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Replacement Named for Embattled East Harlem Principal Ousted by Parents

By Dartunorro Clark | June 2, 2017 4:02pm | Updated on June 4, 2017 5:39pm
 A protest from May 2016, where a group of parents push for the removal of Monika Garg.
A protest from May 2016, where a group of parents push for the removal of Monika Garg.
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Dartunorro Clark/DNAInfo

EAST HARLEM — An interim principal has been placed at the helm of a local elementary school following the ouster of its former controversial principal last month, the city's Department of Education said.

Gabriel Feldberg, who has 25 years of teaching and administrative experience, took over as the acting principal of Central Park East 1 on June 1, the department said.

He served as an assistant principal at P.S. 10 in Brooklyn since 2012. Prior to that, he was a network leader for 25 elementary and middle schools in Manhattan and the Bronx from 2011 to 2015, the DOE said.

He called leaving the Brooklyn school “bittersweet” but said he’s “excited” to start at CPE 1.

“I am eager to join the CPE 1 community and look forward to adding to its long tradition of progressive education principles, rigorous practices, and social-emotional growth,” Feldberg said in a statement.

Acting Superintendent Dolores Esposito will oversee the school until the end of the year and during that time find a permanent replacement, officials said.

Feldberg’s ascension follows the departure of Monika Garg, who served the school for two years before abruptly stepping down in mid-May following a yearlong feud with parents, who accused Garg of eroding the legacy of the renowned progressive school.

Garg agreed to leave the school and take a new but unspecified position in the DOE.

During that yearlong conflict, a group of parents protested, petitioned and, in one instance, occupied a school auditorium overnight to push for Garg’s removal.

Garg and her defenders, however, maintained that she was trying to implement structure in what had been a parent-run school.

“We're relieved that we no longer have to raise a stink,” Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, the co-president of the parents’ association, told DNAinfo New York previously. “Now we can focus on rebuilding.”