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WHS Vice Principal, Guidance Supervisor Suspended Pending Investigation

Martin Scarano and Brian Russo have been suspended and the school's principal plans to retire at the end of the school year.

One of Woodbridge High School’s vice principals and its guidance/special education department supervisor have been suspended pending an ongoing investigation, according to the Board of Education.

Vice Principal Martin Scarano has been suspended with pay effective June 7 and Brian Russo, the guidance/special education department supervisor, was also suspended, effective immediately, according to the personnel report distributed at Thursday night's Board of Education meeting.

Details of the investigation into Scarano and Russo could not be released, Board of Education President Ezio Tamburello said. It was also not clear whether the two suspensions were related.

When reached at his Allentown home Wednesday morning, Scarano said he had "no comment" on the situation.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Zega said Wednesday he could not speak on the matter since it is ongoing.

According to the personnel agenda, Matthew Connelly will be hired effective July 1 as the school's acting vice principal. Woodbridge High’s other vice principal, Steven Caroscio, will take over as principal, replacing Lee Warren, who is retiring at the end of this school year. Abdulsaleem Hasan will be taking Caroscio’s vice principal position as of July 1.

Scarano is paid a salary of $122,235, according to latest information from APP.com Data Universe. Russo’s salary was listed as $70,120 for his previous position as a special education teacher before he was named guidance/special education department supervisor. 

Scarano began teaching at Woodbridge High, his Alma mater, in 1995 as a special education teacher. He coached soccer and basketball for six years before becoming athletic director in 2001. In 2005, he became one of two vice principals at the high school.

Russo, also a Woodbridge High graduate, resigned as the school’s head football coach last summer to take the guidance/special education department supervisor position for the 2012-13 school year.

The district has also suspended Avenel Middle School teacher, Randall Hunt, effective June 11 pending further action from the Board of Education. 

The suspensions come less than one year after Woodbridge High School was investigated by the NJ Department of Education, based on allegations of cheating on standardized tests in August of 2012.  

That same year, Avenel Street and Ross Street schools were discovered to be cheating after the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance reported a high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, or NJASK, standardized test.

The cheating at the two schools led to the suspension of five teachers, one of whom was recently fired in April. Patch previously reported that John Radzik was dismissed by the Board of Education on April 18. Fords Avenue School was also investigated for cheating in 2012, but nothing was found.

Deborah Bell  also contributed to this report.

Cathy Salamon June 24, 2013 at 10:35 AM
I am one of Mr. Russo's fans. He was very direct, and acted in the best interest of each individual student, current allegations notwithstanding. Mr. Scarano I had less contact with so I can't really make a judgment call, however he did appear to be a pro-active administrator, handling issues with fairness. If the actions they are accused of (although most of us are aware of those allegations, it is still hearsay) are in fact true, I cannot believe that these two men independently made the decision to do what they are accused of doing. I have to think these actions were based on a "request/strong suggestion/order" from an outside - yet related source for their personal interests/benefit. If I am correct, these two exceptional instructors / admiinistrators will unfortunately and unfairly going to take the fall.
Cathy Salamon June 24, 2013 at 10:40 AM
As an addendum in response to someone's previous comment, while it is true--there are some "stupid jocks," there are also exceptionally bright jocks. I'm guessing the percentage of "jocks" who are honestly earning grades that are passing or better, is higher than the percentage of those earning passing or better grades in the entire student body.
Cathy Salamon June 24, 2013 at 10:45 AM
@Mart - I agree with everything you said except for the fact that the accusations are petty, minor, and stupid. This may be true relative to the other corruption and nepotism going on in the township, however the actions indirectly affect every student--suggesting that each individual student is not afforded the same opportunity. But again, I add that I believe orders came from another source.
mr mr June 28, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I had Mr. Scarano when I was in WHS back in the 90's and also went to school with Brian. I just want to say that Mr. Scarano was an excellent person who helped me out tremendously. I was a troubled youth with many problems. Mr. Scarano was one of the very few people who was able to reach me and help me. He gave me heart to heart talks and met me where I was at. He has a gift when it comes to connecting with and helping students. I hope that the people in charge of this investigation take into account all of the positive and mitigating factors when coming to a conclusion in this matter. Whether these two did something wrong or not, I think they are good people who bring a lot to the table. In this crazy screwed up world we live in, this seems like small potato's. These are good guys.
Mart June 29, 2013 at 08:43 AM
You can put it all together and see how this all went down but anyway what scares me is the new principal of WHS. Between him and Mr.Scarano, I was truly hoping Mr. scarano would replace Mr. Warren's position.

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