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Suspended Principal Still Fighting to Clear Her Name

Attorneys for former Avenel Street School Principal Dara Kurlander are petitioning to get the confidential state files into a school cheating scandal.


Three months after the Woodbridge School District suspended five educators based on the results of a state investigation into standardized test cheating, one of the suspended principals wants to clear her name.

Attorneys for Dara Kurlander, who was principal at Avenel Street Schools #4 & #5, want to see the confidential files upon which the NJ Office of Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) based their report on the cheating scandal that rocked the township in August.

Kurlander's attorneys announced they have filed a petition with the Superior Court of New Jersey to gain access to OFAC's investigatory files, which includes interviews with subjects who say they observed the cheating and Kurlander's role in it.

The interviews have so far been confidential and the names of subjects haven't been revealed.

“It would seem only fair that given the fact the OFAC report was based almost entirely on uncorroborated, anonymous, and what we believe to be outright fictitious sources that Ms. Kurlander have a chance to clear her name. To that end, we are seeking the entire investigative file related to this matter including all statements, in their original forms ,taken by investigators so that we can truly examine how the OFAC report was compiled,” said Lisa Krenkel, one of Kurlander's attorneys, in a statement.

The Woodbridge Board of Education, too, wants to see the OFAC files. In late September, the board passed a resolution to subpoena the same information Kurlander's attorneys want to see.

So far, though, they haven't gotten any of the confidential information, said Woodbridge BOE Attorney Jonathan Busch.

"The board believes it would be helpful to see the OFAC record.We tried to get them, and so far we haven't gotten anything," Busch said. "At some point we expect to review the investigatory records."

Kurlander was suspended with pay after an investigation that began when Avenel Street School's test scores were flagged for having a high number of wrong-to-right erasures on NJ ASK standardized tests. Kurlander had been transferred to Woodbine School just days before the Board of Education announced in August that she and four other educators in the district were being suspended.

The scandal resulted in the removal of Woodbridge School Superintendent John Crowe as head of the district, who will leave his post December 1 and be reassigned as a school principal.

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Lorena November 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
He is reassigned to principal and we bring in someone else to double dip. Once was in the board of ed and now retired with a good salary.
Tom Maras November 17, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Kudos to Kara and all the other accused principals/teachers for fighting to prove they were either innocent or part of a well orchestrated conspiracy at the highest level of a very, if not corrupt administration, inept administration (BOE NOT EXEMPTED)! If one believes in just rewards, this township is getting the self-serving administrators it did (or didn't) elect! If anyone happens to notice, less than 11,000 voters are controlling almost 98,000 lives!
Marina November 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM
@dennis Thats the problem with tenure. If he earned tenue in another position he can step into that position...teacher, guidance, cafeteria...At the highest pay scare he earned, He will be a principal with a Supers salary. Ain't that a kicker!!!!!
wetfrog18 November 19, 2012 at 10:30 PM
I went on to Gov. Christie's Twitter page and asked him to register on the Woodbridge Patch to see how (in my opinion) corrupt Woodbridge really is. Everyone should also do the same or just send him a short complaints on all the issues we have in Woodbridge. The more people who complain to Trenton we might have a chance to turn this Town around.
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