By Bill Bowman, Franklin Reporter & Advocate
In what he characterized as a “family decision,” Franklin High School Principal Frank Chmiel will most likely leave his position to be the educational leader at Princeton High School. He will replace Jessica Baxter, who left the Princeton Public Schools district in January to become the principal of Randolph High School.
Chmiel made the announcement in a 7 p.m. phone blast to high school families on Thursday, April 22. The move is not yet definite but is probable; Chmiel’s appointment as Princeton High School’s principal still has to be approved officially by the Princeton Board of Education.The Board is expected to take the vote at its April 27 meeting. If approved, Chmiel would fill out the remainder of this school year and start in Princeton in July.
Chmiel, a Princeton University alumnus who has served in the district administration for eight years, became the Franklin High School principal in March of 2018. Prior to that, he was a vice-principal at Franklin Middle School, and before that he worked in the Franklin High School administration. Early in his career, Chmiel taught history at Montgomery High School.
In his phone message, Chmiel said he “did not think this day would ever come.”
“I am so happy with the learning community that we have built,” he said. “However, my family and I have been living in Princeton for 26 years now; Princeton High School is the alma mater of my older children, and the school to which my younger children will someday go. Thus, this decision is a family decision that will help me play a direct role in the education of my sons.”
Chmiel said Franklin High has given him memories that will last the rest of his life. “We’ve laughed together, cheered together, shed tears together and learned together. I thank you for everything Franklin. You will be in my prayers,” Chmiel said.
“No stupid ranking system will ever capture what an amazing treasure Franklin High School is,” Chmiel said. “I would proudly go into any battle, side-by-side, with you, Warriors. To live Franklin High School is to love it and experience how exceptional it truly is.”
Franklin Public Schools Superintendent John Ravally said in an emailed statement that district officials appreciate the work Chmiel has done at Franklin High School, especially the rapport he has built with students. “We know that this was a personal decision and understand that Mr. Chmiel and his family have strong ties to the Princeton community and school district,” Ravally said. “We wish him success in this next chapter in his life and we look forward to starting the process to bring another strong leader to guide our own FHS Warriors next year.”