May 10, 2023

PPS BOE Should Do What’s Best For the Team and Keep Chmiel

To the Editor:

The following was read during public comment at the May 2, 2023 PPS Board of Education meeting.

I love sports. I love playing, love watching. Sports teaches teamwork, collaboration, working towards a common goal. Giving up individual goals for the betterment of the team.

As a parent, I use the lessons learned from sports to educate my kids on the lessons of life.

In professional sports, you see examples of teams hiring a new general manager (GM). The GM, in many cases, then immediately fires the coach, a coach hired by the previous GM. Happens all the time. The new GM wants to bring in their people and never gives the existing coaching staff an opportunity to succeed in the role. Fast forward a few years and what happens, that team is likely to still be hovering near the basement; teams that continue to turn over the coaching staff continue a losing culture. Free agents don’t want to sign with a team with a losing culture and stop attending the games.

The only way a team breaks that constant losing culture is when the owners recognize they made a mistake with that GM, eat some humble pie (and some salary), and do what they can to correct that mistake. GMs come and go, they’re just employees. They don’t own the team and they’re not fans who stay loyal to the team regardless.

Why is this all relevant?  What’s the lesson? The PPS Board has an opportunity to fix a mistake and bring back Mr. Chmiel. Please listen to him and be open minded during the upcoming Donaldson hearing. Listen to the feedback from the community.  Sure, Mr. Chmiel was not hired by the current GM. And it became quite clear as the GM wanted him out right from the start, providing little support to help him succeed. In spite of that, he became quite a beloved member of the PPS community. Can you imagine how amazing a principal he’d be with his GM’s support?

As parents, residents, and most importantly students, we’re the fans. We’re loyal to PPS no matter what. We’ll still be here when the current GM leaves Princeton and we hire a new one. Please think like an owner and do what’s best for the team and keep Mr. Chmiel.

Bret Jacknow
Farrand Road