In less than two months from now, two of Branford’s five schools will have new principals. Murphy school will receive Robin Goeler, a well respected educator with more than 30 years experience, all at the middle and secondary level, and Walsh Intermediate School (WIS) will receive Raeann Reynolds, and elementary school principal with more than 20 years experience, finishing her second year at Murphy. In response to requests to reconsider this switch, Superintendent of Schools Hamlet Hernandez has offered few explanations other than generalities like “ultimately, I need to make a decision based on my perspective as a superintendent,” “I don’t do things impetuously,” and “sometimes difficult decisions are made and it falls upon me to have those decisions made with the future in mind” [May 5 story “Surge of Support to Keep WIS Principal”].
Taking Hernandez at his word, doesn’t he owe the community (Board of Education, staff, parents) a more specific explanation for this highly unusual switch of a successful middle school principal to lead a K-4 school, a level at which he has absolutely no experience at a time in his career when his tenure at Murphy is unlikely to be a lengthy one? Why is Hernandez choosing to replace the person most familiar with the middle school and its students on the eve of construction of a new building? Why has there been absolutely no effort to include parents, teachers, and the Board of Education in this decision?
I served under Superintendent Hernandez during my final years as WIS vice-principal and found him a capable leader with a solid educational foundation and am therefore even more puzzled by this decision and the manner in which it was made. What is the real reason Hamlet feels this switch will enhance education in Branford??