A veteran teacher who helped develop an Arabic-themed public school has been named its acting principal now that the original principal has resigned under heavy criticism.

Acting principal Danielle Salzberg had been working with the team setting up professional development services at the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, which will open Sept. 4 with just a sixth grade and will eventually cover grades 6 through 12, schools Chancellor Joel Klein said Monday in announcing her appointment.

The school’s intended principal, Debbie Almontaser, quit last week after facing criticism for failing to condemn the use of the word “intifada” on T-shirts. Intifada is an Arabic term for the Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Salzberg has taught middle school and high school and has served as an assistant principal but does not speak Arabic, Department of Education spokeswoman Debra Wexler said.

Klein said in a statement, “Danielle is a strong leader and an excellent educator who knows what it takes to help our students succeed. Working with the committed and talented staff at Khalil Gibran, I am confident that Danielle will help ensure that students receive the top-notch education they need and deserve.”

So far, 45 students have enrolled in the Khalil Gibran International Academy, which was named after the Lebanese-American Christian poet.


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