DARIEN — Hindley Elementary Principal DJ Collela has been placed on leave pending an investigation for concerns of his conduct as principal.
Responding to an FOI request, Interim Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon released an Aug. 10 letter from him to Collela.
In the letter Landon said he, an attorney for the schools, and Human Resources Director Marge Cion met with the principal, along with the principal’s attorney on July 26.
According to the letter, Collela was questioned as part of the district’s investigation into these matters.
“At the conclusion of this meeting, Attorney Smith warned you not to discuss this matter with district staff while the investigation of this matter is ongoing, and not to retaliate against any district staff members in connection with this matter,” Landon wrote.
The district has continued their investigation since the meeting on July 26 according to the letter. Landon said the leave is “without prejudice to your rights” in the letter and “will continue until further notice from me.”
“During your administrative leave, unless you are directed otherwise in writing by me, you are not to report to work,” Landon wrote, “you are not to take any action on behalf of the district, and you are not to access any portion of the district’s computer system (including, but not limited to, the district’s email system),”
Landon then reiterated that Collela is not to discuss these matters with any district staff while the investigation is ongoing.
“You are further directed not to harass, intimidate, and/or retaliate against any district employee in connection with this matter,” Landon wrote.
Landon ended the letter saying during Collela’s administrative leave he is to remain accessible during the work day for contact by administration and is to respond to any such communications.
Collela was previously appointed principal of Hindley School on July 1, 2016. Colella was a fifth-grade teacher for 10 years, a sixth-grade science teacher for five years and served as the assistant principal at Somers Middle School in Somers, N.Y., before coming to Darien.
On Aug. 17 Landon released a letter to the Hindley School community announcing the leave.
“It’s with sadness that I must report to you that your Principal, DJ Colella will be on leave at the beginning of the 2018-2019 year,” wrote Landon.
Julie Droller has been appointed the new interim principal for the school year.
“I will update you on Mr. Colella’s status as more information becomes available,” Landon wrote.