New Paltz parents learn another principal is leaving

Tarkan Ceng (photo by Lauren Thomas)

Tarkan Ceng, who took the reins of Lenape Elementary School in September 2017, is leaving that position. Board of education members accepted his resignation — effective March 31 — at their February 27 meeting. Alan Baker will serve as interim principal at a rate of $550 a day.

According to school board president Michael O’Donnell, Baker was appointed as of March 8 to allow him to participate in a one-day professional development workshop, but his role as an interim principal does not commence until March 25. Baker’s appointment carries through the end of the school year.

Parents were not notified of the switch prior to Wednesday’s meeting, and reactions over social media make it clear they would like some details. Ceng was the third principal at Lenape in six years, and the third principal to leave the district this school year. Longtime New Paltz Middle School Principal Dr. Richard Wiesenthal, unexpectedly resigned from his position on June 22, 2018. Duzine Elementary School Principal Debra Hogencamp resigned after 26 years of employment in August of 2018.


Superintendent Maria Rice offered some additional information on Ceng’s exit, as well as what comes next. “Dr. Ceng has accepted a position of superintendent of a small, 200-student school district and will begin on April 1, 2019. He will be sending a letter to the families . . . announcing his decision to leave.”

As for filling the two vacant positions, administrators plan “to have a search for both elementary principals with parent, board, staff and administrative participation in the interview process.” Board members are “in agreement that we should find a consulting firm that will do the recruitment. We believe employing a firm to conduct the recruitment of a slate of potential candidates will help us to know we did everything possible to attract diverse candidates that are experienced, qualified, NYS certified, and have a strong commitment to social justice. Search consultants are skilled in these practices, have national contacts and know where to look for potential candidates that will meet our criteria. I have already reached out to two firms recommended by a member of the board’s Racial Equity Initiative Advisory Committee and am waiting for other suggestions for firms from board members. The board and I will interview the firms and make a decision as to which one will best meet the district’s needs.”

In the next couple of weeks, said Rice, the details of that process should be clearer.

There are 8 comments


    Paying someone $550 per day, New Paltz Tax Payers should revolt, that is a disgrace, no way is anyone worth $550 per day, that is insane and not fair to the tax payers.

    New Paltz Schools budget out of control ,



    1. npz tax payer

      it is insane, has this been taxpayer voter approved? Can we even imagine.

      Time for a local law that new paltz school tax payers Voter approve school administration. Salary, voter approve.

  2. Deltoro

    $550/day is ridiculous! This is why taxes are out of control! Meanwhile Wide & Small was forced out too many years too late. He was a biased, smug little man. The school district has been paying these kind of bloated salaries to administrators and skimping on basics like text books and ACTUAL needs, not another parking lot!

  3. Charlie

    Complaints over $550/day are complete “knee-jerk” reactions. The truth is that for what is a short term appointment with respect to the responsibility of the position, that is very reasonable compensation. The real concern here is why have these principals resigned??

  4. SMH on Shivertown


    Typical rats in a cage mentality. Amazon pays nothing in taxes while it decimates your taxbase. Republicans and their Neoliberal handmaidens cut taxes even further for millionaires and billionaires. Rich developers get huge tax breaks the rest of us have to offset. And who do we go after? Those members of the one institution that can give the underprivleged SOME chance. Educators. Wow, just wow.

    1. Amsterdam

      Only “…developers get huge tax breaks the rest of us have to offset.” is the only truism in your comment. And that is just locally.

  5. Hiking Mom

    Agree with you! Everyone raves about NP School district, and attributes the high property taxes to ‘amazing’ schools. We have one of the highest rates of opt-out of standard testing. This school year has been very disappointing for my child’s school curriculum heavy on common core.

    However, once in a while you get a great principle like Dr Ceng and amazing teacher and all is well with the world again.

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