LONG VALLEY, NJ — The Washington Township Board of Education announced the appointment of Christopher Perruso as principal of Benedict A. Cucinella Elementary School, effective August 1.
Perruso will succeed Melissa Keiser, who resigned from her position at Cucinella Elementary School after two years.
“I take it with great honor to become the next director of Cucinella, I also want to say that having been there for two years, I am extremely excited to be here. It’s an incredible school, it’s a great learning community, and I’m so happy to be able to lead this community,” said Perruso.
During the public comment period, members of the Cucinella community expressed concerns about Keizer’s “sudden” departure.
“I’m such a proud parent of Cucinella. They’ve done an amazing job, and that said, I’m really disappointed with the process. I feel, unfortunately, that politics has seeped into Cucinella. We’re losing another This is a revolving door for principals for several years,” said Walter Curioni, a relative of Cucinella.
Keizer was named principal of Cucinella Elementary in the summer of 2019 following the resignation of former principal Monica Whitmore.
The next parent to speak at the public session was Taryn Mansolino, who expressed similar sentiments, saying, “When I heard Keizer quit I was shocked, then when I heard that ‘She wasn’t leaving because she was offered another job or because she was moving or because of personal reasons, a huge red flag was raised for me.”
Mansolino asked the board members why an investigation into his resignation had not been conducted, and she claimed that one of the board members voted against rehiring Keizer due to his personal agenda.
Jessica DeCicco, chair of the board, quickly dismissed that claim.
“Can I correct the misinformation, please? Just to clarify, the first year Ms. Keizer was set to renew her contract, several board members, including myself, voted no I’m not going to go into detail on this…. Whenever there is a question of whether a board member may have a conflict of interest, we discuss with the board attorneys the issue. whether the conflict exists and, if so, to what extent the board member must abstain from action and decisions,” DeCicco said.
Perruso officially assumed the position of vice principal at Cucinella Elementary after being appointed by the board in August 2020.
“I want to address one thing about stability. I know that’s definitely a concern and I want to assure everyone here in the audience. I think my record shows that I’m not someone who leaves very I served for 17 years in Florham Park before I came here, so I think it’s a testament to my long-term commitment to the district,” Perruso said.