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Woodland School Principal Mort Argoe has been placed on administrative leave for the remainder of the school year, according to a letter from Barrington School District Superintendent Anthony Arcodia. Renee Gonnella-Kenelia has been appointed as the acting principal of Woodland School for the remainder of the school year.
The Barrington Board of Education accepted Argoe’s resignation in a special-action meeting May 23. The resignation is to take effect June 30. Arcodia’s letter says he made the administrative leave decision on May 24 “in order to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning.”
Argoe has been invited to participate in the eight grade graduation ceremony, the letter states.
Gonnella-Kenelia is the district’s director of Special Education and will operate in a dual role until the end of the school year, according to the letter. Parents may contact her at (856) 547-8402, Ext. 233, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Argoe’s resignation came after an apparent bullying incident that some say he mishandled. Dozens of people showed up for the school board’s regular meeting May 14 and for the special-action meeting May 23 to defend Argoe, and many defenders also questioned the thoroughness of the investigation into his alleged actions.
During the special-action meeting, however, school board solicitor Mark G. Toscano said the district’s actions were not based on a single incident.
“This is a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more involved than what was spread,” Toscano said. “No one parent did this.”
When he was asked later about Argoe’s record and how it was possible that there were so many incidents from someone who appeared to have no issues before this year, Toscano spoke of an “uptick of incidents” in the current school year.
RELATED COVERAGE FROM THE BARRINGTON BULLETIN:
– May 23: “Principal Argoe resignation accepted“