New interim principal announced for Union High School

Image Via UnionTV34
The Union school board heard from Superintendent Gregory Tatum, far end of table to left, at its July 16 meeting that Battle Hill Elementary School Principal Mark Hoyt will become the interim principal at Union High School beginning Aug. 1. Hoyt will replace Acting Principal Althea Bossard.

UNION, NJ — Battle Hill Elementary School Principal Mark Hoyt will become the interim principal at Union High School starting Aug. 1, Union Superintendent Gregory Tatum announced at the Union Board of Education’s July 16 meeting.

Hoyt has been principal at Battle Hill since August 2015. Previously, he was the principal at Washington Elementary School.

Hoyt will replace Althea Bossard, who has held the position since September 2018, when former Principal Craig Lowery was placed on administrative leave. No reason was given for Lowery’s leave at the time. Parents were notified of the change via email from Tatum.

Tatum did not mention Bossard’s current status. She had been the school’s vice principal before being promoted to acting principal.

“The next move will be to appoint (Hoyt’s) successor at Battle Hill, which will be coming,” Tatum told the BOE at the meeting.

Additional personnel changes in the district include adding a vice principal at Burnett Middle School, he said.

The principal’s position at UHS has been mired in controversy for nearly a year. Athletic director Linda Ionta filed a lawsuit Nov. 1, 2018, claiming race and sex discrimination. According to the lawsuit, Ionta, who is white, alleged that she was pressured to fire the high school’s white football and basketball coaches by Lowery, who is black. Iont named Lowery, Tatum and other school officials in her lawsuit. Less than two weeks later, Lowery also filed a lawsuit, naming former school board President Vito Nufrio, the board in general and unidentified individuals, and claiming race discrimination.

The announcement of Hoyt’s promotion came in response to a question from board member Nellis Regis-Darby after 90 minutes into the two-hour meeting on July 16.

In response to another question from Regis-Darby, school business administrator Gregory Brennan updated the board on the district’s transition from Aramark to Pomptonian for food service. He said that Pomptonian, which is based in Fairfield, had taken an inventory of the district’s equipment, completed a full cleaning of the kitchen areas in the schools and had earmarked about $30,000 worth of new equipment purchases. He described the transition as “going well” and announced that 25 of the 80 to 90 Aramark employees who had worked in various Union schools had been hired by Pomptonian.