Former Clarkstown Superintendent Placed On Leave By Buffalo School

Dr. Margaret Keller-Cogan, who left the Clarkstown School District last June, has been put on leave from her position as head of the Elmwood Franklin School.


Dr. Margaret Keller-Cogan left behind a stormy relationship with the Clarkstown Board of Education when her contract as superintendent was not renewed in 2012.  After six years in Clarkstown, she accepted a position as the head of school for the Elmwood Franklin School, an independent school near Buffalo enrolling preschoolers through eighth graders. On Friday night, the school board sent a letter to parents notifying them that the board would be negotiating the terms of Keller-Cogan’s departure.

The letter stated, “Clearly we have difficult issues to address and your passionate and heartfelt comments are taken very seriously by all of the board members.”

An estimated 300 parents, faculty members, alumni and corporation members attended a meeting on Thursday night to discuss what was happening at the school.  Takeaways from the meeting can be read on the alumni Facebook page.

Within recent weeks, three staff members were terminated and the faculty had petitioned to join the New York State United Teachers union. The staff and faculty previously sent a May 7 letter to parents explaining why they were taking steps to form the Elmwood Franklin School Faculty and Staff Association. There were calls at the Thursday meeting for their reinstatement and a restructuring of the board.

Keller-Cogan is still listed on Elmwood Franklin’s web site as head of the school. A message was left requesting a statement from school officials; there is none on the school’s web site.

Jonathan Swift May 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Who was on the Board of Education that hired Keller-Cogan here in Clarkstown? Who was the President of that Board? If there were issues in a prior school district, why didn't that Board properly vet her? Does anyone know?
ADK May 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM
John, unfortunately it's not that easy...good people from our community were subjected to the worst kind of personal attacks and vitriol by a number of "zealots" from current and past Boards of Education as well as a small group of parental "insiders" all of whom chose to ignore the most obvious and blatant evidence, instead creating "straw men" like gender discrimination to defend the indefensible. The result, a fractured community, a school district with enormous financial challenges and incumbent Board members who are largely responsible for this mess, two of whom are running unapposed because no good people want to wade into this cesspool and subject their families to this behavior. There are now three school districts forced to clean up the same mess.
Arizonah25 May 13, 2013 at 11:52 PM
I agree, AK. We don't need to dredge this up again, but very good people put up with a lot of personal attacks, threats, and abuse over the whole situation. I just have to wonder...who gave her a good enough reference to get the job in Buffalo? They must have reached out to board members. Did someone really say she did a stellar job? Even if a board member supported her, shouldn't they have at least been honest about how she polarized the entire community? I would think that they would have to be. Wonder where all those "Keep Keller-Cogan" signs are now?
Cynthia May 13, 2013 at 11:54 PM
To "where's Morton": we asked those same questions here in Buffalo, but we had 6 people on the board who were mysteriously so invested in her survival. She almost ruined our school and now we are working to get rid of the board. She is a cancer.
Jonathan Swift May 14, 2013 at 12:19 AM
Alan, you're fun to watch you in action. Your bitterness over the last election still is upsetting you! Move on! "Incumbent board members who are largely responsible for this mess" What? The incumbents? Malgieri? Hoeneveld? Carlucci? Grogan? They did damage in a single year? Really? What did they do? What did they not do? Their voices were ignored by the former board majority (actually Grogan is the last man standing) so what damage could they have done in the past? Thankfully we have a new board, new super, new teacher's union president and the the nonsense of the past is gone. Please, Alan, tell us what the "incumbents" have done. You see a cesspool? Look closer. Maybe it's a pool with your own reflection in it?
Mike Hirsch May 14, 2013 at 12:50 AM
I knew and liked MKC and thought she did a good job. I did not like the war that engulfed our district last year because it seemed to have more to do with personalities than education. We do not really know what went on behind the scenes in Buffalo, but it appears that MKC was the loser. I imagine that Phil DeGaetano feels somewhat vindicated. The School Board has moved on, and so has Phil. Good enough for me.
Tony T May 14, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Let's see what all of the Keller-Cogan backers have to say now? I guess the Board, who the supporters of Cogan ripped to shreds were personally condemned and castigated, were right about this women after all!
Deejay May 14, 2013 at 01:06 AM
What's the opposite of a Midas touch?
The Real Mary Smith May 14, 2013 at 01:26 AM
What's the opposite of a Midas touch? where's morton
The Real Mary Smith May 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Mike Hirsch, The ends do not justify the means. How easily you forget the unethical behaviors of the past BOE and others. You glorify them for being unprofessional, unethical and underhanded. They didn't like her, but, what they did to get rid of her is unconscionable. Their behaviors have destroyed CCSD. Phil isn't vindicated. How did the patch get this article? This smells funny and it leads to Phil DeGaetano wanting to look like he has done nothing wrong. Mike, pray that Phil always likes you or watch out! Phil, eventually your dirty deeds catches up with you. It will also catch up with Doug, Donna, Kevin Grogan, Lorette Adams and Alan Katz. The ends never, ever justifies the means.
The Real Mary Smith May 14, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Mike, Forget what I just said. Pray fro me as i am undeniably stupid and I have the point of view of a 3 year old. It is clear that MKC was the root of all problems here and there and I'm dumb enough to still defend her. I'm not even sure how I'm putting these sentences together but am somehow.
Sigmund Freud May 14, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Cynthia, 6? I thought the school she's at has 19 board of education members and that 15 supported MKC? If I am incorrect please correct me thank you.
ADK May 14, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Welcome back Mary, so good to hear from you again...you and I agree completely--the ends do not justify the means--terrorizing Donna, lampooning Kevin and Phil, trying to ruin Doug's business, making cowardly, baseless accusations against Lorette, pitting neighbor against neighbor, fear mongering in an attempt to get a bond passed, turning our school district upside down, all because a few misguided Board Members and "insiders" couldn't admit that they made a bad hire...it took Greece 30 days...it took Buffalo 8 months...it took Clarkstown 6 years...maybe we aren't as smart as we think we are...
Sigmund Freud May 14, 2013 at 01:58 AM
ADK, since you mentioned Lorette Adams, wasn't she the Board of Ed prez who hired Keller-Cogan? I see someone else asked that question and I'm curious, was she?
Deejay May 14, 2013 at 02:06 AM
One is chance, twice is coincidence, three is a pattern. More than a few past and present employees tonight with a quiet smile of vindication.
ADK May 14, 2013 at 02:12 AM
I know that Lorette was on the Board, I don't know if she was the President...I believe that Lisa Lieberman, Karen Kasman, Dom Riolo, Lawrence Garvey, John Davidson and Rhea Vogel were in the board as well.
Steven D. May 14, 2013 at 02:27 AM
So Mike, Phil must feel vindicated about what? That he didn't like MKC so that gave him license to BULLY and THREATEN MKC and anyone who supported her? Maybe the people who stood up for MKC were really standing up for Anti-Bullying from board members who acted in unethical and unprofessional ways. Guess you're ok with the way those board members went after staff in the district just because they could - because they had protection from Phil. No one wants to come to ccsd because of Phil and his buddies on the board - not because of MKC. Maybe they didn't like her or the many other people in the district, but Mike, no one can ever vindicate Phil and company from their deceitful ploys they imposed on staff and the community. They will get their upcomings eventually. They are the ones people talk about, not MKC. Their legacy will always be how they destroyed our district and our community. I agree that ends don't justify the means. The students who witnessed their behaviors will always remember them as BULLIES.
Steven D. May 14, 2013 at 02:30 AM
They left a lasting impression on our youth. And for that you think they must feel vindicated? Not surprised that you would support Phil. They say birds of a feather right? If you don't remember history, you will be condemned to repeat it. Never forget their methods for trying to get rid of people. Seems most people haven't which is why no one wants to work in our district. Their legacy lives on and thanks to all these post glorifying them, people will continue to stay clear of our district - not because of MKC but because of people like you. Thanks for supporting bullying. Way to go people
Steven D. May 14, 2013 at 02:37 AM
ADK, you continue to justify the ruthless behavior if your buddies. Interesting because some of your buddies have loose lips and have shared much to much, especially about you and your involvement in helping them get rid of MKC and last year with an administrator who was up for tenure. Loose lips shared about a lot of people unethical involvement. You can gloat about MKC but you didn't replace her with the best. Why? Because people don't want to come to our district because of your friends dirty deeds. Even the teachers union saw the unethical behavior s going on and ousted the president of this teachers union. The ends don't justify the means ADK. They just don't. MKC got hers and the rest of you will get yours. It's inevitable.
Rob May 14, 2013 at 04:10 AM
I think she needs a makeover...Perhaps a new hair style. Time to forget the past and move on.
Tony T May 14, 2013 at 10:35 AM
How can you still defend Cogan....three school districts three issues it's like the parent of a 6 year old...."not my kid"!! As for a "good job" the only thing she did was tear the community and develop a cadre of loyal lemmings to fight her battles.
Tony T May 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM
The boards "behavior destroyed" the CCSD....when this women came on board she came with "baggage" and only a few cared to look further then the tip of our nose's.
Tony T May 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM
If that was so she would still be there?
Disgusted ClarkstownRES May 14, 2013 at 10:50 AM
What I don't and can't understand is why what is happening to MKC is any of our concern here in Clarkstown. After, reading these posts all I can take away is that people are back to attacking people. What good does that do anyone? From what I can see we are on the road to recovery with a new Supt. and several new Board members. It seems as though members of our community are the ones who are NOW dredging up the past. Time to move on for everyone's sake, especially the children. Thank you to our "new" Board and Supt. for moving forward. Maybe the community needs to learn from you folks!
Joe Ciardullo May 15, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Wow. Third time is a charm. It seems that some people are owed an apology. I'd like to know how much money was wasted with all of the opposition to getting rid of her. The legal fees, lawsuits, and other costs all seem frivolous now. We definitely did not get what we paid for with her. I was never a supporter of her, but the people that were her biggest fans have not said a word, except, we need to move on. Just admit you were wrong and then we can move on. It's part of the healing process.
GWashington May 15, 2013 at 03:12 PM
The woman created havoc in this district. We are still suffering the consequences of her spend-thrift ways. She is a carpetbagger with no connections to the communities she torments. Vote NO on the Clarkstown School Budget, Tuesday May 21
Tony T May 22, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Hey, what happened to all of you Keller-Cogan supporters? Come out come out where ever your are!!
TaxpayinMF (Redux) May 23, 2013 at 07:50 AM
rumor has it that certain school board members are privately discussing bringing back Keller-Cogan. I hope there is no truth to this rumor, but I have very good sources. After all the damage and destruction she left in her wake, do we really need more of that? I am sure many of you have heard the same rumors.
Jonathan Swift May 23, 2013 at 09:15 AM
I, too, have heard these rumors. I hope it is so because I'd like to see MKC back & finally working with a fully functioning board (well, 6 out of 7 members).
TaxpayinMF (Redux) May 23, 2013 at 11:05 AM
@Town Board Observer, maybe you can FOIL minutes from executive committee meeting. I am told you are quite good at FOIL requests.


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