NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 10, 2012

Top school brass on leave

'Personnel matters' remove Page School principal, special education director from posts

WEST NEWBURY — Two top Pentucket Regional School District administrators — including the popular principal of the Dr. John C. Page Elementary School — have been on paid leave for a week and it’s unclear when — or if — they will return.

Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen confirmed on Friday that Page Principal Jack O’Mara and Jack Tiano, the district’s director of special education services, have not been at work since Dec. 3.

Mulqueen said he can’t speak in too much detail about the situations because they involve personnel matters.

“All matters related to personnel issues are confidential and cannot be confirmed,” Mulqueen said.

But according to the superintendent, the reason for Tiano’s departure is being handled separately from O’Mara’s situation.

“Each personnel issue is treated as separate and distinct. I have to address each person’s specific needs and situation. Even in situations with a related issue, I have to address it individually,” Mulqueen said.

Mulqueen did confirm, however, that the matters do not involve any alleged criminal behavior and that no laws — educational, special educational or otherwise — were broken.

“These are private issues that are personnel related and we are working through them,” he said.

Both men are still receiving their pay while out on leave.

In the interim, Assistant Superintendent Bill Hart has taken over the helm at Page and Mulqueen is overseeing the special education department.

Mulqueen stressed that in his capacity as superintendent, he is taking every action to support Page School and the district, communicate with parents and teachers to the degree that it is possible and promote a climate of respect for all students and staff. He issued a brief memo about O’Mara’s departure to parents and staff last week and met with Page School staff on Thursday.

When reached for comment on Friday, West Newbury Selectman Glenn Kemper responded, “After talking to (Mulqueen), I am confident the personnel matters are being handled by him in the best interest of the district and the kids. He assured me this would not impact the Page building project. “

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