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This article is courtesy of several Asbury Park insiders.
Read Across America is a fun and exciting day for the children in any district. Asbury Park in no exception. The children thrive on the visits from guest readers who can bring a different perspective to school and the positions people hold outside of education. The Asbury Park School District has 4 buildings and it’s a very easy district to navigate in a fair and consistent manner. And only three buildings hold this event every year in the district and sources tell me they always have a successful day.
This year was a little different as Read Across America was held on two days: Two events were held Thursday for the elementary schools and one event for the Upper Elementary School. Superintendent Rashawn Adams only attended the one at Thurgood Marshall on Thursday because that’s where he sent his minions to attend. He did NOT attend Bradley Elementary even though the Asbury Park Fire, Police, Judge, and others graciously came to support the children. It’s a fun day for everyone. The children get to see different walks of life and careers they can aspire to for success. The event was well attended and why wouldn’t you go there to support your staff as the superintendent?
Several sources close to this writer stated how disappointed they were that Mr. Adams and other Central Office staff did not come to Bradley to support principal Thea Jackson-Byers. Why would he support her? She is one of the veteran staff members that he more than likely wants to get rid of so he can place more inept supervisors and principals in positions of authority to continue his onslaught of bad decisions. For some reason though, he went to Thurgood and of course, had his $100,000 a year (Chanta Jackson, Neptune Board President) staff photographer there to try to make him look like he actually cared. One close source said it was just because he doesn’t respect Jackson-Byers even though she is one of the most beloved principals in the district other than former Athletic Director/Current Administrator-on-Special-Assignment/Adams Nemesis Mark Gerbino.
In an even bigger slap in the face not only to a principal but to all in involved in the planning and preparation for such an event, Adams snubbed MLKjr Upper Elementary School Principal and staff the next day. This time was a bit different though. The MLKjr Upper Elementary School had a cadre of visitors on the list to attend. We were told county commissioners, the Monmouth County Prosecutor, board members, and others were in attendance. We were also told by several sources that Asbury Park Association President, John Napolitani, who is also Mayor of neighboring Ocean Township, personally invited the dignitaries to help his staff and give them some positive uplifting. Just those guests alone should be reason enough for the Chief School Administrator to come to support the event and say hello to these guests.
Well, it gets even better. Monmouth County Superintendent Dr. Les Richens and Senate Education Chair Vin Gopal also attended that event. These two gentlemen are very influential in education and should be treated with respect from the district superintendent. Richens is technically over Adams. Gopal oversees the Commissioner of Education and has been a driving force in the State of New Jersey and has been an education advocate for all children. The mere fact that Adams did not even have the gumption to show up is even more of a slap in the face not only to everyone in that building, but also Richens and Gopal. Sources close to us say the Senator has been helping the district as much as he can because he knows the leadership is questionable at best. Everyone we spoke to had really good things to say about Gopal.
Richens, however, has remained silent. Several sources have told us that the union leadership has been meeting with Richens but they do not have the details of what’s been discussed. We can only surmise that there are not so nice words being said about the Asbury Park School District leadership under Mr. Adams. We understand that the union is pressuring the County Superintendent for help but Richens has remained silent in this approach. He is no different than the monitor, Carole Morris, who basically collects a check to do nothing. She has not held this superintendent accountable for anything and hides behind the fact that she is limited in her powers. If anything, she and Richens should call the Superintendent out on his snub to Senator Gopal.
For those of you that do not know protocol, it’s very simple: If the County Superintendent and a Senator, namely the Education Senate Chair, come to your district, you make every effort humanly possible to attend and greet these two visitors. We have never seen anything like this before and it’s beyond shocking that Adams doesn’t even have the brains to at least act the part. This shows the absolute stupidity on his part in the wake of major education budget cuts in his district. If Adams used his brain, he would be trying everything possible to lobby for his district to receive additional funds. Gopal is the guy he should be talking to in a respectable manner. But he does have a legal right to be stupid so we will not fault him on his decisions.