Former Kearny Principal Baumgartner finds refuge in Harrison


Cynthia Baumgartner, whose contract as Kearny High School principal wasn’t renewed by her employers, has a new job in neighboring Harrison.

Harrison Schools Supt. James Doran confirmed last week that the Harrison Board of Education voted May 16 to hire Baumgartner as director of instruction for preK to grade 12, effective July 1.

Her pay has yet to be negotiated but Doran said the position calls for a salary range of $140,000 to $165,000 a year.

“We’re excited to have her,” Doran said. “Her credentials and performance history are exemplary and it tickles me t o have her. She’s a very handson instructional leader and that’s exactly what this district is looking for.”

Doran said Baumgartner was selected from a group of seven candidates, both from within and outside the Harrison school district. “She was our No. 1 choice,” he added.

Baumgartner will be replacing retired Harrison school administrator Robert Grajewski, former district curriculum director, and will also handle du ties previously performed by nowretired special projects/ data analyst director Steve Sieradzki, according to Doran. The combined salaries of Grajewski and Sieradzki totaled more than $300,000, he said.

One of Baumgartner’s skill sets, Doran said, is that “she’s able to utilize data systems to help improve instruction.”

As part of her new job, Baumgartner will be focusing, in particular, on upgrading elementary school students’ writing skills and high school students’ math abilities, Doran said.

Doran said the Harrison district is still seeking a director of early childhood and a director of special services.

It’s unclear at this point whether Baumgartner – whose job as Kearny High principal ends June 30 – still has unf inished business in Kearny since Kearny school trustees never gave a reason why they failed to renew her contract beyond this school year, thereby depriving her of a chance to achieve tenure in the position. She has the right to request a hearing before the Kearny school board.

– Ron Leir

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