An education official experienced in starting new schools in New York City, but not in speaking Arabic, will take over immediately as the interim acting principal of the city’s first public school dedicated to the study of Arabic language and culture, Chancellor Joel I. Klein said yesterday.

The official, Danielle Salzberg, 35, a senior program officer at the nonprofit group New Visions for Public Schools, will replace Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the school, the Khalil Gibran International Academy. Ms. Almontaser resigned under pressure on Friday.

The Department of Education frantically scoured for a replacement principal after Ms. Almontaser announced her resignation, partly to quiet the furor that has surrounded the school since it was created.

“Danielle is a strong leader and an excellent educator who knows what it takes to help our students succeed,” Mr. Klein said in a statement announcing Ms. Salzberg’s appointment. “With her leadership and the commitment renewed today by teachers and staff, Khalil Gibran will add a new, important option for our students who are interested in a rigorous academic program with an international and Arabic theme.”

Ms. Almontaser’s leadership of the school became an issue after she was quoted last week in The New York Post defending the use of the word “intifada” as a T-shirt slogan. The word has come to be associated with Palestinian attacks on Israel.

Ms. Salzberg’s résumé, provided by the Education Department, shows that she earned degrees from New York University and Teachers College at Columbia University. She also did graduate work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


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