On February 22, the majority of the members of the Board of Education voted to suspend Superintendent Rashawn Adams. “I was conflicted from the vote, but there were two no votes, (Lesinski and Remy), 2 abstentions (Ricks and Rogers), and 5 votes yes (Glassman, Grillo, Penna, Maghsood, and Saunders) to place the Superintendent on administrative leave of absence. It being a personnel issue, I can’t comment,” said board member Tracy Rogers.

Board member Jessiemae Ricks stated,”I will not comment on either the Superintendent or the Interim Superintendent because I am recused from both situations. What I will say is that I reject the process in which the decisions were made and that I as a board member have no clue as to what led to or the reasons these action(s) were taken by the five-member majority. However, my personal feeling is that the actions had nothing to do with the education of the children.”

Over the past year, tensions with Adams, the teacher’s union, and parents and students have continued to heighten. In May of 2023, the Asbury Park Education Association President John Napolitani announced a vote of no confidence in Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rashawn M. Adams. Over 90% of the staff voted in favor of the action. Reasons stated include a hostile work environment, lack of collaboration, violations of Board of Education policies, retaliation of staff for speaking out and reporting violations, and the elimination of critical positions. (See Pandemonium at School Board Meeting)

Since the Board of Education changed significantly in January, Adams has lost the support he had when Carritta Cook was President. Two of the newest Board members, Maghsood and Glassman, voted in favor of the suspension. Mark Gerbino was selected to serve as Interim Superintendent.

Since 2010, Gerbino worked as Principal for the Asbury Park School District in a number of schools, including Asbury Park High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. He was assigned as administrator on special assignment in September of 2022. He earned his master’s degree in administration and supervision from St. Peter’s University and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Montclair State University.

in 2021, Gerbino applied for the position of Superintendent when it was given to Adams. At that time, 60% of teachers surveyed by the Asbury Park Education Association selected Gerbino as their choice for Superintendent. Less than 10% of the teachers surveyed selected Adams in the poll.

Gerbino was reassigned from his position of Athletic Director in 2022. He was temporarily suspended as Athletic Director when coach Nick Famularo was found nude at the high school football stadium before a game in 2021. See In Asbury Park High School Athletic Director ‘Reassigned’ – The Coaster | Asbury Park, NJ

Kerry Margaret Butch is a founding member of the Asbury Park Reporter. Throughout her career, she worked to increase grassroots input in local public policy. She served as the Executive Director of both the Asbury Park Consortium and the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. Notably, she produced the documentaries entitled, “Greetings from Asbury Park,” shown throughout the country and on PBS, and “Storming for the Vote: Hurricane Sandy and the Election.”

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