CRANFORD, NJ — The Cranford Board of Education opened a discussion to the public as they expressed their concerns about the recent termination of Principal Kate McCabe at last week’s Board of Education meeting. Everyone was encouraged to speak, even if someone else had already expressed similar ideas, so that their name and concerns would be on record. Many students spoke in favor of their principal and had nothing but positive words to say about her.
Senior Liam McCaffrey took the microphone first and told the board that McCabe’s efforts have been nothing short of miraculous. He claimed that no other principal had ever expressed interest in the students in such positive manner. He discussed his aspirations with McCabe and even felt comfortable enough to address his anxieties with her. He credits McCabe for providing him the confidence to pursue a college education.
Although McCabe only worked for two years as the principal, she made a difference to many lives in that short amount of time. She offered guidance to Jake Scott as he applied to McCabe’s alma mater, and she wrote him a letter of recommendation to accompany his college application. Scott finds the board’s decision to terminate McCabe, “disturbing.”
One speaker opened with a quote by Benjamin Franklin that stated, “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” Although the speakers expressed their disagreement with the decision to terminate McCabe, there were concerns that McCabe demonstrated stronger interpersonal skills than administrative ability. She was fairly new to the role of principal, and a speaker made note that she might have even made some “rookie mistakes.” It was also noted that she wasn’t hired for her experience since she was new to the role, but rather for her compassion, integrity and vision.
Many speakers didn’t have a negative word to say about her and hadn’t heard of anything she’d done wrong during her two years as principal. She greeted the students and staff each morning and attended numerous events to show her support of the student body. McCabe took a vigorous interest in getting to know people. She made herself available to the school when they needed her. Some claimed she would attend Cranford High School events even if they conflicted with the schedules of her own children. Her dedication to the school was apparent by the number of lives she’s impacted in her role as principal.
Barbara Carroll, assistant principal of academic affairs, claimed McCabe had the best interest for the students. She also said that she demonstrated administrative ability that was just as good as any she’s seen in her lifetime. Keith Carroll, a teacher and administrator who worked at Cranford High School for more than 20 years, also supported McCabe and her potential as principal. She positively addressed concerns of students and staff members.
McCabe was recognized with a standing ovation at Senior Night, an event she created as principal during her two years in the position. She knew the names of all students and faculty and got to know each one on an individual basis. She took a genuine interest in the students and staff.
It is apparent that she will be missed if the decision to terminate McCabe isn’t reconsidered. Those who spoke made it clear that Cranford High School won’t be the same without her.