outcry concerning allegations that she texted a photo of a teaching assistant, a little person, to a colleague along with an offensive message.

At its special Feb. 3 meeting to discuss the budget, the SOMA Board of Education voted to bring Samuels back as a “principal on special assignment.”

According to a source within the school district, Samuels will most likely be assigned to the central office to work on curriculum or a similar endeavor. This source stated that, while the investigation is ongoing, several teachers had voiced their discomfort with Samuels returning to Marshall.

Also at its Feb. 3 meeting, the BOE voted to suspend Seth Boyden Principal Damion Frye with pay. According to the source, this move came following allegations that Frye would not allow a teacher to take time to pump milk for her nursing baby.

Board of Education President Elizabeth Baker declined to comment, as the board is not allowed to comment publicly on personnel matters. SOMSD spokeswoman Suzanne Turner also declined to comment, as the district is “prohibited by law from commenting on personnel matters.”

Currently Shannon Glander is acting principal at Marshall School and Raquel Horn is acting principal at Seth Boyden School.