State closed his school for poor performance. Now, he is running Paterson College Achieve Charter School. | Paterson Times Paterson Times

State closed his school for poor performance. Now, he is running Paterson College Achieve Charter School.

By Jayed Rahman
Published: February 14, 2019

Henry-McNair

The New Jersey Department of Education closed his charter school in Newark for poor academic performance less than two years ago, now Henry McNair is running the Paterson College Achieve Charter School.

McNair has been working as the principal of the Paterson College Achieve Charter School since Jul. 1, 2017 for $123,600, according to public records. His resume does not mention the shuttered school, Newark Prep Charter School, that he ran in Newark.

From 2015 until the state closed down the Newark Prep Charter School, McNair worked as its principal. His six-page resume, which does not mention any of his past employers, just the city in which each is located, says he was the “leader of a public charter high school serving 450 students” in Newark from 2015 to 2017.

McNair did not respond to an email seeking his input for this story.

“As you know, we can’t discuss individual employees due to privacy laws. However, I can say that McNair was hired as Newark Prep’s leader after the school was placed on probation, as part of their turnaround efforts,” said Naush Boghossian, spokeswoman for the College Achieve charter school network, in response to a query sent to the network’s founder, Michael D. Piscal, on Wednesday afternoon.

McNair’s turnaround efforts at the Newark Prep Charter School was unsuccessful. His charter school was among three forced to close effective Jun. 30, 2017, according to the New Jersey Department of Education.

Newark Prep Charter School was granted a charter in 2012. For half of its existence, McNair was its principal.

“Newark Prep is more than just a school. Here we have combined direct instruction with online learning to create a school environment where every student matters no matter your background or experiences. It’s a culture unique to Newark Prep that empowers our students every day,” said McNair in a news release in Jun. 2016 celebrating the school’s first graduating class.

It had a culture of failing students. A state review found the school had a “weak academic program” that it failed to improve on time to avoid closure. Just 2-percent of students met grade level expectations on state math exams in 2016.

“Parents should have been made aware of that before he was placed there as principal,” said former school board member Corey Teague, a critic of charter schools, on Wednesday afternoon when told of McNair’s tenure at the Newark Prep Charter School. “I don’t even know why the people who put him there didn’t take that into consideration or maybe they did and didn’t care.”

Teague said it was “obviously not a good move” for the Paterson College Achieve Charter School to have hired McNair for the principal’s post.

The Paterson College Achieve Charter School, which opened in 2017-18 school year, has a page to provide parents more information about McNair, but the page is blank.

Teague speculated McNair may have gotten the job through a “hook up” connection. McNair’s resume lists Gemar Mills, whose management firm is contracted to run the Paterson College Achieve Charter School, as a reference.

“If he didn’t have a good program to help children where he was, I don’t know what he plans to do here,” said Teague speaking of McNair.

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