Late Friday Reginald Mirthil, the principal of Asbury Park Schools District’s Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, handed in his resignation letter.
Mirthil is well-known in Asbury Park, a graduate of the district itself and highly regarded as an educational leader who is committed to students and staff. This past May he wrote this letter to the school community, explaining that he speaks for the “silent majority who are publicly misrepresented as the minority through fear and coercion,” which has resulted in “families fleeing,” the “lack of an instructional program,” “disregard of the special ed population,” and “manipulation of federal dollars to meet the personal needs of the gang/organized crime syndicate.”
By “organized crime syndicate,” Mirthil is referring to what Asbury Park staff members call the “Carteret Cartel,” the group of administrators who came with Lamont Repollet from Carteret Public Schools when he was hired by Asbury Park as superintendent in 2014. Repollet left the district in 2018 when Gov. Phil Murphy chose him as his Education Commissioner; he stayed until this past May when he was appointed as President of Kean University. However, many of his Carteret colleagues remain in control of Asbury Park.
Since Mirthil’s resignation, various sources have noted that he was physically threatened, suspended, and subject to retaliation, in part because Repollet wanted to take credit for the rise in high school graduation rates in the district when, in fact, Mirthil discovered it was an accounting error. (At the time Mirthil was principal of Asbury Park High School but was demoted to principal of an elementary school.)
He “wouldn’t play ball [with] the Carteret Cartel,” said one source. “He is one-of-a-kind,” said another. “People don’t do what he did, to give up everything…He pushed back against the status quo, demanded accountability,” and that made him a target of central office administrators. “It’s a terrible loss to the children of Asbury Park because he was so talented and committed to the community and the kids.” Another said, “Reggie Mirthil is all about kids, not marketing and tweets. He has nothing invested in his personal glory, unlike everyone else in charge around here.”
The job posting for Thurgood Marshall Elementary School principal is already up on the district website.
This is a developing story. More to come tomorrow.