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NPS reinstates BMHS leadership; further ‘clarity’ promised

Brien McMahon High School Principal Scott Hurwitz, left; former Brien McMahon High School Principal Suzanne Koroshetz, right., at the 2017 Board of Education meeting where Hurwitz was appointed to lead Brien McMahon. Koroshetz is now a BoE member. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Brien McMahon High School is getting its administrators back.

“We are pleased to announce that Scott Hurwitz will return tomorrow, June 16, 2021, to his position as Principal of Brien McMahon High School. Qadir Abdus-Salaam will also return tomorrow to his position as Assistant Principal of Brien McMahon High School,” said Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella in a Tuesday evening email.

Thus ends an odd saga that’s puzzled the community: Hurwitz, Abdus-Salaam and Assistant Principal Barbara Wood were placed on administrative leave without prejudice in April, with no explanation to the public, prompting confusion and concern among BMHS families. Wood returned to her job in early May. Wilcox Williams said, in April, that they were on leave “while the district addresses a personnel matter.”

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella followed that with an announcement that “we are not investigating any allegations of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct.”

Coinciding with these developments, all three Brien McMahon music teachers were placed on administrative leave. Two have resigned. BMHS Choral Teacher Frank Arcari’s resignation was effective May 15 while BMHS Orchestra Teacher Scott Benson’s is effective June 30.

There’s been no indication whether or not the development are related. “Personnel matters are confidential,” Norwalk Public Schools Communications Director Brenda Wilcox Williams said in April.

Late last week, NancyOnNorwalk learned that a State Department of Education investigation into “issues of concern” at Brien McMahon had ended and published a story Monday. Parents responded with a letter to the editor, urging that Hurwitz be reinstated.

“In the nearly four years since Mr. Hurwitz took the helm at Brien McMahon, he has proven himself to be a dynamic and engaging principal, and someone who has the interest of all students at heart,” Julie Begos, Tracy Gulick and Jody Sattler wrote. “…Whatever is being investigated needs to be viewed in the context of his significant value to the Brien McMahon community. If he does not return, it would only serve to hurt the current students for whom he has advocated so strongly. The loss would set McMahon back years, and the harm to students, faculty, staff, and the district itself, would be irreparable.”

Board of Education Chairman Colin Hosten responded to Begos and Sattler at Tuesday’s BoE meeting, saying, “that personnel matter has now been closed. It’s been adjudicated, finished, and then (there) will be further clarity in the days and weeks to come.”

Estrella, in Tuesday’s email, also offered “a special thank you to Barbara Wood for serving in the role of Acting Principal.”

4 comments

Stuart Garrelick June 16, 2021 at 11:49 am

Hope there is still room under the rug to sweep this along with all the other matters that we never learn the truth about. Can’t talk about personnel matters, ongoing litigation, etc. etc.
What possible reason can there be for placing the music department on “administrative leave” other than they all went off key at the same time.
Does any reasonable person really expect “further clqrification in the days and weeks ahead?”

Tysen Canevari June 16, 2021 at 5:25 pm

Rumor has it that there was hazing going on in the music department and some other inappropriate activities. The administration knew about it and did nothing until a parent called a lawyer. Shame on the board of ed to keep saying you will find out later on. When is that? After the kids are in college? Way to be open to the citizens that make up Brien Mcmahon

Jeff June 17, 2021 at 12:05 am

At what point does this become a freedom of information issue? Are the City officials just hunkering down and figuring out a way to spin this?! I have a feeling this is going to end up ugly.

Anon July 31, 2021 at 11:57 pm

Interesting to read Tysen’s comment regarding hazing. My son was subject to it during that timeframe by a student in the drama/music dept. Unfortunately my son didn’t let any adult (at home or in school) about it and went after the kid himself. There’s no way the departments didn’t already know about that kid’s reputation for bullying and picking on kids in music and drama for the years he attended. As I found out later, the bullying/hazing went on for a few years against my son. I lost respect for both Hurowitz (asst. prin. at the time) and Koroshetz in how they dealt with my son and myself. Made my son look to be the bully against the drama/music student with the total behavioral problem. Very ugly situation, as the school wouldn’t admit they knew this kid has issues and didn’t keep a close eye on him.

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