Montclair BOE President: Statement on Superintendent Resignation

Montclair BOE president Eve Robinson gave Baristanet a statement Sunday regarding news of Dr. Kendra Johnson leaving her position as Montclair Schools Superintendent:

“It is with regret that we will be voting to accept Dr. Kendra Johnson’s resignation as Superintendent of Montclair Schools at our next board meeting. We congratulate Dr. Johnson on her new position. During her time in our school community, Dr. Johnson’s passion, care and advocacy for the children of our district was evident. We thank her for her service to Montclair and our schools.

The Montclair Board of Education recognizes the District’s need for consistent leadership. The Board of Education will be meeting in Executive Session on Monday evening, after our public meeting to discuss a transition plan and steps that will to be taken toward the ultimate goal of recruiting and appointing a permanent Superintendent. That plan will be shared with the community as soon as possible.”

The Howard County Schools Board of Education voted 6-0 to approve Johnson’s appointment as a Community Superintendent with a starting date to be determined.

Dr. Kendra Johnson was appointed superintendent of Montclair Schools back in April 2018 at a special meeting, after the district had three years of interim superintendents following Penny MacCormack’s resignation in 2015.

Dr. Johnson provided the following community letter announcing her resignation:

Greetings Montclair Public Schools Community:

It was with a heavy heart that I submitted my formal letter of resignation on Friday, July 12, 2019 to Board President Eve Robinson. The resignation will be officially accepted by the Montclair Board of Education at the Monday, July 15, 2019 Board Meeting.

During the 2018-2019 school year, the Montclair Public Schools focused on employee wellness. As a result of mindfulness minute exercises, I realized I was not putting my personal wellness first. Since my arrival to the District, I balanced a professional life in New Jersey with a personal life in Pennsylvania. My closest family members and partner live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, he and I have decided to relocate to another state together.

I am tremendously proud of Montclair students and staff accomplishments during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, as delineated in the Successes Document (Montclair 18-19 Successes Document). We focused on doing what was right for students and staff every single day. While change is always a learning experience, Montclair is moving in the right direction by establishing systems, structures and processes to be Great by Design. It is my plan to ensure this work continues. Please note the following highlights:

• Created the Student Equity Advocate Position and an Anti-Racist Regulation to supplement the Board’s Anti-Racist Board Policy.

• Established a strong Restorative Justice (RJ) foundation for staff and students, with four funded school-based Teachers on Special Assignment for RJ, as well as a dedicated District staff RJ leader for the 2019-2020 school year.

• Presented Board approved curricula and/or scope and sequence documents (effective for the 2019-2020 school year).

• Focused on students by establishing Montclair’s RESPONSE (Resources, Efforts and Supports for Proper ON-time Services and Emergencies) for the 2019-2020 school year.

• Implemented a focus on employee wellness for the 2018-2019 school year.

• Recruited diverse candidates which represent our student population.

• Appointed multiple internal candidates for leadership opportunities, growing our own exceptional leaders.

• Created internal systems to promote consistency in programming and supports, such as the District’s First Dyslexia Handbook; the Equity, Curriculum and Instruction Handbook; the Special Education Operational Handbook; Employee Handbook; Revised Response and Intervention Handbook; District Intranet/Staff Portal to be launched for the 2019-2020 school year; and lastly the Annual Professional Development Calendar.

• Focused on community, both internal and external stakeholders, by enhancing communication protocols through parent/guardian e-blasts on the District website; created Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); participated in community meetings and meetings with stakeholders; and developed the internal weekly newsletter to District administrators.

I extend a warm thank you to those in the community who have provided the opportunity to truly assist students. I am equally grateful to those who assisted me to see why Montclair is an amazing community to cultivate authentic innovation. Working collaboratively, it is my hope that the Montclair community will continue to mobilize and advocate for what is best for each and every student, as well as the student population as a collective. There is still so much more to accomplish in the spirit of equity, access and social justice for students, staff and parents/guardians. Hence, you have my full commitment in ensuring there is a smooth transition before and after I physically leave the position of Superintendent, Montclair Public Schools. I love serving the Montclair students, and my dedication to them will underscore my commitment to diligently and passionately serve until my last day in the District.

With warm regards,
Kendra Johnson, J.D., Ed.D.

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