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Apr 3, 2013 11:03 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Tearful East Hampton Elementary School Principal Addresses Board

Apr 9, 2013 1:40 PM

In tears and sometimes choking on her words, Gina Kraus on April 2 thanked the East Hampton School Board, parents, teachers and others for the opportunity to have been the John Marshall Elementary School principal, a job that will end on June 30 after a determination by Superintendent Richard Burns that she not be granted tenure.

“Thank you for this wonderful journey. I have absolutely not one regret,” Ms. Kraus said during a public comment period at the School Board meeting, at which the board had been asked to “acknowledge” the superintendent’s determination. “I want to thank you for the opportunity to be a principal and the honor to return,” she concluded, evidently referring to an intention to return to the elementary school classroom this fall.

Among many in the packed boardroom who stood up to applaud were her counterparts, East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine and Middle School Principal Dr. Charles Soriano, as well as a number of parents of elementary school children, some of whom spoke as well in support of Ms. Kraus.

Ken Kraus, Ms. Kraus’s husband, had harsh words for Mr. Burns and Assistant Superintendent Robert Tymann, who remained silent while sitting in the audience, where Ms. Kraus sat in a row between them with her head bowed.

“This is institutional bullying,” Mr. Kraus said, asking if the district should be run in a “democratic” or “tyrannical” way. “Stand up, successful men,” he told the two administrators after alleging that Mr. Tymann’s school district in Lindenhurst had been “happy to get rid of him” and that Mr. Burns “stood in my home and said how lucky he was to have Gina as his principal.”

Ms. Kraus, who spoke after her husband did, began by joking through tears. “I told him if he came tonight it was grounds for divorce,” she said.

She cited her commitment to “making a difference in the lives of children” and the difficulty of “a perfect storm” of major changes at the elementary school, including common core standards and a balanced literacy curriculum, that she faced as a new principal.

“I kept my focus on the kids,” she said, adding that that’s what she wanted the teachers to do, too.

Later, another member of the audience also spoke in tears on another subject. Ashley Blackburn told the board that her son and other children had been “bullied, harassed and discriminated against” at the East Hampton Middle School. “Parents want to know how these problems are being addressed,” she said, indicating that she had already contacted administrators and School Board members.

Dr. Soriano replied that he could not speak publicly about the issue, and Mr. Burns spoke generally about what the principal’s options might be: a several-day suspension, for example.

Ms. Blackburn replied that the student had remained in school after the incident with her son, with Mr. Burns replying that the matter “has been addressed” in part by getting help for the student in question.

Reached several days after the meeting, Ms. Blackburn said her son had been punched in the face early in March and that, while it had taken several weeks, a series of similar incidents had brought attention to problems at the middle school and that “now that there’s an awareness, I think things are moving in the right direction.”

In other news, School Board member Lauren Dempsey, whose term expires this year, announced that she would not seek reelection.

She was resigning, she said, “because of the time constraints.”

“I just want to say that my experience on this board has definitely had its challenges, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had,” Ms. Dempsey said. She encouraged others to give it a try.

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We need to dissolve local school boards. They are usually made up of small-minded, power-mad, egomaniacs with absolutely no idea how to run a school. What has happened to this principal is the same thing that happens over and over again in our local school districts - board members playing the big shot and satisfying personal vendettas and, in doing so, destroying the schools they pretend to care so much about.
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Apr 3, 13 2:53 PM
Are you thick, or just showing your knee-jerk contempt for the "little people" having a say in how public schools are run?

The *Superintendent* declined to recommend her for tenure, precluding the board from having any say in the matter.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Apr 3, 13 7:45 PM
From an objective point of view - I agree that many times it seems the School Board has their own agenda, especially past Boards. But the bottom line is, in this case the School Board had NO VOTE in the decision. If it isn't known by now, no public comment (privacy laws) can be made nor are required with regard to Rich Burns' decision and it is unfair to paint him into a corner hurling insults and making him seem uncooperative at these two School Board Meetings. Given this is clearly a privacy issue, ...more
By BeachyKeen (10), East Hampton on Apr 3, 13 3:39 PM
Wow I am wondering if you are working for Rich Burns how else would you know their was a negative review....They are not public knowledge did someone give you info from the inside. How dare Rich stand in her house and say how lucky he was to have Gina as a principal one year and then publicly humiliate her the next year, thanks to Gina's husband we all saw Rich's true colors. Or was Rich just buying time last year when he told Gina how lucky he was till he could hire his assistant to do his dirty ...more
By julie1234 (5), East Hampton on Apr 4, 13 8:54 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you Julie I feel the same BeachyKeen seems to no alot and is always protecting Mr. Burns. Something Funny here.
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 4, 13 5:42 PM
Please watchdog, grab a dictionary and look up "know" and "no"
By But I'm a blank! (992), Hampton Bays on Apr 4, 13 6:37 PM
2 members liked this comment
Sorry did not pass that class you no what i mean!
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 5, 13 5:50 AM
Really pathetic, but clearly in line with how dysfunctional east end superintendents and school boards have become.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Apr 3, 13 6:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Add in the SH Town Board, Village Planning Board (Citarella) and ZBA (Wooley Street).

Wait, maybe the SHT PD Department should take over in a coup?
By PBR (4490), Southampton on Apr 3, 13 6:20 PM
4 members liked this comment
Admittedly, I had to chuckle reading that one.

Par for the course, if you've picked up the NY Post in recent days.

It would be nice if the FBI set their sights on Washington D.C. for their next quarry...
By Mr. Z (7120), North Sea on Apr 3, 13 8:48 PM
BeachyKeen back standing up for Mr.Burns again. It seems strange to me but the truth is there somewhere Mr Burns and the school board have done nothing but make this school look like a sinking ship. After making a few calls today I also found out Mr Tymann was very disliked in Lindenhurst . They were pleased to see him leave just like the tax payers will like to see Mr Burns leave. Remember i work in the district I see it all and wonder what our kids are seeing. All school districts have problems ...more
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 3, 13 8:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like Gina should take over Soriano's spot and the district should send him packing . Kids being bullied , and all they are doing is getting the kid who did all the bullying , harassing , and discrimination, and getting him help ? What about the VICTIMS ? Soriano comes across like its all about him and doesn't want anyone to rock the boat , cause waves , and when they do , he shuts them down with the same as Rich did the other night. " has been addressed " shouldn't the victims and their ...more
By BCHBUM11968 (81), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 3, 13 8:55 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wow read how Southampton hired a new Super . they let the Community parents and tax payers have imput.on the hiring Not Mr Burns. EGO TRIP in its highest!
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 4, 13 6:26 AM
Sounds like this lady is being used as a scapegoat for all the crap that goes on in modern day schools. We have schools full of kids that have English as a second language, parents who don't care, teachers who are frustrated, and this lady takes the hit. Schools need independent state auditors, and evaluators to make sure good teachers are paid well, and bad ones are fired. This political nonsense, and liberal bs is ruining society, and hurting education. These schools need to cut the absent upper ...more
By chief1 (1711), southampton on Apr 4, 13 8:15 AM
Some clarifications and info: The Board by Law, Votes on the termination of an Administrators tenure track, otherwise the employee gets "Tenure by Estoppel " after the third year. This fact, unknown to most News outlets, Board watchers, even school employees. . In this instance the confusion, beating and black eye the District recently took -over this matter, was caused by the District not following their own procedures. The Principal and other non tenured employees have always been reviewed ...more
By harrisw (18), sh on Apr 4, 13 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
If we taxpayers are feeling this way lets get together and let the this board no it by letters meetings and last resort news and press. We need no EGO POWER HUNGREY people in our schools. That is bad enough in our government. Our Children deserve better Mr Kraus Thumbs up to you Mr Burns lied to your face and got away with it, is that what he wants our children to grow up and do.What Qualifacations does Mr Burns have anyway does any taxpayer out there no?
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 4, 13 11:07 AM
If this many people feel so strongly about Mrs. Kraus, then clearly something is fishy. Why did the board ignore the public here? The board has the final say on all decisions, and this one apparently doesn't seam right.
By louse pt. (118), springs on Apr 4, 13 3:42 PM
No They do not have final decisions Mr Burns made this one without a vote from anyone!He is on a EGO AND POWER TRIP! Read all the coments he did not let the board nor anyone vote or put any input on this decision and many other decisions he has made. Tax payers get your voices heard and see if Mr Burns and crew will even listen or just say NO COMMENT. Sag Harbor Board are willingto have a public session on whats happening there why not Mr Burns and crew.EGO
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 4, 13 4:58 PM
Gina Krauss is regarded as an educator of the highest caliber, compassionate, bright, loves children and the craft of teaching and is a part of the fiber of the East Hampton community. Her influence in the classroom as a teacher and a staff developer is consistently impressive. Meeting someone like Gina is not an ordinary, everyday moment. Just knowing her and being in her presence lets you know that caring for and loving young children and their families is her passion. Good luck in the classroom ...more
By peacemaker (15), Sag Harbor on Apr 4, 13 6:58 PM
ABOLISH LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS!!!
By witch hazel (214), tatooine on Apr 5, 13 11:46 AM
The children are being indoctrinated and taught not to question anything esepcailly question anyone in an authoritative position.Thank your loving government for that. I suggest if you have a child in a public school you go to school one day to see what they are being taught. Home schooling for the win .
By tranquility1985 (17), Westhampton on Apr 5, 13 2:13 PM
I guess BeechKeen has no more to say.If us tax payers let all this go Mr Burns will walk all over this School District. I do have to say his job is hard but he is not all mighty. He has already been proven a liar, next a thief than a looser. As I have said before I work in the district and in his short time in the as chief of operations I have a book of things he has screwed up and almost ready to let it out to the tax payers by letter to each and every one of them. Maybe most tax payers do not ...more
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 5, 13 8:09 PM
Watcgdog..You collect a fair paycheck I imagine if you work in the school district. If you have so many complaints as an employee you should step out and share with the taxpayers who are paying your salary. Step out of the shadows of this anonyous posting.
By gansetteer (125), East Hampton on Apr 6, 13 9:12 PM
When Mr Burns and the school board come out of hiding i will. You pay him a hell of a lot more than you many others who do their jobs not hide behind closed doors.
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 6, 13 9:32 PM
And who said I have complaints about being an employee. I do a good job for a fair salary. I do pay taxes and see money , abuse of power and hiring of friends who have caused major problems, and nothing being done about it buy the taxpayers , parents or other administration. Maybe threats being an issue I know one thing is that the public "tax payers "should be answered.No more back room BS. I am speaking for me and tax payers who want to listen.SHUFSD started a petition to find out what is going ...more
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 6, 13 9:51 PM
Did or did not Mr Burns tell the tax payers he would not need an assistant? If he so said he did not , that is what I heard him say, he hired on that is at least a $ 180k lie. Start there and search. I am not and never complained about my job that I do good for a fair salary, but I am not deaf nor am I blind.As I have said in the past Mr Burns is a nice person but just on a power EGO trip and the tax payers get to pay him for this.When asked about bulling on a student he comments we are looking ...more
By watchdog785 (37), southampton on Apr 7, 13 6:54 AM
Reading these posts is like reading the ramblings of people who have had one glass too many.
By Alice (7), Westhampton on Apr 10, 13 9:50 PM
Good Old Boys Club at work! I am sure someone has a friend waiting for this position. The east end has always been in need of a school board run by educated people! Not the cabbage growers who are using it as a stepping stone to politics, or self importance,or to protect their own children!!
By bayview (112), Southampton on Apr 16, 13 6:16 PM
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