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Judge Orders Jeff Simon Removed as Manalapan HS Principal

The initial decision by an administrative law judge has been filed with the Commissioner of Education for review.

In-Depth: Breakdown of Judge's Ruling Ordering Removal of Manalapan HS Principal

An administrative law judge ordered Manalapan High School Principal Jeff Simon removed from his position.

Judge Donald J. Stein's initial decision, which was filed on Tuesday, Jan. 22, upheld many of the tenure charges Freehold Regional High School District made against Simon in February 2012.

The tenure charges brought against Simon alleged that he violated district polices, regulations, and procedures which endangered students and employees, or related to the mishandling of student activity funds.

The judges decision has been filed with New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf. Cerf can adopt, modify or reject this decision. If the commissioner does nothing within 45 days, the Office of Administrative Law judge decision is upheld.

‪"Based on the record, I find and conclude that the respondent if left in this position would continue to ignore policy and do what he wanted,”‬ the decision read. 

Of the three charges filed against Simon, one was dismissed. Four of the five counts within the first charge were sustained, while one was dismissed and five of the seven counts within the second charge were sustained and two were dismissed. 

The Freehold Regional High School District was represented by Nichols Celso, III of Schwartz, Simon, Edelstein, and Celso LLC; Simon was represented by Stuart J. Moskovitz, Esq.

Gina Guzzi Francia January 30, 2013 at 08:31 PM
List them? Lets see
anonymous January 30, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Lets get every name on the complaint that supported Sampson's quest for conquest, and let's see who gets promoted, or some typical silly-dilly FRHSD pay raise down the road. I'm watching....:)
M.R. January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Tom Thornton, the Judge may a decision based on the evidence presented him, not necessarily all the facts. Did you know that Dr. Koegler once adored Mr. Simon? Then she had to endure the wrath of the other principals when she was charmed by Simon into making a rather foolish decision. It all had to do with administrators coaching! She was acting Supt. & wanted the job - Mr. Sampson got it though. It's a good guess that a part of her blamed Mr. Simon. Louise was no fan of Simon and was quite verbal about it both in and out of the school. She was Wasser's neighbor and didn't see school employees putting up his fence. The group of Simon haters began to solidify and with a purpose. Success! Sleep well liars! You destroyed a good, yet flawed, man's LIFE! Which one of you is so perfect? Karma is a bitch! Congratulations!
tom thornton January 30, 2013 at 10:10 PM
"This action probably cost the district nearly a half-million dollars. This action required no more than a written warning or small suspension--no need for this to rise to the level of termination. This man will in all probability be ruined forever" Thank you Judge Who told you that? Simon or his lawyer or the gadflies who buzz around Close and Victoria Dean?
tom thornton January 30, 2013 at 10:22 PM
The judge did indeed base his ruling on evidence presented. If Simon's lawyer did not present compelling evidence to the contrary orother facts what should the judge have done? The judge said himeself that Simon was caught in lies. There is no defense against that. Your claim that "she wanted the job" is misplaced. If you looked at the public meeting during the selection process they said right up front that the Acting Super was not being considered for the job. You, I mean Simon claim that everybody lied and the whole world is against him. You sound like a 7 year old who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I forgot they did! The only ones responsible for Simon fall from grace was Simon and his his own actions and never showed a single act of contrition, appologized and according to the judge, to this day still feels he is right and everyone else is wrong. I really feel sorry for him. He disgraced not only himself but the entire community and those who put their blind faith in him and his word.
M.R. January 30, 2013 at 10:31 PM
She applied! M.R.
joseph breder January 30, 2013 at 11:06 PM
I Know Mr. Simon for over 30 years. I dont believe a single charge. he would never put kids in any sort of harms way. Stay strong Jeff .
Curious George January 31, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Now tell us how you really feel!
lol January 31, 2013 at 01:15 AM
As an MHS student I have seen what the school was and what it is now. Mr. Simon made all students very happy to go to school every morning and we all felt safe and welcomed. Now we don't like doing anything to do with the high school, because going there feels like a jail. Future students don't want to even step foot into MHS for orientation, because they don't want to deal with all that is happening. We feel like prisoners walking through the halls. We miss Mr.Simon dearly! He's innocent!
Curious George January 31, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Hey Tom, why bother changing your name for this site? Benji's DNA is all over your hateful rants...BTW, what did Simon ever do to you for you to hate him so much...and don't say it's not hate. There's no other way to describe your words when you write what you do.
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:31 AM
And they said at the meeting ( watch the video) that the temporary person was not being considered.
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:32 AM
As good as the gold the judge said he stole?
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Read what the judge said.
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:34 AM
You missed the point. The judge said he got caught in a series of lies and deceptions. He stole money from the students. Do you condone that?
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:40 AM
With all due respect, you liked Mr. Simon because he let the inmates run the asylum. Now, there are rules that have to be followed and the spoiled little brats don't like that because they don't have to follow any rules at home either. Sorry to be so strong but the truth hurts. It is unfortunate that te school community had be be brought down to this but the only one to blame s Mr. Simon. If he had done te right thing, none of this would have happened.
tom thornton January 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM
If you claim the judge did not have all the facts then you are also claiming Mr.Moskovitz did not adequately represent his client. It is up to the lawyers to present the evidence and up to the judge to determine who is telling the truth. He site finder of fact in this case. Based on you assumptions, you therefore think that Simon should fie a malpractice claim against Moskovitz.
Jerry January 31, 2013 at 03:16 AM
I'll reserve comment on the ruling until I do as suggested and read the decision. That being said, "Ha", your inappropriate posts and language skills do nothing to aide your position. If you are a product of MHS or are a current student, your postings are an indictment of the education you've received. Clean up your act if you want to be taken seriously.
Jerry January 31, 2013 at 04:01 AM
I just read through the judges decision (well, most of it anyway). I have 2 children who have graduated MHS and 1 who is a sophomore and never had an issue with Mr. Simon - until reading this document. At the very least, Mr. Simon has demonstrated that he does not have the skill set to be in a position of leadership. "Rapid Dismissal Fire Drill"? Allowing students to stop at their lockers AND buy pizza on the way out of the building during a fire drill? Are you kidding me? Does anyone consider this to be a good idea? Does everyone know the purpose of fire drills? This man clearly put the students, faculty and staff at risk by not taking fire drills seriously. This is unforgivable. As for the other charges, he clearly made some incredibly poor decisions and is not a person who should be leading a school or any organization for that matter. If he had to live in the business world, he would not be a position of authority. As Tom Thorton (or whatever his real name is) has suggested, those who are blindly defending Mr. Simon should read the decision. The judge clearly took the case seriously and weighed the credibility of the individual testimonies before rendering his decision. For what it's worth, when the charges were originally made and Mr. Simon was swiftly removed from his job, I thought the whole thing appeared to be a witch hunt. After reading the facts, my opinion has changed. Mr. Simon had to go and is lucky to not be arrested.
lol February 01, 2013 at 04:03 AM
are you calling me a brat? wow. you should be in high school. you really don't understand what has been going on as well as we do and you never will. I will admit that some of Mr.Simon's decisions haven't been the best but no principal is perfect. He got to know us and taught us a lot. Unless you know him like we do then you shouldn't be bashing him. I am graduating this year and the #1 thing getting me mad about graduating, is that the principal has been such an inspiration to us isn't going to be there shaking our hand when we receive our diplomas. Any man or woman can be a principal, but it takes a lot to be a principal that your students aren't scared of or angry at 100 percent of the time. Please don't post hateful comments, because from what I have read all you have done was read an article. You have probably never even met the man. I am saying all of this as a STUDENT, which none of you are. You aren't in MHS everyday. I have been involved with so many activities dealing with the school and I have seen what goes on. None of you have.
Dylan Moshe February 01, 2013 at 03:26 PM
As a former student I agree entirely.
Dylan Moshe February 01, 2013 at 03:28 PM
As A former student I agree with you entirely.
Dylan Moshe February 01, 2013 at 03:30 PM
While facts are facts, and they can not be disputed, I will say that the High School was a better learning atmosphere while Simon was there. Despite the bad he did, he encouraged and motivated students to learn more than any other recent principals at the school. That is something that can't be taken away from him.
Curious George February 01, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Actually, you have that backwards...If he commited the "crimes" that were alleged, the police should have been called in immediately. That would have saved the district the many hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees (which far exceeded the amount he was alleged to have taken) to their law firm to investigate and present the case to the hearing judge. That would all have been done by the township or county investigators and court system. Clearly Mr. Sampson wanted this contained for his own purposes and like everything else since he took over as Sup't., he got what he wanted....but at what cost? That doesn't seem to matter to him...Almost from the moment he assumed his position, he offered excessive raises to everyone he could and then created new positions with "new salary thresholds" so that he could promote his people with even higher salaries. Add all that to these insulting merit pay tasks, which should be part of his job description, which will give him an additional $26K when approved by his ever loving rubber stamping board.
a concerned student February 01, 2013 at 10:48 PM
They don't care about the helping the students.. They just want to penalize them more so thy look good and get tenure
tom thornton February 02, 2013 at 12:15 AM
To the students who made comment, Your perspective is clouded by the appearance of joviality and friendliness. Just because you got a high five and a smile did not make Simon an educational leader. The judge specifically said that Simon decided to do things in a manner that was against district policies that are designed to protect students and ensure an orderly educational process. His opinion was that because Simon was not even one bit sorry prompted the judge to determine that he would continue to do whatsoever he wanted. The mishandling of student funds and the attempted coverup were just wrong and he tried to blame others. He failed to take responsibility for his actions. Perhaps that is the lesson you should draw from all this. The former superintendent had a similar problem where he refused to take responsibility. In the end, he too had to leave his position.
Jerry February 02, 2013 at 03:53 AM
George, it appears that your comment is a response to my post above. Not really sure what your note has to do with what I wrote. If you're trying to convince me that the whole board is broken, you don't have to work too hard. The reality is that while there are good, bad and even terrible and exceptional teachers, that rarely translates into a good administrator. Teachers are not exposed to the business world where they must perform or be gone. Administrators fall into the same category. If you want an effective board, populate it with people from outside of the education sector. Of course, that will never happen.
the font February 02, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Mr. Simon, by all accounts, seems to be a personable, friendly and well liked person. It's fine for folks to say that. But it cannot be used as a defense and to ignore the facts that were presented. If he had worked at a bank or department store...he would have been fired. Ignoring what went on would be condoning his actions. That is not a lesson that can be taught to our children. It is a shame that is happened, but it was brought on Simon himself. He needs to learn from his mistakes, accept them and get on with his life.
Jerry February 02, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Perfectly stated by the font. The current and former students who have posted will realize as they move through college and into their careers that those of us "old folks" who have posted here (well most of us anyway (-:)) were right.
Valeriya Gersh March 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM
As a former student, I disagree, Mr. Simon directed a zoo, not a school. Many students did what ever they wanted, getting out of classes for "student council" or "pep rallys". Where is the education? Many students just roamed the halls and some teachers did not even properly teach because they weren't being forced to. The worst part is that the parents were okay with it. This is a school, students should be here to LEARN, not just to learn science and math and stuff, but to learn life skills like timeliness, responsibility, and work ethic. Just because your kids were happier when this place was a free-for-all doesn't mean that the school was better off.
Valeriya Gersh March 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM
And for the record, I am not defending the current administration, nor the board, and i have nothing personal against Mr. Simon, but change is needed. This is a school, and we need educators. I'm actually not a fan of the way things are being changed, but I believe that the preview status quo was not an acceptable way to handle an educational institution.

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