March 18, 2023

PPS Replaces PHS Principal Frank Chmiel; Asst. Principals Taking Over Temporarily

By Donald Gilpin

Frank Chmiel, Princeton High School (PHS) principal since July 2021, is out, according to a March 17 afternoon announcement from the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) superintendent and the 10 members of the PPS Board of Education.

Chmiel’s employment has apparently been terminated by the BOE, though the announcement sent out to PPS families, students, and staff, did not mention reasons for Chmiel’s departure, and, in accord with New Jersey Public Meeting Laws, school officials did not provide further details on this personnel issue.

The announcement from superintendent and BOE did not mention Chmiel’s name but noted that “Princeton High School assistant principals Rashone Johnson and Cecilia Birge have jointly assumed the responsibilities of the principal of PHS on a temporary basis as Princeton High School undergoes a transition in the school leadership.”

The short email continued, “We anticipate appointing an interim principal who is a veteran educator with many years of experience to take the helm and serve as principal for the remainder of the school year.  We know that change is never easy, but we have a dedicated staff who is committed to the students’ well-being, security, and educational needs. These will remain the top priority for our educators at PHS.”

Chmiel, who was not available for comment, has received widespread support from many members of the school community. A petition “In Support of Principal Chmiel” garnered about 1,200 signers in May of last year when rumors circulated that his contract might not be renewed for the 2022-23 school year.  At that time his contract was renewed through June 30, 2023. He does not have tenure in the PPS.

As rumors emerged on social media earlier this week, Chmiel proponents rallied again. Another petition, initiated by PHS students and titled “Chmiel Has Been Fired. We Demand Transparency and that the Board Rescind His Termination” had more than 1,700 signatures by late Saturday morning.

“We want to highlight how Principal Chmiel has positively impacted our school and how significant of a person he has become in our community,” the petition states.