Category Archives: Middletown High School South

Mid’Town Board Of Education Disfunction Leads To Yet Another Superintendent Resignation; Interim Superintendent Pat Houston Storms Out Of Meeting

It’s a shame that I can’t make it to every meeting that goes on around town but luckily there are sources of information like friends, neighbors and Middletown-Patch to keep me informed. After reading what went on during last night’s Middletown Board of Education(BOE) meeting, there isn’t much left to say about how totally dysfunctional the current make up of this BOE is.

According to Middletown-Patch (you can read the article below) Middletown’s interim school Superintendent Pat Houston resigned suddenly and walked out of the meeting due to a 5-2 “No” vote on accepting Houston’s recommendations to hired Middletown High School South Interim Principal, Patrick Rinnella, as it’s new full-time Principal, replacing Dr. Anthony Shallop.

If you remember, last month there was a huge outcry from parents and students when Shallop was demoted as South’s Principal and returned to his former position as a science teacher within the school by the BOE. And to add to Houston’s sudden resignation last night, Shallop also suddenly resigned his position within the school system.

Now that Houston has resigned, Middletown BOE will be looking for it’s fourth Superintendent since January with the possibility of a fifth and High School South will be with out a Principal to start the school year.

When will this insanity stop? I have kids in the school system myself and it’s starting to make me very angry at the direction in which Middletown schools seems to be heading – it’s been all downhill for the past 16 months or more.

I would be remiss however if I didn’t commend board members Vinnie Brand and Mike Mascone for trying to end the craziness last night by voting to approve Pat Houtson’s recommendation of Patrick Rinnella. If approved, Rinnella’s appointment as South’s Principal, as controversial as it my have been, would have shown that a little common sense and stability returned to the school system.

In an abrupt, unexpected move, Middletown Township Schools Interim Superintendent Patrick Houston, minutes ago during the Board of Education

meeting, announced his resignation.

“I can’t work under these conditions,” Houston said before leaving the meeting. “Tomorrow I will be resigning as interim superintendent of schools.”

The public gasped and grumbled as he slammed his microphone down on the dais, at which point Board of Education President Joan Minnuies called for a five-minute recess and Houston clutched his briefcase and walked out of the Middletown High School North meeting venue.

This happened after a contentious majority “no” vote (5-2, with one absent and one abstention) was taken turning down Houston’s recommendation to hire Patrick Rinnella, who was serving as High School South’s interim principal until tonight, as its permanent, untenured principal. A very vocal Vincent Brandt cast one “yes” vote; and Michael Mascone cast the other.

There has been much controversy lately over the demotion of Anthony Shallop, former High School South Principal, and Houston’s rapid recommendation of a new principal. Board members had complained that the move, albeit legal, was made entirely too autonomously by the interim top administrator.

While parents, students and others in the public questioned what they deemed Houston’s lack of transparency about the process to the public and adamantly opposed his earlier recommendation to demote Shallop, they supported Rinella as top candidate to fill the South principal slot.

The majority of the board voted “no” to the recommendation of Rinella’s hiring based on what they saw as a flawed procedure. Those who supported Houston’s recommendation felt that Rinella, regardless of claims of procedural flaw, was qualified for the job and should not be the one to fall victim to board politics.

Rinella declined to comment when seen outside during the break.

Houston, as superintendent, has the legal right to make such a recommendation without any public or board input. Procedure dictates that once such a staff recommendation is made, the board then votes to either sanction it officially or turn it down, with a majority vote. The recommendation then becomes an appointment.

However, in light of recent contentiousness over the Shallop demotion, there has been an outcry from the community to have more input on such decisions. According to the agenda, Shallop, who was due to return to the classroom as a science teacher in September, resigned effective Aug. 30, “for personal reasons.”

While the public, according to comments during the public portion, did not necessarily approve of Houston’s method, they were eager to have a new principal in place at South for the start of the school year.

Tired of what many have called a “revolving door” of administrators in the district, many teachers, administrators and other colleagues applauded the notion of having an administrator in place who has demonstrated commitment to the district and is more likely to stay put.

There were 15 candidates for the job, Houston explained. Fourteen of the 15 were out of district. Rinella was the only in-district contender with experience as assistant principal.

Minnuies, before Houston announced his resignation, had made a motion to revise the procedures by which new administrators are hired.

During the recess, people were outside grumbling, milling around, as the recess extended well beyond five minutes to over half an hour. One woman was crying. Another stormed up to the stage and yelled at the board members after the recess was called.

People were clearly upset over the board voting down Rinella’s appointment as interim principal for South. Much of the source of their malcontent was derived from the fact that with the “no” vote, High School South will begin the school year

without a principal in place.

Board attorney Chris Parton said that it is legal to be without a principal in a school. That fact did not soothe anyone. On the other hand, it is not legal for a school district to operate without its top administrator, the (interim) superintendent. Resignation or not, Houston is obligated by law to stay for a month.

After reassmembling and hearing more disapproving comments from the public and board member Vincent Brandt (who voted “yes” to Rinella), the meeting ended at about 10:45, with a disgruntled public exiting.



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Filed under Dr. Anthony Shallop, Joan Minnuies, Middletown Board of Education, Middletown High School South, Middletown Patch, Mike Mascone, Pat Houston, school superintendent, Vinnie Brand

Middletown Board Of Education Does Nothing To Dispel Perception Of Dysfunction At Last Nights Meeting

According to an online post at Middletown-Patch, last nights Middletown Board of Education meeting turned out to be a nearly 6 hour carnival show, ending sometime after 1 A.M. It seems that all of the hullaballoo was over the demotion of Middletown High School South Principle Dr. Anthony Shallop.

According to Patch, hundreds of Shallop supporter packed the BOE meeting and overflowed into the corridors of Middletown High School North to protest the demotion and lend their support of the very popular Doctor Shallop.

In the end it didn’t matter, the BOE demoted Principle Shallop over the concerns of everyone who were there to show support.
I have been hearing from many residents and a few former school employees who feel that this current BOE is dysfunctional and a joke, they feel that the quality of education in Middletown is suffering for it.
It seems that all this BOE is worried about is pulling the rug out from the many administrators that work for the school system. Since September of last year the school system has gone through 2 superintendents, a few assistant superintendents, a business administrator and any number of professional Principles and Vice-Principles, Para-Professionals, Guidance Counselors and many teachers through out the district.
No wonder why people feel that the current crop of “volunteers” that make up the BOE are dysfunctional and don’t know what they are doing.

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Filed under Middletown Board of Education, Middletown High School South

>Crime Scene Middletown: Recent Activity Around Town From The Past Week

>PREPARED BY DETECTIVE LIEUTENANT STEPHEN DOLLINGER

On May 8, 2011 at approximately 2:45 pm Patrolman Keith Hirschbein was on patrol in the area of McMahon Park when he observed two juveniles in the area of the hockey rink. Officer Hirschbein approached the two juveniles at which point he detected the odor of burnt marijuana coming from the area.

On May 7, 2011 at approximately 2:40 am Patrolman Raymond Sofield was on patrol in the area of Pearl Street when he observed a suspicious vehicle parked on the side of the road with its interior light on. The vehicle was occupied by two subjects, identified as William Drummer, age 23, from Leslie Lane and Michael Cavalier, age 23, from Ned Court.

Patrolman Sofield approached the vehicle and detected a strong odor of raw Marijuana coming from the interior of the vehicle. The officer continued his investigation which resulted in both subjects being arrested and charged with Possession of under 50 grams of Marijuana.

Both subjects were transported to police headquarters where they were processed and released pending a court date.

On May 7, 2011 at approximately 4:00 am Corporal James Keenan and Corporal Thomas Meckier responded to a report of an accident at Highway 35 near Twinbrooks Drive. Upon arrival the officers determined that a vehicle driven by Matthew Lennox, age 21, from Walker Terrace, had driven through a work zone and struck the rear of a painting truck with an arrow board attached.

The officers continued their investigation which resulted in Lennox being charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Open alcohol in a motor vehicle, Reckless driving, Failing to wear a seatbelt, Prohibited use of a cell phone, and Failing to maintain lanes. He was released at Jersey Shore Medical Center where he was taken for treatment of his injuries sustained during the accident.

On May 6, 2011 at approximately 6:50 pm police responded to a residence on Main Street in Belford in reference to a report of a man who was acting violently. Upon arrival Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia located the subject, identified as Michael Thomas, age 20, from Main Street in Belford at the residence.

Thomas was screaming and shouting profanities which caused a small crowd to gather in the area. He refused numerous requests from Officer Fenezia to calm down at which point he was arrested for Disorderly Conduct.

He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On May 6, 2011 at approximately 7: 35 pm Detective Sullivan was off duty in the area of the Kohls Shopping center when he observed a subject, identified as William Deppisch, age 23, from Campbell Avenue in Belford, in the area of the stores. Detective Sullivan was aware that there was a $3,500 Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Holmdel Municipal Court for Deppisch’s arrest.

Detective Sullivan contacted police headquarters and requested a patrol officer to respond. Patrolman Charles Higgins arrived on scene and located Deppisch in the area. Deppisch was arrested on the warrant and was also found to be in possession of Alprazolam pills and Marijuana.

Deppisch was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with Possession of a prescription legend drug, Possession with intent to distribute a prescription legend drug, and Possession of under 50 grams of Marijuana. Deppisch was held on $53,500.00 bail with no 10% option set by Judge James Berube.

On May 6, 2011 at approximately 8:25 pm police responded to the Port Monmouth Foodtown in reference to a report of a shoplifting. Upon arrival Patrolman Michael Reuter was advised by store security that they observed the suspect, identified as Adam Stranges, age 19, from Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown, attempt to leave the store with two bottles of Captain Morgan’s Rum at which point he was detained.

Officer Reuter placed Stranges under arrest and transported him to police headquarters where he was charged with Shoplifting and Possession of Alcohol under age. He was processed and released pending a court date.

On May 5, 2011 at approximately 3:45 pm police responded to Normandy Park in reference to a report of a person who had found a baggie containing Marijuana and wished to turn it into the police. Upon arrival Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia retrieved the Marijuana from the caller and began an investigation.

Officer Fenezia was able to determine that the Marijuana belonged to a 15 year old male juvenile who was playing in the park. Patrolman Fenezia arrested the juvenile and transported him to police headquarters where he was charged with Possession of under 50 grams of Marijuana. The juvenile was processed and released to his father pending a court date.

On May 5, 2011 at approximately 1:30 am Police Officer Janine Kennedy was on patrol in the area of Leonardville Road in Belford when she observed a vehicle being operated in an unsafe manner. Officer Kennedy stopped the vehicle and approached the driver.

While speaking with the driver, identified as Vincent Usuriello, age 33, from Henry Place in Middletown, Officer Kennedy detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

The officer conducted an investigation which resulted in Usuriello being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated.

Usuriello was transported to police headquarters where he was issued additional summonses for Reckless Driving and Failing to Signal a Turn. He was processed and released.

On May 4, 2011 at approximately 12:50 pm Corporal Joseph Glynn responded to Middletown High School South in reference to a report of a student in possession of narcotics. Upon arrival Officer Glynn conducted an investigation which resulted in a 15 year old female student being arrested for Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana and Unlawful Possession of Naproxen, Perbutalin, Cyclobenza and Amitriptyl. (All prescription medications). The student was transported to police headquarters where she was processed and released to her parents.

The Middletown Police Department arrested the following subjects on warrants

Erin Figel, age 25, from Algonquin Avenue in Oceanport, NJ, arrested on May 2, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was released after posting $1,500.00 bail.

Kyle Hazard, age 21, from Willow Street in Point Pleasant, NJ, arrested on May 4, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Facility.
Carissa Bossert, age 22, from Woods Ends Road in Middletown, arrested on May 4, 2011 by Patrolman Charles Higgins on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was released after posting $439.00 bail.

Scott Kruse, age 28, from Elyar Terrace in Middletown, arrested on May 3, 2011 by Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Red Bank Municipal Court. He was released after posting $175.00 bail.

James Laberdee, age 25, from Freemont Avenue in Seaside Heights, NJ, arrested on May 5, 2011 by Patrolman Ian May on a Superior Court warrant Issued by the Ocean County Superior Court. He was held on $14,621.79 bail.

Magan Close, age 35, from Port Monmouth Road in Port Monmouth, arrested on May 5, 2011 by Patrolman Michael Reuter on two Contempt of Court warrants. She was processed and released after posting $358.00 bail.

Alannah Heilweil, age 20, from Rutledge Drive arrested on May 5, 2011 by Patrolman Charles Higgins on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Wall Township Municipal Court. She was released after posting $140.00 bail.

Christopher Rosado, age 32, from Keystone Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, arrested on May 7, 2011 by Patrolman Felipe Benedit on warrants issued by the Middletown Municipal Court and the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Facility.

Stanislav Tolstunov, age 32, from Prospect Avenue in Hackensack, NJ, arrested on May 5, 2011 by Corporal William Kennelly on a warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal court. He was released after posting bail.

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Filed under arrest warrants, cocaine, Crime Scene Middletown, drug possession, Drunk driving, Marijuana, Middletown High School South, Middletown Police, prescription drugs, shoplifting

>M’Town HSS Teacher Suspended For Inappropriate Facebook Post On Student’s Wall

>Yesterday morning I received an email from, I assume, a parent whose child attends Middletown High School South. In this email, the parent (name being withheld) informed me of an English teacher, Rachel Singer, who was recently suspended from her position at High School South for making an inappropriate comment on a student’s Facebook wall.

The parent was very upset and wanted to know “Why is it that if a teacher is suspended in Middletown we hear nothing about it? I think it should be public knowledge because others could have input to just how inappropriate the teacher is and rather than suspend the teacher, she would be fired…”

Do to the hour in which I opened this email yesterday, I wasn’t able to call over to High School South or the Board of Education office for confirmation or comments on this, so I reached out to the only person I know that has a child of theirs attending Middletown High School South. When I contacted this person, she had not heard of the incident but said that she would ask around and get back to me.

When my contact got back to me a short while later, she started off by saying that her son had this teacher last year and that he didn’t care for her, he called her a “lousy” teacher but in her defense added that she is friendly with the student’s family and was joking around. Someone who didn’t care for her “ratted” her out.

My contact also talked to a friend of hers’ that is a member of MHSS Parent Faculty Association (similar to PTA or PTO), who stated to her that recently Middletown High School South Principal, Dr. Anthony Shallop, addressed the PFA about this teacher and told those in attendance that she (Singer) was suspended due to posting an inappropriate message on a former student’s wall. The PFA member thinks but wasn’t sure, that Singer has been suspended for the rest of the school year.

I can understand the anger and frustration from the person who sent me this email, in situations like this parents have a right to know exactly what happened and any results from an investigation should be made public. It doesn’t really matter if she is a good teacher or a lousy one. Transparency through full disclosure and trust in knowing that the interests of the children are first and foremost in the minds of administrators is really what’s important here.

In defense of Ms. Singer, her student rating on the website RateMyTeachers.com is respectable with an overall grade from students of 26 out 30 possible points (she scores lower in her student popularity grade with a 23) and it seems that she has been teaching at the school for more than a few years.

So without actually knowing what Singer posted and the context in which it was posted, parents shouldn’t jump to drastic conclusions about her, if indeed, she is a family friend of the former student. If this was a current student or if it can be shown that Ms. Singer has a history of interacting inappropriately with other students this way, than I would have cause for concern but the key here is the word former.

Often when dealing with friends, people let their guards down and sometime forget what they are saying, or in this case posting on Facebook. This is a frequent mistake that far to many people are making these days, they forget that there is no privacy on the internet, whatever is posted can come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

In this case it just may cost a teacher her job.

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Filed under bad teachers, Facebook, good teachers, inappropriate post, Middletown High School South, Parent Faculty Association, PTA, PTO, teacher suspension