Westwood School Board Appoints Acting Superintendent Amid Personnel Changes

In a recent meeting, the Westwood School Board appointed Frank Connelly as Acting Superintendent in the absence of Dr. Jill Mortimer, with a monthly stipend of $5,000, prorated for partial months. Additionally, Bronwen Calderon was appointed as Assistant to the Acting Superintendent with a monthly stipend of $4,166.66, also prorated for partial months. These appointments were made pursuant to an employment agreement awaiting approval from the executive county superintendent of schools.

The meeting began with the board addressing concerns about the urgency and nature of the session, reassuring the public of the absence of nefarious motives, and explaining the necessity due to a personnel issue that could not be publicly disclosed. Public comments were invited, with community members expressing confusion and seeking clarification on the urgency of the decisions made, particularly given the proximity to when new board members are set to take their seats.

The board also moved to rescind prior approval of an arrangement for unnamed staff to receive assignment as Acting Superintendent. It was acknowledged that the previous vote on this matter, which passed 8 to 1 with Irene Fenarjian dissenting, was an error due to unanswered questions surrounding the item.

Questions from the public included concerns about the board’s process in overriding recommendations from the superintendent and the impact of such actions on future board and superintendent relations. The board responded by reiterating the motion details for clarity but did not provide additional context due to the confidential nature of personnel issues.

The meeting concluded without further public comments and was adjourned, leaving the community with assurances that Dr. Mortimer remains with the district, albeit the necessity for interim appointments was not fully disclosed.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Dr. Jill Mortimer
School Board Officials:
Michael Pontillo, Kristen Pedersen, Laura Cooper, Douglas Cusato, Jason Garcia, Irene Fenarjian, James Parrino, Andrea Peck, Stacey Price, Jill Mortimer (liaison), Bronwen Calderon (Director of Secondary Education), Denise Velez (Director of Elementary Education), Keith A. Rosado (liaison), Glen Becker (Director of Buildings & Grounds), Shelley LaForgia (liaison), Ashley Molina (Student Representative), Grace DeLeon (Student Representative)

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