Sunday, January 17, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Resignation of Dr. Lorraine Cella

As Dr. Cella indicated in her resignation letter, "We worked hard to accomplish our goals and to establish solid programs building on the strengths of the past as we moved to the future."

During her two and a half years at Hoboken High School, Dr. Cella built on past strengths and expanded on that foundation to be awarded two consecutive Bronze Awards by US News and World Report for recognized excellence in New Jersey High Schools. Additionally, Hoboken High School was designated the second most improved high school in the state by New Jersey Monthly. These were unsolicited awards based on objective and mandatory data reported to the State. She initiated the Columbia Writing Project (a collaboration with Columbia University), a brand new Apple Computer Lab and expanded it's PC lab, oversaw a major expansion of the media arts, supported the State recognized Theater Arts program and actively participated in the curriculum revision process of the district. Moreover, with Dr. Cella's leadership a 9th grade induction support system for incoming freshmen was established as well as faculty "study groups" where she oversaw internal professional development of her fine staff. This year, Hoboken High School made "AYP"- an official designation indicating "adequate yearly progress"- a rigorous standard set by the State.

More than all this, Dr. Cella brought a humanist centered pedagogy to Hoboken High School. She showed she cared and demonstrated her excellence as an educational leader not by intimidation but by being professionally approachable; not by being pompous, but by being humble at the challenges of urban education, and not by creating a building where not a sound could be heard, but rather by creating a community of learners where discourse and discussion was valued and recognized. Dr. Cella loved the City of Hoboken and she adored the students of Hoboken High School.

Commentary: It is my opinion that concerned citizens and parents who are sincerely invested in the general educational direction of the Hoboken School District and specifically Hoboken High School should inquire very critically about the specifics surrounding the "various circumstances" Dr. Cella cited in her resignation letter. One must wonder aloud and to our district leaders why an Ivy-League trained professional and state certified administrator like Dr. Cella- who demonstrated clear, objective and independent positive results, saw no alternative other than to leave the school she loved and the students she treasured? It doesn't make sense---and that is my point. -Dr. Petrosino

picture: Under the leadership of Dr. Cella and her staff, Hoboken High School won consecutive Bronze Medal Awards from US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT for top quality high schools in the State of New Jersey. She inherited a good school and took it to the next level.