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Schools HR Chief Resigns
by Melissa Bailey | Oct 25, 2013 8:42 am
Posted to: Schools
Just 16 months after he started, James Prunty has resigned his post as the school system’s human resources chief amid a “reorganization” of central office staff.
Prunty (pictured) resigned from the $125,000 job on Oct. 15, according to schools spokeswoman Abbe Smith.
Donna Aiello is stepping in as interim HR chief until the district finds a permanent replacement, Superintendent Garth Harries announced in an email to principals and administrators last Thursday. The email was titled “Transition in Human Resources.”
Harries, who took over the school system in late July, recently launched an effort to reorganize his top staff, eliminating some positions, creating new ones, and redefining others. He said the district is transitioning the HR job to focus on a different skill set.
“Jim worked really hard on systems issues,” streamlining the tech end of the HR processes, Harries said. He said moving forward, the HR job will move to focus on how to recruit, develop and retain talent. The new HR director will report to a new “chief talent officer” who has yet to be named.
Harries said Prunty and New Haven Public Schools had a “friendly and constructive parting of ways.”
Prunty, who lives in Bethel, could not be reached for comment.
The HR job has been in flux in recent years. After HR chief Andrea Lobo-Wadley left, the office went for a year and a half without a permanent director. Kim Carolina filled in the job on an interim basis until New Haven found Prunty. He took the job in June of 2012 at the age of 47.
Before coming to New Haven, Prunty worked in human resources in the education field for 14 years, including at the Southern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services in New York.
Below is the email Harries sent to his staff regarding his departure:
From: HARRIES, GARTH
Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2013 3:38 PM
To: PRINCIPALS - ALL; CABINET; SUPERVISORS - ALL
Subject: Transition in Human Resources
Jim Prunty has resigned as Human Resources Director. We thank him for his service and wish him the very best.
Given the importance of the human resource functions and our need to ensure immediate focus on support to schools and the district as a whole, I have appointed Donna Aiello as the interim leader of the Office. We will work to permanently fill this position in the near future. As Donna transitions into this assignment she will be coordinating with Human Resources staff to prioritize the work of the office and respond to pressing matters. Please reach out to Donna and the rest of the HR team on HR questions and issues.
Thank you to Donna for her willingness to serve fulfilling this immediate need. Please reach out to her, me, or Will Clark if you have questions.
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I don’t know much about the Board of Ed, Mr. Harries, or Mr. Prunty, but something in this doesn’t add up. You don’t leave your job after 16 months unless you’re pushed out, you can’t work with the people in charge, or you’re offered another job. As I can’t imagine many school districts are looking for a new HR director in late October, I’m going to assume its one of the two former.
I wish Mr. Prunty the best but am very curious as to the real reasons he “resigned” and what Mr. Harries’ relationship (professional) with Ms. Aiello is about. Regardless, I hope that a New Haven resident or person willing to move to New Haven is considered for the now open slot.
First, I hope this comment is not censored.
Second, I believe that NHPS operates as a secret society and I believe that no one ‘in the know’ at NHPS will divulge the reasons why Mr. Prunty is leaving unless that person wishes to leave also.
One of the reasons I post is because I believe that, as an organization, NHPS does not have the best interests of the citizens it is purported to serve at heart.
I believe I can prove this with evidence to a least a reasonable person standard.
I am ready to go toe to toe with the powers that be because I tired of seeing our kids suffer so some can enjoy their quality of life.
I believe that the entire NHPS management staff needs to be replaced and the continuity of its operations and objectives interrupted for the good of the citizens of New Haven.
I realize that the tone of this post might be objectionable to some of the censors of the NHI but I don’t know any kinder, or more civil, way to express this opinion—an opinion that really needs expression.
Atticus and Brutus-you hit the nail on the head. Jim was forced to resign. Apparently Garth did not care for Jim for whatever reason. Its a real shame-Jim was the first HR Director that did not have ‘ties’ to New Haven and therefore was able to be unbiased. Donna is a spectacular worker and great person, however its hard to understand her placement in HR given her tremendous work load. My best wishes go to Jim-you deserved better.
Bethel? Does anyone who works for the city actually live in the city?
@ NHInsider Thank you for cracking the blinds a little.
You are correct, Brutus. The “reform” being done against the public education system for New Haven children is a full-bore corporate model. The teacher and administration unions don’t seem to be offering serious resistance. The teacher union got us ready for a no-vote contract this week.
We must save our schools before they go any further. Schools are NOT businesses. The new executive leadership seems to live in an echo chamber made up of Gold Coast bankers, hedge fund managers, and “edu-corporations”. They and their numerous nonprofit “philanthropies” are going to “save” our school system with testing, privatization, and “performance pay”. And they’re going to make money for the shareholders at the same time. Don’t shrug, it’s magic!
I predict Harries is going to use the “Chief Financial Officer” he created to tell him there are even more budget problems. Sound the alarm! The news will not surface for many months, but they will require decisive action that will result in yet more privatization of New Haven Public Schools. “Disruptive change” is the mantra. Feeling it? Yes, it’s here.
Oh, and teachers get ready. You are about to get yours.
These are Mr. Harries’ other brand new positions. NHInsider, can you describe how these additional 6 to 8 executives-in-the-wings will dismantle the New Haven Public Schools? Is there any evidence from any other city that shows children benefiting from this?
Chief Talent Officer
School Enrollment and Choice Director
Executive Manager of District Strategy and Coordination
Executive Director of Schools (in addition to “Executive Manager for Superintendent’s Office”?)
P20 Student Trajectory Director (in addition to “Director of College and Career Pathways”?)