The story of Olga Livanis is representative of principals who believe that parents and teachers have no rights. Dr. Livanis was at Stuyvesant High School where I met her when one of my daughters entered in 1999 (another daughter got in in 2003). She does not communicate well with anyone, and is very vindictive.
Dear Parents,As NEST+m UFT reps, we want to let you know why many of the NEST+m staff will not be present for Curriculum Night. Last year, we expressed our grievances concerning the way our school has been run to Dr. Livanis, but to no avail. Our show of solidarity has gone unanswered and ignored by the administration, and no indication has been made that she will address the issues and ensure a positive work environment for the staff and a positive learning environment for the students.When Dr. Livanis unfairly and without warning rated seven teachers unsatisfactory last year, we became concerned. This rating is not a minor thing; it is the first step in stripping someone of their teaching license, (which makes it impossible for that teacher to take a job elsewhere, and freezes their salary, resulting in a loss of approximately one thousand dollars to the teacher). Many of the teachers who received a “U” rating have been told by Dr. Livanis that she considers them fine teachers, and that the rating was not a reflection of their performance. While it is always nice to hear that your supervisor thinks you are doing a good job, it is a strange and disconcerting thing to have one thing said to your face and another one recorded on an official record which will follow you. Since many of these teachers are known to be great teachers who go above and beyond the requirements of their job, there is concern amongst the staff that our careers are subject to arbitrary and unfair decisions by our principal.While Dr. Livanis has made no visible effort to assuage our fears, we have become concerned that anything we say or do might be twisted and used to torpedo our career. Because we are unsure how else to express our grave dissatisfaction with the status-quo, we have decided that, at a minimum, we need to ensure that we don’t endanger our jobs by working unpaid, non-contractual hours. While in the past we have gone beyond our job description and worked overtime without pay on Curriculum Night, this year we asked to be paid for those hours. This is a practice which is normal at many schools in NYC, and is in keeping with our contract. When Dr. Livanis denied our request, we were concerned about deserting parents who had already planned to attend. So we offered a compromise. We offered to work the hour and a half if she would count that as one of our 45 minute after-school meetings that are required by contract. As she has refused this compromise as well, we feel it necessary to stand firm on this issue — something we have not done in the past.We apologize for the last minute nature of this decision. We have been trying to resolve this with compromise up through today but we have been unsuccessful. We deeply regret any inconveniences this has caused families, and we regret not being able to reach a settlement that would have allowed us all to share this evening together.Thank you for your understanding and support,The NEST+m UFT Consultation Committee
With the story hitting Gotham Schools, Mulgrew now, out of nowhere, wants to meet with the entire staff. My guess is that they are furious with the chapter because the teachers did all of what they did, without any backing of the people at the Manhattan Borough Office. The Manhattan Borough Office, though, has always felt that because the teachers at Nest don't have the serious issues other D1 schools have they should just be happy and not complain about anything. Therefore, they have done very little over the years to get through to Livanis. Well, the pressure has been building for six years and has finally blown.