Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, July 14, 2017

Steve Gallon case shows why getting Superintendent search right is critical

Campaign photo from Gallon's 2016 run for Miami-Dade
Board of Education.

Dr. Steve Gallon, the Plainfield school superintendent who left amid scandal in 2010, was sanctioned and lost his teaching and administrator's certifications in Florida on Thursday (July 13), according to a story in the Miami Herald (see here).

His story is a sober warning to Board of Education members and the rest of the community -- including teaching staff, administrators, union leaders and community stakeholders -- how important it is to get the Superintendent search right. Thorough vetting and taking no shortcuts are the lessons we can take from the Gallon experience.

Gallon was charming and manipulative, which should have raised red flags.

He brought along with him from Miami two females who were unqualified and uncertified for the top administrative positions he carved out for them. More red flags!!!

What really brought the house of cards tumbling down was the discovery that Gallon allowed the address of his condo in South Plainfield to be used as the "home" address for the two women's children. (The women were actually living in Perth Amboy, and the children should have attended Perth Amboy schools.)

(In a recent case of tuition fraud, a parent living in South Bound Brook owes the Bridgewater-Raritan school district more than $38K for one year's tuition for the out-of-district child.)

In today's story, the Miami Herald reports the youngsters in the NJ case as Gallon's "godsons" -- a reference I do not recall ever having been made in the New Jersey matter. The story also notes that the decision of the Florida Education Practices Commission does not affect Gallon's service on the Miami-Dade Board of Ed, to which he was elected last year.

In any event the Plainfield Board of Education, which chooses the Superintendent, must be ever-vigilant against doing an incomplete or shallow vetting of candidates.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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