Ross Cooper isn't just any ordinary principal, according to parents at the T. Baldwin Demarest school in Old Tappan.
He's genuine. He's loyal. He's one-of-a-kind, they say.
And upon discovering that this year would be Cooper's first and last as school principal, parents and students alike were crestfallen.
Cooper, the co-author of "Hacking Project Based Learning," announced his departure on April 18 in an email to parents.
"I look forward to finishing the year on a strong note, and I plan to spend as much time possible in classrooms with our students, teachers, and staff," he said.
"And, while I'll be present and in communication throughout the remainder of the year, I want to take this time to thank all of you for the support and love I've felt since my arrival, and I can honestly say I've done everything I can to then pour this love into our students while keeping them at the center of every decision I've made.
"So, thank you for making the job a pleasure, and thank you trusting me to serve you and the children."
Sources told Daily Voice that Cooper's contract was not renewed. District Superintendent Danielle Da Giau said she was not legally allowed to discuss personnel matters.
Board of Education President Kurt Linder in an email to Daily Voice said:
"Annually, the Superintendent makes recommendations to the Board of Education for all non-tenured staff members regarding the renewal or non-renewal of their employment prior to May 15th, as prescribed by law. The Board of Education will be discussing this matter in Executive Session on April 29th."
A petition to for the BOE to reconsider their decision regarding Cooper's contract had garnered more than 150 signatures from local parents as of Friday night.
"We, the parents of children at TBD school are asking for the board to reconsider their decision regarding Mr. Cooper’s contract renewal," petition founder Victoria Rosado said.
"Mr. Cooper is an excellent principal. He is a great role model to our children at TBD. His passion, character and loyalty to TBD is hard to find."
Although Cooper's time at TBD has been short, his impact has been profound.
"The atmosphere at TBD has been greatly improved with the arrival of Mr Cooper," one parent wrote on the petition.
"My kids, who were excited about going to school each day, are now broken-hearted that their principal won’t be able to stay. I hope the board will carefully weigh this decision."
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