Alpine Board of Education Faces Scrutiny Over Teacher’s Termination

In a heated session of the Alpine Board of Education, the recent termination of Mrs. Gail Quinn, a teacher at Alpine Public School, became a focal point of public concern, with claims of discrimination related to health issues and widespread commendation of her abilities.

The board meeting, which took place on June 26, 2023, saw a substantial number of attendees, including board members Mrs. Maria DiBiase, Mrs. Maureen Cheesman, Ms. Christine Lewis, Mr. Shai Barbi, and its president, Mr. Philip Simotas. While several significant financial and administrative decisions were discussed, it was Mrs. Quinn’s termination that clearly dominated public interest.

Mrs. Quinn herself took the stage, voicing concerns over the perceived discrimination tied to her health issues as a reason for her termination. Backing her, several parents and community members like Michael Perelman, Hanna Perelman, Shabi Najafov, Jill Thekkekara, and Vanessa Barrera lauded her contributions as a teacher. The undercurrent of the discussion revolved around the notable positive impact Mrs. Quinn had on students, and a prevailing sentiment of confusion and disapproval about her dismissal.

Superintendent Maureen McCann responded by elaborating on Mrs. Quinn’s performance, though details of her tenure termination remained scarce. Mrs. Quinn countered McCann’s comments by explaining her use of another teacher’s plan due to her illness, emphasizing the humiliation and intimidation she felt during her time.

Colin Quinn, presumably a relative, armed with a timeline of events, questioned the board’s rationale in offering Mrs. Quinn contracts over an extended period if her performance was indeed unsatisfactory. The board president, Mr. Philip Simotas, retorted by praising the school’s growth under Mrs. McCann’s leadership, asserting the competence of the board’s decisions.

Beyond the intense debate on Mrs. Quinn’s dismissal, other critical decisions included the allocation of significant financial resources and a donation acceptance of $16,649 from the Alpine Home and School Association, intended for outdoor sign installation.

Approval of several administrative matters such as Petty Cash Funds for the school office and the submission of the Right to Know Survey was also done. Resolutions allowing the School Business Administrator to transfer anticipated surplus revenue and approve various actions without awaiting board meetings reflected the board’s emphasis on financial dexterity.

The session ended with recognitions and future planning. Stephanie Bailey, an Art and Technology Teacher with over 12 years of service, was honored upon her disability retirement. Employment agreements for the upcoming academic year were approved, and several resignations were acknowledged.

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