Battle Lines Drawn Between Education Advocates Pereira And Martinez

School board member Maria Pereira and education advocate Jessica Martinez are high octane personalities with decidedly different mantras about the direction of the education system for Connecticut’s largest city. Pereira is a staunch protectionist of the local district, Martinez a proponent of charter schools that receive public funds but operate independently of traditional school districts. She’s also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s restrictions on school choice programs. They are personalities on a potential campaign collision course as Martinez ponders a run for school board this year. It’s also a personal battle that has found its way into a police report.

Last September Martinez led a rally calling for Pereira’s resignation. (See video above that opens with Pereira speaking, followed by Martinez and education advocate Claudia Phillips.)

Pereira filed a recent police complaint against Martinez after instructing not to email her.

Two years ago Martinez, according to the police complaint, sent the following email to Pereira:

“The lies you believe and you share boggles my mind! But I will say this, not all the things you say are lies and twisted, for that I thank you!”

Pereira’s response:

“Let me be absolutely clear. You are not to contact me by phone, text or email again. Going forward, should you contact me for any reason, I will file a formal complaint with the Bridgeport Police Department. Do not contact me again.”

Pereira, admittedly, has a reputation for litigiousness and has filed several lawsuits against the city in her role as citizen and elected member of the Board of Education, against the city.

A few weeks ago Martinez sent Pereira this email:

“Live your crazy life liar and mind your business. When you start adding value to this city and providing solutions then you will become relevant.”

Pereira’s response:

“I specifically sent you an email never to email me again on my personal email or I would file a formal complaint with the BPD. You have placed me in a position which I must now do so.”

Pereira is not looking for an arrest (she’d not get one even if she wanted one) but she wants the contact from Martinez to stop.

Pereira and Martinez have had occasional exchanges on OIB. Both generally give as good as they take. Martinez asserts, in a statement to OIB, if you can’t stand the heat, don’t be a public official.

Maria Pereira created a false police report on me harassing her, with what evidence?! I would like the name of the officer who took this report. Although, I rarely email Maria, if I have to email her I will do so and that will NOT stop! If she wants me to stop emailing her she can quit her job as an elected official and or take me to court!!

Let’s see how far she’ll get with that! Though she is a pointless BOE member and doesn’t have the heart of a true public servant her information is still public and shame on her for trying to stop a Bridgeport parent leader from contacting her. Let me also point out that as an elected public servant the previous DPAC President, Maria Pereira has sent me several emails from, giving me full authority to respond which most of the times I’ve never wasted my time.

Maria can have fun wasting her personal time and perpetuating the lack of progress and true solutions that would better the education of our children and support teachers/administration! I cannot believe she is this petty to make this highlighted news. Meanwhile in the BOE front……..true failure!

Pereira asserts, “I made it clear that I did not want Ms. Martinez arrested; I simply wanted a detective to contact her and inform her she is not to contact me again. The detective committed to doing so.”

Meanwhile, there could be more to this story. Martinez says she’s considering a run for school board. Pereira, elected to a four-year term in 2015, is committed to supporting school board candidates harmonious with her positions.

Stay tuned.



  1. Petty bullshit. If Maria really didn’t want any email from Ms. Martinez, she could simply block her address. But she’d rather fight, argue, etc. and waste the Bpt police’s time with this stupid shit. Enough with Ms. Pereira already.

    1. You can block her # on your cell, and you can also block her # on your home phone. But you know this, you just don’t want to block her, that would be one fewer person to argue with.

  2. I have always maintained Maria Pereira and Jessica Martinez have a very similar persona. Maria is a very well versed individual in a subject she is very passionate about. Jessica Martinez has the same passion and has a child in the Bridgeport school system. From my many conversations with Jessica she apparently has many interests and an ability to communicate to many personalities without demeaning and insulting them. I know Jessica has an incredible love for the city of Bridgeport and her child attends Bridgeport Public Schools.

    Unlike Pereira, Jessica is a novice in the political game. Sometimes being a neophyte is a very good thing. Jessica is more compassionate and emotional. She is a bridge builder.

    I think it is awesome Jessica is looking to run. I think Maria will enjoy the challenge as she and Jessica are absolute opposites.

    Maria deals strictly with facts, Jessica is more compassionate and her positions are genuinely driven by her good heart.

    Given the accomplishments and abrasive nature of the board, I think Jessica Martinez could be just what the board needs. I know there are hundreds of parents who would agree.

    I always said Maria Pereira was a fighter. Well, Jessica Martinez is also kick-ass and I have never heard her say one demeaning comment about Maria. I cannot say the same about Maria. I do not think the current issues Pereira has with Fran Rabinowitz and some very outstanding Principals can be helpful when promoting herself when running again. People do have a short memory, I am certain Jessica does not!

    1. Really, Steve?

      Ms. Martinez regularly posts about me on Facebook. I have even received screenshots of her posts.

      When she was president of the DPAC, I had several parents tell me she would regularly speak about me during executive board meetings and they also described her as being “obsessed” with me.

      You know how many times I have posted something about Ms. Martinez on my Facebook page? Never.

      Just watch her behavior with her Charter $chool sidekick. They do appear obsessed, deranged and out of control.

    2. Steve, you started by stating Ms. Martinez and myself have very similar personas, but then you go on to state we are complete opposites.

      Which one is it???

      Hundreds of parents? Generally, the only parents who attend BOE meetings and sit with her are paid Charter School parents like Claudia Phillips and Linda Francis.

      In fact, the majority of the former DPAC Executive Board would sit together in opposition of her at meetings.

      1. Maria. What I mean by similar personas, I meant both strong, aggressive and loquacious. Both passionate and both determined. I did not mean you shared the same ideals. I remember telling you on more than 10 occasions how I believed you and Jessica shared many of the same qualities. Never the same ideals!

    1. I was embarrassed for everyone in that video. The saddest thing was the kids in the background watching/listening to those people talking. Those poor kids need to learn solutions to disagreements come by creating a dialogue between people, not shouting, yelling, arguing etc. Every one of those people should be ashamed of themselves.

      1. Those who were there in support of me were all adults. The children you see were almost all Charter $chool children because Achievement First sent out an email requesting their parents and children attend.

        Charter $chools are well known for using innocent children as fillers in their rallies so the crowd looks bigger than it really is.

  3. When Ms. Martinez emailed me on my personal email in early 2015 I was not even a school board member or DTC member. I was just a citizen.

    You don’t get to send me nasty emails period, but especially not on my personal email. I directed her to stop or I would file a police report.

    I woke up a couple of weeks ago and she once again sent me a deranged email out of the blue to my personal email. I reminded her I had directed her in early 2015 not to contact me for any reason. I also informed her I was going to file a BPD police report. She responded by sending me emojis winking and blowing kisses at me.

    Who am I dealing with, a child?

    I showed the police officers all the emails and they agreed I had not only directed her not to contact me again, but I was upfront with what the consequences would be if she did so again.

    In closing, I received many emails from parents where there were often many individuals carbon copied, therefore when I hit reply to all, she may have received a response, however I have not directly emailed Ms. Martinez once.

    You see, my word means something, and when I say I am going to do something, I follow through.

  4. Maria. “Hello, Bpt Police? I know crime is out of control in Bpt, what with the daily shootings, robberies, carjackings etc., but can you send a detective over to read my emails? I told a person to never contact me, yet she is talking about me on Facebook, sending me emails with winking emojis, and talking about me to others! I’m going to take her to court, I have 326 litigations open, and I’m not afraid to make Ms. Martinez #327!”

    1. I went down to the Congress St. station during walk-in hours to speak to a detective. I was in and out in ten minutes and knew the detective who assisted me.

      Both officers who assisted me and the detective were incredibly helpful and professional. No complaints here.

    2. Mr. Weintraub,
      Every citizen of Bridgeport has the right to call the BPD as they see fit. That is not your decision. Both officers agreed it was inappropriate and filed a report.

      The laws around social media and electronic use are pretty clear. You cannot harass others using social media or electronic communication.

      The detective told me if Ms. Martinez was to contact me again she would be arrested. I simply want her to stop, however if she does do it again I will file another report and request that she be arrested.

      And if I want to proceed with civil litigation, that is my decision, not yours. As long as I am paying for it and not using your taxpayer dollars; why do you care?

      If you want to allow elected officials to violate the law, that is your decision. I don’t just whine and complain on OIB, I take action.

  5. OIB runs another article on participants in the City education process and still there are no questions of ACCOUNTABILITY around education in the City and what numbers OPEN on a regular basis to the public may indicate priorities and a TRANSPARENT process to allow the very young to enter school with appropriate and necessary academic and social skills. To move through the primary grades with improvement in those showing competency at grade level. To show the choices open at secondary level preparing students for college and/or career opportunities by graduation from high school. And a separate cumulative report on those who require an Individual Education Plan with the general nature and expense of such remediation. Where are the numbers? Where is the data? Ladies and gentlemen, can we get serious and down to the subject of education? Time will tell.

  6. JML, we had lengthy discussions about special ed and IEPs both at Tuesday’s and last night’s committee meetings.

    Both Ms. Siegel and Dr. Johnson spoke at length regarding the state of special ed. and Ms. Siegel repeatedly stated she notified Ms. Rabinowitz about her concerns and nothing was done.

    1. Thank you for reading my comments and responding. I happened to be at different meetings on the evenings in question. Discussion is good, especially when circumstances are reported to be dire. What I am suggesting, not for the first time, is to prepare and provide data to the public that will give a sense of how the system is operating for the youth in the system today.
      The Mission Statement that addresses a target of “all graduates being college ready” and does not provide for half of those admitted to 9th grade four years previously is failing, it seems, to many. The reasons may be many and arguable but what about digging out the data and posting it? Wouldn’t that provide targets for all stakeholders to understand the interrelations of public money, student dreams, professional work in classroom and beyond, support staff and administration working to improve results, etc.? Possible? Important? Gain public knowledge and support? Time will tell.

      1. We were told there were seven sped vacancies and I received information that four sped staff has resigned from Tisdale since school started. I was informed it was three. We were told several resigned to work in a neighboring suburb because they were offered significantly more compensation.

        Roosevelt School was not specifically mentioned, however sped certified staff is a shortage area.

      2. There are seven SPED vacancies listed on the BPOE website (HR Dept.). Good qualified teachers are not generally available mid-year to fill these positions. The pay in Bridgeport is not competitive with Fairfield County towns. Last school year three (whom I had met) brand-new Math teachers started at Fairchild Wheeler, all three jumped to New Canaan this year for $10,000 higher pay rates.
        It is highly doubtful these SPED vacancies will be filled with certified staff this spring, but that’s just supply and demand and economic reality.


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