Carol Kelley, the superintendent of the Princeton Public Schools, announced in an email to staff members on Friday morning that she has resigned as the head of the school district. The announcement comes less than two and a half years since she began her job in Princeton running the district that serves about 3,800 students.
“This week, after much consideration, I made the difficult decision to resign as superintendent of the Princeton Public Schools,” Kelley wrote in her email to staff. “This decision has not come easy, but for personal and professional reasons, I must take some time to reset and recenter myself so I can later return to public education and continue to positively impact students.”
The board of education for the Princeton Public Schools sent an email to parents, staff, and students about a half hour after Kelley’s email informing people that Kelley submitted her resignation.
Kelley’s resignation will take effect Aug. 31. She will be on a paid leave of absence until then. Kelly’s salary is $244,800 per year.
The board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30 at the Valley Road Administration Building to take a formal vote on Kelley’s leave of absence and resignation and discuss plans to hire an interim superintendent.
“We thank Dr. Kelley for her service, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” reads the school board email.
Kelley’s tenure has been marked by controversies that included concerns about potential changes in the math curriculum and the departure of Princeton High Principal Frank Chmiel. Many parents and students were unhappy with the way Chmiel’s departure was announced. Chmiel, who did not have tenure, fought the nonrenewal of his contract and filed an appeal regarding his dismissal with the state Office of Administrative Law. He is now a social studies teacher in his hometown in the Elizabeth Public Schools.
This fall there was more chaos in the district as a new company took over the after-school program and had major staffing issues. Kelley told concerned parents she couldn’t join a September Zoom meeting via video to discuss the issue and could only participate by phone because she was driving to a ferry for a retreat on Cape Cod.
Kelley previously served as the superintendent of schools of Oak Park Elementary School District 97, a PreK-8 public school district located just outside of Chicago. Before working in Illinois, Kelley served as the superintendent of schools in Branchburg Township from 2012 to 2015. She has held numerous positions in other New Jersey public schools, including serving as the director of curriculum and instruction for the Hunterdon Central Regional High School District in Flemington, as principal of Milltown Elementary School in Bridgewater, as K-12 supervisor of mathematics in the Franklin Township Public Schools, assistant principal of Franklin Park Elementary School and the Sampson G. Smith Middle School in Franklin Township, and as a teacher at the Smith Middle School.
Kelley replaced interim superintendent Barry Galasso after Steve Cochrane left the district.