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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Disgraced Principal Caterina Lafergola is Re-Hired By Chancellor Carranza


Caterina Lafergola


 Shades of Reginald!!!

I mean, of course, Reginald Richardson, who was disliked in his school district (New Rochelle) and was hired by new Chancellor Richard Carranza to come to the NYC Department of Education as head of "School Quality". The NYPOST questioned this hire, and boom, he was un-hired. He tried to get his old job back, but New Rochelle would not take him back. What do you want to bet he will be found somewhere in the NYC DOE now or soon? Poor Reggie.

And now Chancellor Carranza and Mayor Bill have brought back another unwanted administrator, Caterina Lafergola. Why did they bring her back? Because she is protected, knows too much and has friends in high places. This is not rocket science.

What is sadly clear from the latest actions of NYC's new Chancellor Richard Carranza, is that nothing is new. The Department of Education and Mayor Bill de Blasio are up to their old tricks, which are to keep nepotism and favoritism alive no matter what the person did, as long as the person (in the high position at the DOE) keeps their mouth shut about what is really going on behind closed doors.

There are so many scams coming out of City Hall and Tweed (the Mayor's hangout and the Chancellor's, respectively) that it isn't easy keeping a lid on all the roaming skeletons, but no one can let up for a minute, or investigative reporters will pounce.

I don't think Carranza is up to NYC par, where the most important part of his job is to squelch squealers. He doesn't know that NYC has some of the finest super snoops in the State, and these people will find out who's doing what to whom.

I am not in any way aligning myself with people who lie about other people to prove their point, and there are many currently on the internet and blogging with lies.

I deal with facts. Events. Let's try to keep the ball rolling toward what the truth/facts are, then go from there.

The fact of this matter is that Carranza has re-hired someone who a large group of people don't want, for good reason (see below). Is there no one else, Bill and Richard (now that we are chummy) to fill posts in NYC other than people who have done wrong?

Mayor Bill de Blasio is all about second chances ("I wont expose you if you don't expose me" policy) and a prime example is his disastrous choice for Chancellor, Carmen Farina. My opinion, folks. The media never picked up the  side of Carmen that was: she hated the UFT, despised any teacher she could not control, and had a massive dislike of any child with special needs, including the gifted and talented. At PS 6 she often spoke about her version of social justice which was that all kids should achieve levels of high 2 or low 3, because then there is equality. Chancellor Carranza seems to be following in her footsteps. The Carranza that I can see right now is that he seems like a "nice" warm and fuzzy man who listens to people. Carmen was pretending to be warm and fuzzy, but truth be told she was relentless, vindictive and revengeful when anyone challenged her. I saw and experienced it. I reported her to the Office of Parent Engagement when she set up a School Leadership Team with 4 people, in violation of State Law. Carmen was reprimanded by the Department of Education and removed as principal of PS 6 in Manhattan in February, 2001. She was appointed Regional Superintendent of District 15 and the Joel Klein made her Deputy Chancellor. She then did not get away with her involvement in two scandals (two that were profiled in the media, there may be others) and forced to "retire".

Then Bill brought her back as Chancellor because no one else in New York City could do the coverups oops, I mean Chancellor duties. When the media hopped onto the bandwagon about the Renewal School Program (Carmen's baby) failure, out she went again, forced to "retire" - but she is still on the DOE payroll, I've heard, working with former unloved Superintendent Amy Horowitz on the Restart Program. The Department can't get rid of Carmen. Too many secrets. Can a person get 3 pensions? Just askin'.

Don't forget, Bill found Richard Carranza, our new Chancellor, in where? Texas? Where Caranza is under investigation for some kind of harassment? There obviously is no one in New York City who could fill Carmen's shoes.

 Bill and Richard, I have a question: I, like you, value giving people a second chance, so how about doing away with the permanent problem code?

Do we have a deal?

Here are previous posts that describe the work of Caterina Lafergola.
City ‘fixes’ grades for failing high school students
Susan Edelman, NYPOST, June 28, 2015

High school principal accused of targeting girls for ‘distracting’ men

by Susan Edelman, NYPOST, September 18, 2016

Principal under fire for naming suspended students in newsletter

by Susan Edelman, NYPOST, February 25, 2017

Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com
Editor, Advocatz.com
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, Parentadvocates.org
Editor, New York Court Corruption

Controversial former Brooklyn principal rehired by DOE
By Selim Algar, September 14, 2018


A former city principal who fled to Long Island after a troubled stint at a Brooklyn high school has been rehired by the Department of Education, The Post has learned.


Caterina Lafergola bolted to Baldwin HS in 2016 after an unimpressive run at Automotive HS in Greenpoint, where attendance, academics and teacher turnover were alarming during her five-year term.

But after just two years and several controversies — including naming suspended students in a newsletter and cracking down on revealing clothes— Lafergola resigned from the $169,927 gig in June. Now, despite that history, the DOE arranged a pillowy landing for Lafergola at Hudson HS for Learning Technologies in Manhattan, where she was hired this year as an assistant principal making $112,188.
“There are times when you wonder why things are done the way they are around here,” said a baffled DOE source, who attributed the hire to departmental connections. “It just doesn’t look good.”
Citing her shoddy performance at Automotive, some Baldwin parents staunchly opposed Lafergola’s hiring when it was first announced and circulated a petition to have her unseated.
Automotive HS is one of Mayor de Blasio’s Renewal schools, stricken campuses that have been pumped with cash and consultants to induce turnarounds.
But the school’s attendance, academics and teacher turnover remained grim with Lafergola behind the wheel and many staffers decried her as a bullying despot.
Despite that performance, Lafergola was retained while staffers were booted and principals at other failing schools were shown the door.
A Baldwin HS parent said Friday that Lafergola’s two-year tenure was a turbulent one — but that she did have significant parental backing. “From a parent’s standpoint, we thought she did a good job,” she told The Post. “We were surprised she left, it was very sudden. We still have no idea why. But a lot of us thought she was making sure the kids were doing what they were supposed to be doing.”

Students rebelled when Lafergola abruptly enforced the school’s dress code at the school in 2016 while parental reaction to the move was mixed.
Lafergola also drew fire for publicly naming suspended kids and listing their offenses in a school newsletter last year.
Another DOE source said Lafergola — who once made two ostracized Automotive teachers work in a squalid former bathroom — was a “retread” undeserving of her new role.
The DOE declined to comment.
De Blasio said this month that the fate of the 50 remaining schools in the Renewal program — including Automotive HS — will be decided this year.
Additional reporting by Susan Edelman
 
High school principal accused of targeting girls for ‘distracting’ men
Susan Edelman, September 18, 2016


A controversial ex-Brooklyn principal has sparked an uproar as head of a Long Island high school by detaining dozens of girls for alleged dress-code violations — telling one teen her pencil skirt was “distracting to male staff members.”
Principal Caterina Lafergola, who used to helm troubled Automotive High School in Greenpoint, pulled aside at least 75 students — nearly all girls — at Baldwin High School last week for short skirts, slits, exposed skin, and visible bra straps.
She even insisted that a Latina student corral her long mane.
“Tell why this new principal yell at me because i had my hair out and it wasn’t tied back,” the teen posted on a new Facebook page protesting Lafergola’s war on “inappropriate” clothing.
Many call the principal’s push “sexist,” saying it reinforces the idea that “female bodies are inherently inappropriate.”
After five years at Automotive HS — which had 98 percent boys — Lafergola left the floundering school in Mayor de Blasio’s multi-million dollar “Renewal” program to take the $175,000-a-year job in Baldwin.
Automotive staffers had branded Lafergola a bully. She once forced two black teachers she wanted to fire to sit in a former bathroom.
Some Baldwin students and parents started an online petition calling her dress code crusade “aggressive and Draconian.”
“Students are still being stopped, cited, and reportedly shamed by Principal Caterina Lafergola for alleged infractions that are increasingly questionable if not ridiculous,” it states.
Lafergola sent out an e-mail on Sept. 9 warning the school would strictly enforce the dress code last Monday to reflect “an expectation of excellence and pride in our school.”
As students entered the school, Lafergola stood guard.
“She was waiting by the front door and she would point at you and say, ‘There’s something about your outfit that violates the dress code,’” said senior Bella Rouzier, 17. “Then a security guard would escort you into the main office.”
 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Principal Salema Dawson Marbury Wins The 2018 "Just 'Cause I Don't Like You" Award

PS 329 Principal Salema Marbury in front of her favorite mural
3020-a hearings are compulsory arbitration supposedly set up to fairly judge Educators' incompetency or misconduct out of a courtroom after probable cause has been determined by the school board in an Executive Session. After the charges are served on the alleged miscreant, then an Arbitrator is appointed to find "Just Cause" for any penalty. The arbitrator hears both sides and decide who is telling the truth, or is credible. Thus, these "teacher trials" do not have Judges, but arbitrators, who are mostly attorneys. Some are not lawyers at all. Many but certainly not all arbitrators can be swayed into believing what the principal says, simply because the Just Cause Standard could be made into "Just 'Cause" I don't like you.

The Winner of the "Just 'Cause I Don't Like You Award" for 2018 is Salema Dawson Marbury, Principal of PS 329, the Surfside School at 2929 West 30th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11224.

Salema Dawson Marbury
The 3020-a hearings in NYC can be driven by whether or not a principal likes or dislikes the employee, and this is where the challenges to smooth sailing through the hearing comes in. It is a rocky road, but entirely winnable if you get into the often ugly backstory.

This post deals with the strange procedure known as "3020-a arbitration" in New York City and not New York State. New York City 3020-a arbitration denies many rights to employees charged with either incompetency or misconduct, or both. In New York City the United Federation of Teachers and the NYC Department of Education set up a process for judging members that goes outside of the law governing these teacher trials. In NYC, both the UFT and the DOE waived all UFT members' rights to an Executive Session and a vote on probable cause before being charged (Education Law 3020-a(2)(a)). This right to an Executive Session of the NYC School Board, the Panel For Educational Policy (PEP) was waived without any approval of the charged Respondent. Secretly.

Salema Marbury is the total package: long fingernails, false eyelashes that just never seem to be glued correctly, expensive-looking earrings, fur coats, lipstick totally within the lines, complaints that she uses her power as a principal to target people she doesn't like or for no reason that can be validated, and so on.

I had the good luck to sit with her across the 3020-a arbitration table several years ago. I wrote about this case:

Lawrence Scott III, Agent of the NYC DOE Office of Special Investigations (OSI), Sexually Assaults Teacher Natalya Sokolson-Gordon at Her School, PS. 329 in Coney Island, Brooklyn

January 2, 2014

Whenever I work on a 3020-a case, I always do my own research into the backstory. I ask certain questions, such as:
"why did the principal target the tenured employee?";
"who else, other than the charged employee, received the same or similar treatment?";
"What, if any, actions did you, the targeted employee see the principal do which looked to you like misconduct, if anything?"
"What did other people tell you about the principal?"

I often write about how we do 3020-a cases differently than all other people, whether they are NYSUT or private, because we believe that there must be an important reason for the teacher/Assistant Principal to be charged, other than the targeted employee's own actions. Usually we are right.
Natalya Sokolson
In Natalya Sokolson's case, I don't believe I had ever had so many people tell me that the principal of their school was as vindictive, mean, unfair, ludicrous, and discriminatory as Salema Dawson Marbury seems to be. I firmly believe that not a single word that Salema says about a teacher in her school at a 3020-a should be believed.

I spoke with a child who told me that Ms. Marbury and Ms. Lafontant took her/him and many of her/his classmates out of class and made them write lies about their teacher. Many of them were frightened by Principal Marbury and AP Lafontant who threatened them and told them they had to write what they were told. The children said that they told the investigator what Ms. Marbury and Ms.Lafontant were doing.

Salema herself started having relations (in the  school) with Parent Coordinator Don Marbury while he was still married (to someone else), and police were called by the wife. Don eventually got divorced and married Salema, so he had to transfer from the  school, but his famous basketball player brother gave T-shirts to Salema anyway, to sell in the school (no accountability for the money coming in).

Most alarming was the information I received from countless sources telling me that the minute Salema thought you were no longer her friend, your career and safety were over.

Recently, the online letter from a teacher posted below is just the latest example of Salema Marbury's vengeance. Chancellor Carranza, are you listening?

Just askin'

Betsy Combier
betsy.combier@gmail.com
 from BuzzFeed September 7, 2018
Dear Mrs Marbury,
Earlier this morning you told me I wasn’t a good teacher. Your words were arrows and you were shooting wildly without pause. Words like “tough population” and “ data collection” and other buzz words you rehearsed poured from your lips and rang with persistence. After being told that perhaps the job is not for me, along with the recommendation that I reconsider teaching altogether, I left the office feeling inferior.
Maybe Mrs Marbury was right. Shooting me with information on the toughness of the job hit the target. Bulls eye, I could’ve responded. Congrats, Mrs. Marbury, you called me out on it. I’m not a good teacher and simply can’t do what nyc heroes do 180 days a year.
But when I left her office, a recurring thought came into mind. Mrs. Marbury spends 95 percent of her day inside her brightly lit office. Her brown swivel chair practically has a slightly round permanent imprint. The pictures hanging on her walls have smiling children that awkwardly stand alongside Mrs. Marbury. In nearly every single digitally printed photo, Mrs Marbury has her hand placed atop their shoulder, beaming at the camera. But when the pose is finished, so is her smile, and posture, and had she known the child’s name, that would be finished too.
This made me realize that she can’t be right. Her knowledge would need to be based on her direct observation of me as an educator. Furthermore, her idea of whether or not I can effectively handle a classroom would need to come from listening to how well my students loved reading non fiction books. Her psychic knowledge of my teaching strategy would need to be based on knowing that my students watched my power point slides and listened to fictional stories that I authored— all of which taught them that solving a math problem and reading a fiction story with character conflict can be fun and worth investigating.
I wonder if she knows that before turning on my smart board and giving out assignments, I gave students a microphone and stage. No, there wasn’t literally a mic, and no, their stage was merely an alphabetical rug in the room. But that’s where communication, team building, and most importantly, a willingness to listen took place. When given a ball, students would have two minutes to air out their thoughts. Being upset was ok. Being happy was ok—so was being neutral and simply preferring to be withdrawn for a bit.
Students would learn that the entire class, including teachers and paraprofessionals, want to listen to them. They want to listen to their greeting and whether or not they are happy or upset, they want to actually know why. An environment of empathy and understanding and a willingness to be present was fostered through our morning meeting.
I wonder if Mrs. Marbury, the principal of the school, who prides herself on being the director of P.S 329 knows what it is like to actually know the students she is servicing. What is it like to leave the office, push the swivel chair aside, and admire an all about me biography created by a student? I don’t think Mrs Marbury would know that. And truthfully, I do not think Mrs Marbury would know whether or not I am awful, decent, or a great educator either.
Mrs Marbury knows the game of chess. She moves the pawns with speed and precision, willing to sacrifice most, if it means the large pieces survive. In the words of The Wire, “D” told Bodie that pawns get capped quick—to which Bodie responded: “ not unless they some smart-ass pawns.
Although we teachers, service providers, and paraprofessionals are mere pawns compared to the administration, I hope that we can recognize the effectiveness of our work, shedding light on our effort and success as role models and mentors for children to learn from. Maybe when we raise awareness and continue to strive, not willing to succumb to feelings of inadequacy planted by administration, we can shine and relish on the knowledge that we ARE good teachers. Regardless what some principal tells me, I can calmly say that I am one of many daily superheroes.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Chancellor Carranza Appoints Executive Superintendents

Richard Carranza, his wife (left) and former Chancellor Carmen Farina

CHANCELLOR CARRANZA ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF LINDA P. CHEN AS CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER AND NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE SUPERINTENDENTS
The nine Executive Superintendents will streamline supports, bring resources closer to schools, and create a clear line of accountability from each classroom to the Chancellor
 
NEW YORK – Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced the appointment of Dr. Linda Chen as Chief Academic Officer and also named the nine Executive Superintendents who will oversee the community and high school superintendents and Field Support Centers in their districts and ensure schools and families are served efficiently and effectively.
 
“I’m excited to bring these proven experts on board and I’m confident they are ready to hit the ground running and move our school system forward,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “We’re focused on supporting and empowering school communities to achieve equity and excellence for every student, and I know that these are the right leaders to help us build a world-class education system.”
 
The new Chief Academic Officer will unify and streamline instructional supports – including professional development and curricular resources and materials – to make rigorous teaching accessible to all learners, including students with disabilities and English Language Learners. The nine Executive Superintendents will provide greater alignment between superintendents and Field Support Centers to expand our work to support school principals, educators, students and families. The CAO and nine Executive Superintendents are:
 
Dr. Linda P. Chen, Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Linda P. Chen will oversee instructional supports for all learners and manage the Divisions of Teaching and Learning, Special Education, and English Language Learners. Chen previously served as Chief Academic Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, Deputy Chief Academic Officer of Boston Public Schools, and Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Chief of Teaching and Learning in the School District of Philadelphia. She currently serves as Vice President, Engagement and Implementation at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Chen started school speaking very limited English and brings a deep knowledge of serving English Language Learners and students with disabilities to her position. Prior to joining the School District of Philadelphia, Chen was principal of PS 165 in Manhattan, literacy supervisor in Queens, and taught elementary school at PS 163 in Manhattan.
 
“I’m excited to return to New York City public schools as Chief Academic Officer and be part of the Mayor and Chancellor’s bold Equity and Excellence for All agenda,” said Dr. Linda P. Chen. “I’m looking forward to working with our great New York City educators and hearing about what’s working and where we can improve. Together, we’ll ensure that the work we do at a central level supports our schools and provides all our students with the rich academic experiences they deserve.”
 
Recy Benjamin Dunn, Executive Superintendent for Affinity Schools
Recy Benjamin Dunn most recently served as Chief Operations and Growth Officer at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston. In New York City, he served as regional director for the nonprofit New Leaders and led major initiatives within the DOE as Executive Director of the Office of Early Childhood Education and later the Office of Charter Schools. Prior to his work in New York City, Dunn also held critical roles in Prince George’s County Public Schools and the District of Columbia Public Schools.
 
Barbara Freeman, Executive Superintendent for Brooklyn South, Districts 17, 18, 20, 21, and 22 
Barbara Freeman has served as superintendent of district 13 in Brooklyn since 2011, leading the district to increased student performance in Math and ELA. She has served at the DOE for over 30 years, beginning as an early childhood teacher and director, and later working as assistant principal, and then principal of the Don Pedro Albizu Campos School.
 
Tim Lisante, Executive Superintendent for Transfer Schools, District 79, and Adult and Continuing Education
Tim Lisante began his career as a teacher and assistant principal at Alfred E. Smith Vocational High School, before becoming principal at Island Academy on Rikers Island. He then served as a local instructional superintendent, and Deputy Superintendent in the Office of Adult and Continuing Education. Since 2011, he has been superintendent of District 79, New York City’s Alternative Schools District.
 
Anthony Lodico, Executive Superintendent for Staten Island, District 31
Anthony Lodico began his professional career as an English and Drama teacher at Port Richmond High School. He later served as assistant principal of Port Richmond High School, principal of Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, and superintendent of high schools in the Bronx and Manhattan. He has been superintendent for District 31 and Staten Island high schools since 2014, where he oversees 69 schools and 3 Pre-K centers.
 
Lawrence Pendergast, Executive Superintendent for Queens North, Districts 24-26 and 30
Lawrence Pendergast has served as a teacher, educational coach, instructional specialist, assistant principal, principal, and network leader. He was founding principal of Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction in Manhattan, and executive principal of Leadership and Public Service High School. He has been the Executive Director of the Queens North Field Support Center since 2015, supporting 168 schools.  
 
Marisol Rosales, Executive Superintendent for Manhattan, Districts 1-6
Marisol Rosales began her career as a physical education teacher, and later became an assistant principal and principal before becoming a network leader. She served as principal of Bedford Stuyvesant Preparatory Academy, and has been superintendent of Manhattan High Schools since 2012, where she currently oversees 47 high schools. She also served as Executive Director of Leadership in the Office of Leadership at the DOE central office.
 
Meisha Ross Porter, Executive Superintendent for the Bronx, Districts 7-12
Meisha Ross Porter served as a long-time principal and assistant principal of The Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice, a school she helped found in the 1990’s. She has been superintendent of District 11 in the Bronx since 2015, where she oversees 45 schools and four pre-k centers. In her role as Superintendent, Ross Porter has been invested in deepening school leaders’ equity lens and building collaborative practices across schools. 
 
Andre Spencer, Executive Superintendent for Queens South, Districts 27-29
Andre Spencer previously served as a regional superintendent in the Houston Independent School District, and a network team leader in Baltimore Public Schools. He served in the US Army and began his teaching career in Baltimore where he worked as a science teacher, assistant principal and principal. He most recently served as superintendent of schools for Harrison School District Two district in Colorado, from 2013 to 2018.
 
Karen Watts, Executive Superintendent for Brooklyn North, Districts 13-16, 19, 23, and 32
Karen Watts was born in Guyana and began teaching there at the age of 16. She later served as a high school science teacher in New York City, before becoming principal at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Manhattan, and then ACORN High School for Social Justice, now the Brooklyn School for Law and Technology, in Brooklyn. She has been the superintendent of Brooklyn North high schools since 2010.
   
The Executive Superintendents and Chief Academic Officer will start on September 5, 2018 and support schools as they start the new school year. These new appointments will further advance the Mayor and Chancellor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda to ensure that, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college and career ready.
 
The Equity and Excellence for All agenda is building a pathway to success in college and careers for all students. Our students are starting school earlier, with free, full-day, high-quality education for three-year-olds and four-year-olds through 3-K for All and Pre-K for All; and our schools are strengthening foundational skills and instruction earlier, with Universal Literacy and Algebra for All. Our schools are also offering students more challenging, hands-on, college and career-aligned coursework, as Computer Science for All brings 21st-century computer science instruction to every school, and AP for All works to give all high school students access to at least five Advanced Placement courses. Along the way, our schools are providing students and families additional support through College Access for All, Single Shepherd, and investment in Community Schools. Efforts to create more diverse and inclusive classrooms are central to this pathway.
 
###
Contact:  Chancellor’s Press Office (212) 374-5141

More information from Editor Betsy Combier:

We found this article on Google:
Banished by the School, Beloved by Its Parents
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS, APRIL 17, 2005

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/17/nyregion/banished-by-the-school-beloved-by-its-parents.html

As the principal put it in a formal disciplinary letter, the assistant principal had "failed to attend to a life-threatening emergency." He had ignored the needs of an unconscious child in a classroom. Instead, he had chosen to do the hokeypokey and the Macarena with 120 kindergartners. It seemed an open-and-shut case.
Except for one thing. The word in the halls of Public School 165 on the Upper West Side was very different. In a "Rashomon"-like twist, parents, teachers, secretaries and custodians all defended "SeƱor Howard," as they called him.
The conflicting narratives reveal the often yawning gulf between the rule-bound, corporate-style management of schools these days, and the more nuanced view on the ground. To listen to the city's Department of Education, the school system is defined by regional offices, local instructional superintendents and strict chains of command. To the people closer to the ground, a place like P.S. 165, on West 109th Street near Amsterdam Avenue, is like a family, dependent on an intricate network of human relationships to function smoothly.
Most of the facts about this episode are not in dispute. On Jan. 25, in a first-grade special education classroom, a boy knocked a classmate named Clarence to the ground, rendering him unconscious. The class was being led by an inexperienced teacher who had been having problems maintaining order. Before the fight, Clarence's mother had complained to the principal that her child was being bullied.
The principal, Linda Chen, was away at a conference, but someone in the main office called 911, and the school nurse rushed to the class. Meanwhile, a secretary went downstairs to find Howard Matza, the longtime assistant principal, one of whose many jobs it was to oversee hundreds of children in the cafeteria and on the playground because of complaints that the school aides were not able to keep order.

Mr. Matza told the secretary to send Fabayo McIntosh, a math coach, to the classroom, because he thought that she could get there faster and that he should stay with the 120 kindergartners he was supervising. The math coach hurried to the classroom; the mother arrived soon after and accompanied her son to the hospital.
A month later, on Feb. 28, when parents and teachers returned from a weeklong winter break, they were mystified to find Mr. Matza gone. Teachers began wearing buttons with the letters WH -- for "Where's Howard?" -- until the principal ordered that they be removed.

It turned out that Mr. Matza had been removed for "dereliction of duty," as Ms. Chen put it in the disciplinary letter. He was sitting idly in a regional office while the Education Department was deciding what to do with him. (He was still there last week, and he said he was still confident he had done the right thing.) On March 11, parents sent a letter to their instructional superintendent, Roser Salavert, demanding that Mr. Matza be reinstated. When that request went nowhere, they sought help from Eva Moskowitz, chairwoman of the City Council's Education Committee.
Ten days ago, Ms. Moskowitz called a meeting at P.S. 165 to hear parents' concerns. About 30 teachers sat together wearing black, as if in mourning. Some 60 or 70 parents filled the front of the auditorium, many with children in tow. The Department of Education sent two high-ranking officials, Dr. Salavert and Dan McCray, a lawyer.
Ms. Chen, the principal, was there too, sitting in a front row with her union representative. But despite heckling from the audience, she never spoke. Her silence, some parents said, was telling.
Last year, Mr. Matza was the unofficial first choice of a search committee of parents and educators to become principal of the school, but he withdrew his candidacy. Ms. Chen, a teacher and literacy coach, was appointed over the committee's objections. But many parents said they found her cold and autocratic. They complained that she never greeted them at the door. Teachers said that she scolded them for small infractions like missing deadlines. P.S. 165 is a dual-language school (English and Spanish), but Ms. Chen does not speak Spanish. (Her second language is Chinese.)
One mother, Diane Lanier, took the microphone to suggest that if Mr. Matza had left the lunchroom and something bad had happened there, he would have been blamed. Had Mr. Matza broken any rules? Ms. Moskowitz asked. Mr. McCray, the lawyer, said he didn't know, but added that the bottom line was that "Mr. Matza did not personally take charge of a situation in which a child was unconscious." As for Clarence, happily he was back in school the next day.
COPING E-mail: amh@nytimes.com.

 
Recy Benjamin Dunn, Chief Operating Officer
Member of the YES Prep Team Since 2014

 As Chief Operating Officer, Recy (pictured above, bottom row left) leads system-wide operations, district partnerships and growth strategy. Recy formerly served as the Senior Executive Director for Cities at New Leaders, a national nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders. He managed and supported all city executive directors across eight program sites nationally. Recy filled numerous roles at school districts, including the New York City Department of Education where he was the Executive Director of the Charter Schools Office, leading a team responsible for coordinating a portfolio of 136 charter schools. Recy also served as Executive Director of Early Childhood at the NYCDOE, managing early childhood initiatives citywide with a focus on Universal Prekindergarten. Previously, he worked at Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland and before that completed The Broad Residency in Urban Education while at the District of Columbia Public Schools. Prior to his education experience, Recy worked in the public and private sector in several organizations. Recy has an MBA and an MA in Education from Stanford, and undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, he completed his School District Leadership certification program at Bank Street College of Education.)