Chronically Late Far Rockaway Principal to Be Fired: DOE

By Katie Honan on February 19, 2014 2:00pm 

 Principal Marcella Sills from P.S. 106 in Far Rockaway was frequently late or absent, investigators found.
Principal Marcella Sills from P.S. 106 in Far Rockaway was frequently late or absent, investigators found.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

FAR ROCKAWAY — The principal of a Queens public elementary school is expected to be fired after a month-long investigation found she received full pay, despite frequently absences and chronic lateness, according to the Department of Education.

Marcella Sills, the principal P.S. 106 on Beach 35th Street since 2004, came under fire after a series of reports found her school lacked the correct books, went without gym and art class and didn't have substitute teachers when needed.

An investigation by Special Commissioner for Investigation Richard Condon found Sills and her assistant principal both failed to keep updated timecards and tried recreating them when investigators questioned them.

Condon recommended Sills be fired, and the DOE said they agreed.

"The findings of this report are disturbing — and we plan on executing SCI's recommendations," said spokesman Devon Puglia.

"As we do that, we are going to continue to support this school as much as possible going forward."

Sills, who made $128,207 this year, was reassigned away from the school pending charges, according to Puglia.

They did not immediately say if any action would be taken against the school's assistant principal, Tonya West.

School aide Lalita Singh told investigators that Sills "rarely in the building at 7:55 a.m." and handyman Samual Ordonez usually acted as a valet for the principal, allowing her to park her car behind school gates and carrying her bag into the building through a side door.

Despite the alleged lateness, the principal still received her full salary, according to Condon.

Sills denied her tardiness to investigators, offering up the names of staffers who could support that she came to work on time.

Those staffers, though, couldn't back her up and the parent coordinator even said she couldn't say if the principal came in "at 7:30 a.m. or 12," the report said. One teacher said she saw the principal arriving to school around 9 a.m. two days a week, and received help from a custodian, who helped carry her bags inside.

She was supposed to be in around breakfast time, or 7:30 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the principals' union, Antoinette Isable-Jones, said they "are reviewing the report, and of course, we will represent Ms. Sills if she asks for representation.".

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