Dr. Kathleen Foster steps in as Interim Superintendent

November, 2023
Aritra RayAndrew KuoEmily Kim

On October 22, the PHS community received an email from the Board of Education stating that Dr. Carol Kelley would be resigning from her role as PPS Superintendent following a nine-month leave of absence. In a later email to parents and guardians, Kelley offered her own words of explanation.

“This week, after much consideration, I made the difficult decision to resign as Superintendent of Princeton Public Schools. For personal and professional reasons, I must take some time to reset and recenter myself so I can later return to public education and continue to positively impact students,” Kelley wrote in an email.

Following Kelley’s announcement, Rebecca Gold stepped in to serve as Acting Superintendent and Dr. Kathleen Foster was appointed as Interim Superintendent ten days later.

Gold and Foster are both long-time administrators, in Princeton and elsewhere. Gold served for more than 25 years in Lawrence Township, serving in various leadership positions, such as the Director of Personnel. She currently serves as the Interim Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in PPS. The temporary role of Acting Superintendent added to her current responsibilities.

When asked to describe the role of Gold and the Interim Superintendent, Dafna Kendal, President of the Board of Education, said that it was important to have someone to “sign the checks,” or in other words, act as a formal authority in the district decisions made by the administrative team.

“The board wants someone in charge; even though we have a really strong administrative team, we just want that one person,” Kendal said.

Deeply familiar with Princeton’s educational landscape, Foster most recently served as the Interim Principal for Princeton High School following the dismissal of Frank Chmiel. Prior to that, she held a longstanding administrative position in Robbinsville before joining the PPS district in December 2021 as the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. On November 13, the board approved her appointment as Interim Superintendent, which is expected to last for the rest of Kelley’s contractual term.

According to Foster’s contract, the Board wants to “enhance administrative stability, financial security, and continuity within the schools while the Superintendent is on a leave of absence.”

Rashone Johnson, the assistant principal at PHS, believes that PHS is used to these types of changes and can adapt well to them.

“[The] high school administration is still going to do everything in our power to make sure that things still run smoothly for all of our students and staff,” Johnson said.

As PPS changes administrators, students and staff have found ways to continue to achieve the goals of the district, namely quality education. Kendal agreed that students and staff are at the core of the district.

“I think what makes our district great is our teaching staff. And, I know there have been a lot of administrative changes … [but] our teachers just continue doing their jobs and focus on teaching and learning. So while I think it’s important who we have as a leader of the district, I think we’re led by … [what is happening] in our buildings,” Kendal said.