Heated discussion at school board; Knapp replaced at NHS

NORWICH – “A house that is divided on itself, can not stand,” said Don Tubbs, just one of the many speakers at Tuesday night’s Norwich Board of Education meeting.

Tubbs, a district employee, said problems related to leadership and morale – particularly in the middle school – are continuing to escalate. “Things are not getting better,” he said.

As the meeting got underway Tuesday, however, it was apparent that district problems do not lie only in one building. During public comment, teacher Bruce Race spoke about high school principal Tom Knapp, and how he has helped to improve the environment of the high school. Race said teachers and staff are wondering why Knapp has not returned from a medical absence.

“He said he would return after the Memorial Day weekend, but he has not been back,” Race said, adding, “his office has been purged of files ... and we have seen this happen before.”

Race finished his statement to the board by asking, “Where is our leader?”

This morning, Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan said he could not comment on Knapp’s employment status because it was a confidential personnel matter.

“Mr. Knapp is not available to be principal right now,” said O’Sullivan. Instead, former longtime superintendent Dr. Robert Cleveland is filling in. “Bob Cleveland is filling in on an interim basis and is doing a great job as he always does,” O’Sullivan said.

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