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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Popular principal leaves Lincoln Orens
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy of NYC Department of Education
John Barnes at a Manhattan convention in an undated photo. Barnes abruptly resigned as principal of Lincoln Orens Middle School to take a position in New Rochelle, New York.

“Bovino never gave him any support or the tools to make decisions and move the school forward,” said one parent at the meeting, who asked to remain anonymous. “He was bullied out of the school by Bovino. He was kept in the dark about the possibility of tenure and he was given poor evaluations when weaker supervisors got superior evaluations.”

Another parent at the meeting argued that he was treated poorly and left because he saw the “handwriting on the wall.”

“Why couldn’t they have offered him tenure and more money to stay?” a parent at the meeting asked. “We had 300 signatures on a petition asking the district to get him to stay. We could have had 600 if we had more time. Everybody wants him to stay. He rebuilt morale in the school, rebuilt education.”

Barnes has an extensive resume that includes teaching social studies, fourth grade and music and working as a curriculum writer. Most recently, Barnes was chosen in 2008 as one of five people in the Manhattan school district to work as an executive principal. The job of an executive principal is to turn around a failing school, and Barnes’ school was regarded as the most improved school in 2008. When he first came to Island Park from Manhattan in 2011, Barnes said he was excited to bring his experience to a smaller, tight-knit community.

“I feel like with the district being small, it calls for people to wear different hats, to play different roles,” said Barnes. “We have such caring and committed teachers and such wonderful families, I’m so excited to be here.”

Barnes’ hiring in New Rochelle, New York, was not without controversy.

According to the “Talk of the Sound” blog, which covers the New Rochelle community, the Board of Education voted on July 3 to approve the hiring of John Barnes as the new principal at Albert Leonard Middle School to replace outgoing principal Dr. Velma Whiteside. Two members of the board expressed great unhappiness with the hiring process. Barnes reportedly told parents who contacted him after his resignation that he did not really want to speak about why he left Island Park. He was not available to the Herald for comment.

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