We Demand Dr. Maryrose Caulfield's Resignation
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Our district has become paralyzed under Superintendent Dr. Maryrose Caulfield’s leadership due to an apparent lack of integrity, honesty, collaboration, and professionalism. Staff and parents are being intimidated and are fearful of retribution when asking questions and voicing concerns. Dr. Caulfield’s decisions lack coherence and an understanding of the district’s needs. Dr. Caulfield has routinely demonstrated a willful disregard for the district’s right to have the rationale behind changes communicated. She has failed to seek to develop support, and be open to the feedback of those affected.
Dr. Caulfield has a pattern of violating district policy as evidenced in the information below:
Violated Flemington Raritan Regional Board of Education Policy 1230:
1. Dr. Caulfield has deliberately and knowingly failed to “Ensure all aspects of district operation comply with Board policy, State law and district contracts” by recommending the elimination of the Assistant Superintendent position in violation of the deadlines outlined in his employment contract. (1230.A.1)
2. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Report to the Board on the needs of the district” by basing her recommendations on data that is inaccurate, misinterpreted, or mischaracterized. (1230.A.2)
3. Dr. Caulfield has failed to properly “Advise the Board of any changes or additions that should be made to its policies” by recommending changes without involving stakeholders in a meaningful way, not investigating current procedures, and not considering the feasibility of her proposed changes. (1230.A.3)
4. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Provide the Board with such information as may be needed to ensure the making of informed decisions” as evidenced by the fact that Board members were recorded in the audio from the March 27th, 2017 board meeting discussing their lack of prior knowledge about her district reorganization plan in advance of said meeting. (1230.A.4)
5. Dr. Caulfield has failed to coherently “Evaluate the future needs of the district and recommend a district action plan including goals, objectives, and priorities to the Board” as evidenced by the lack of a collaboratively developed needs assessment and Board approved Strategic Plan. (1230.b.2)
6. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Evaluate progress toward the attainment of the district action plan and report thereon to the Board.” Although goals were shared in October 2015 and 2016, there is little evidence to suggest that some of the goals were ever completed or reported upon at a Board meeting. (1230.B.4)
7. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Assign staff so as to achieve maximum effectiveness in the attainment of educational goals” by selecting staff for positions based on personal relationships rather than an objective review of their qualifications and experience. (1230.E.2)
This is also of great concern as Dr. Caulfield, in selecting staff for positions may have violated NJSA 18A:12-24 (b), which concerns conflicts of interest.
8. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Recommend changes in staffing patterns based on the evaluation of staff and program effectiveness” as evidenced by her failure to seek understanding of the responsibilities of the Assistant Superintendent’s position or the impact of the elimination of said position on other administrators, as well as its negative financial impact prior to recommending her reorganization plan. (1230.E.5)
9. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Strive to make efficient use of district resources in the daily operations of the schools” by eliminating monthly meetings with the Administrative Council; mandating New Reader’s Workshop without any approved curriculum; Adopting a grades 1 and 2 phonics program that was not approved by Council of Instruction; adopting a grades 1-4 "Knowing Science" program that was not presented to, nor approved by Council of Instruction; new student management system implemented with no input from staff and no available training; implemented a new gradebook program with little to no input from staff, and again no available training; and no meetings with the staff as a whole, as well as no meetings with the Child Study Team since at least November (1230.F.1)
10. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “Strive to interpret the needs of the school to the public and the concerns of the public to the Board” as evidenced by the lack of a Strategic Plan, the lack of parent-outreach until very recently, the defensive posture she assumes when communicating with the public, and the lack of responses to questions posed by members of the public during board meetings and at her self-titled “Coffee with Caulfield” (1230.H.1)
11. Dr. Caulfield has failed to “As appropriate, involve members of the public in the review of district needs, community needs, and the operation of the school programs” as evidenced by the concerns that have been repeatedly voiced at recent Board meetings. (1230.H.2)
Violated Flemington Raritan Regional Board of Education Policies 3351 and 4351 Healthy Workplace Environment, which states that:
“A significant characteristic of a healthy workplace environment is that employees interact with each other with dignity and respect regardless of an employee's work assignment or position in the school district. Repeated malicious conduct of an employee or group of employees directed toward another employee or group of employees in the workplace that a reasonable person would find hostile or offensive is unacceptable and is not conducive to establishing or maintaining a healthy workplace environment. This unacceptable conduct may include, but is not limited to, repeated infliction of verbal abuse such as the use of derogatory remarks; insults; verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person's work performance.”
Dr. Caulfield has resorted to name calling, as in using the term
“terrorists” to describe our nurses, as well as taunting staff by referring
to them as the “inmates running the asylum.” She also
stated in an email sent to the entire district that the Teachers’ Union
members are “coercive, controlling, intimidating and closed-minded.”
Violated Policy 9128, Climate Surveys, which requires an annual climate survey and states that,
“The Board of Education believes that in order to achieve these objectives, it is critical the Administration and the Board have clear and objective insight into how stakeholders such as parents and staff perceive the performance of the district. This policy establishes a requirement that these key stakeholders are surveyed on an annual basis. Furthermore, it requires that the Administration share the resulting data and analysis so that opportunities for improvement can be identified, and plans to address them can be developed.” (9128.1)
A climate survey has not been conducted under this administration.
Violated Policy 9100.1, Board of Education Communication with Public, Citizens Address the Board, which requires the superintendent, at the direction of the Board president, to:
1. Respond to inquiries at that time if information is available;
2.Provide a response before the next Board of Education meeting should the matter need further consideration; and
3.Report back to the Board how the matter was addressed or resolved at the next Board of Education meeting.
Violated Policy 3381, Protection against Retaliation, which states that:
“The Board of Education will take no retaliatory action, by discharge, demotion, suspension, or any other adverse action, against an employee because that employee has conscientiously: Disclosed or threatened to disclose to a supervisor or public body an activity, policy, or practice of this Board or any district officer that the employee reasonably believes to be in violation of law or rule.”
While the Board has not conducted an investigation, it seems clear that at a minimum, Dr. Caulfield took provocative actions with the intent of harassing and intimidating three experienced, tenured administrators from returning after Board approved medical leaves. If proven, these actions would constitute a violation of federal and state laws regarding discrimination and the Family Medical Leave Act.
Violated Policy 2262, Civility, for which the basic purpose is in part:
“To promote a work and learning environment that is safe,
productive, and nurturing for all staff and students, and to
encourage the free flow of ideas without fear or intimidation; and
[t]o provide our students with appropriate models for respectful
It is now well documented in the minutes and audio of previous
Board meetings that Dr. Caulfield has actively used
intimidation to discourage the free flow of ideas by instilling fear
of retribution should anyone contradict or question anything she
Furthermore, Dr. Caulfield is failing to provide our students with
appropriate models for respectful problem-solving by resorting to
name calling as in using the term “terrorists” to describe our
nurses, as well as taunting staff by referring to them as the
“inmates running the asylum.” She also refuses to speak to the
Teachers’ Union, and stated in an email to the entire district that
they are “coercive, controlling, intimidating and closed-minded.”
For these reasons, and others not specifically included at this time, we, the undersigned, as Stakeholders in the Flemington-Raritan School District, call upon Dr. Caulfield to resign immediately. She has lost the moral authority to lead, and it is in the best interests of our children and staff that she steps down. If Dr. Caulfield refuses to do so, we ask the Board to immediately place her on an administrative leave so as to provide the Board with the time necessary to gather more facts and information, while not allowing Dr. Caulfield to further hamper and disrupt the operation of the District and the education of our students.
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