Bored Of School Board? Education Chief Aresta Johnson’s Sayonara

Alerting staff before her bosses on the Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Aresta Johnson on Tuesday announced she’s leaving the district sooner than later. Hmmm, what does that say about her regard for the elected body that hired her?

CT Post reporter Linda Conner Lambeck has more:

In a letter sent to staff on Tuesday, Johnson said she is leaving the position effective July 31, 2019.

Johnson earlier told the board she would not serve past April 2020.

The news came as a surprise to both Board Chairman John Weldon and Board member Maria Pereira. When contacted by the Connecticut Post neither said they received the email that staff received just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Full story here.



  1. This news saddens me. I feel honored to have worked with Dr. Johnson while serving on the Board of Education. Dr. Johnson was singularly focused on the students of the Bridgeport Public Schools. I have rarely met a more honorable, intelligent, genuine, and compassionate educator as she. The students, staff, and parents of the Bridgeport Public Schools were made better by her tenure. The entire community will feel the weight of her loss. I wish her the very best and hope she finds a position that will allow her to realize her full potential as a superintendent. God’s speed, Dr. Johnson.

  2. I can honestly say I am not surprised.

    I have NEVER doubted Dr. Johnson’s commitment to our students , parents and staff.

    What I really loved about Dr. Johnson is she did not want to be involved in Bridgeport politics in any way, shape or form.

    Mayor Ganim, his administration, John Weldon and his cohort of school board members repeatedly tried to pull her into the corrupt politics of Bridgeport. She resisted repeatedly, but finally capitulated.

    I couldn’t state this publicly before, however Dr. Johnson asked me to please work to make someone else Chair this past December because she had such disdain for John Weldon. He called her, texted her, emailed her incessantly and completely micromanaged her. She publicly stated this during her evaluation by stating “it’s alot.”

    I told her that Hernan Illingworth was interested in being Chair, however he gave Dr. Johnson a horrific evaluation. I asked her if your choice is John Weldon or Hernan Illingworth who would you prefer? I was surprised when she adamantly stated “Hernan.” She stated that she would prefer anyone to John Weldon.

    She has been very unhappy for sometime. Once John Weldon was reelected Chair; she capitulated to him completely.

    Dr. Johnson is honest, ethical and principled, therefore doing things she knew were not appropriate deeply impacted her because she has a conscious.

    I wish her nothing but the best because she is a good person who wanted to do what was best for children. Nothing more nothing less.

  3. It is a fact. I have known and worked with her longer than any other school board member.

    She was the Director of Science in 2009. She became the CHS Magnet School Principal and CHS Principal while my daughter attended CHS. I was on the PTSO. I really got to know her during that time. She really cared about her students and was so responsive to parents. I really came to respect her. Vallas then demoted her to an Assistant Principal at Cesar Batalla. She eventually resigned and went back to Waterbury.

    Fran Rabinowitz recruited her back as Asst. Superintendent of High Schools before she eventually became Superintendent.

    Everything I stated above is absolutely true. I believe the vast majority of readers believe me to be honest, ethical and truly care about sharing accurate and factual information.

  4. I get so annoyed when white carpetbaggers, who never attend school board meetings, have so much to say without a shred of first hand knowledge.

    What to do about a carpetbagger called Shaun Mitchell?. I know, find him employment in the suburbs. Preferably wherever his idol, Fran Rabinowitz, is employed.

    He certainly isn’t a Sheena Graham who was actually selected as CT Teacher of the Year.

  5. Dr Johnson will have no problem finding another position. She will be greatly appreciated where ever she goes.

    The problem now is who will be willing to work as Superintendent in Bridgeport…….

  6. Know this, whomever John Weldon promotes as the choice as interim, will be a Ganim/Mario loyalist who will be terrible for our 20,400 students.

  7. Long term Superintendents have been an issue nationally and in CT for sometime.

    When the current Greenwich Superintendent was appointed in 2018, she was their 14th Superintendent in 20 years.

    To put that in perspective Bridgeport has had 5 Superintendents in the last twenty years. They were Dr. Salcedo, Dr. Ramos, Paul Vallas, Fran Rabinowitz and Dr. Johnson.

  8. She can move on right down the road to New Haven. Toni Harp loves to hire 6-figure salaried former Bridgeport employees. Johnson has plenty of experience working in a corrupt one party town. NH Supt. Carol Birks’ days are numbered.

    1. Marshall,

      Carol Birks and I attended Harding High School together. She was very good friends with my sister.

      She was Principal of Harding when I was elected in 2009. I visited Harding seven times in my first year. It was in absolute chaos under Birks.

      Dr. Ramos applied for Turnaround status and funds that required a principal to be replaced.

      I honestly could not comprehend how she was hired as Superintendent of New Haven when she could not run a single high school with 1000 students.

      I agree. She is in serious trouble in NH.

      1. Maria……………….
        Birks was hired because she is a sorority sister of Mayor Toni Harp.
        So are a number of her worthless central office NHPS admins.

        Unlike Bridgeport, most of the NH BOE is appointed by the Mayor (not elected). The mayor has a seat and a vote. for several years, Harp named herself Chairman of the BOE.

  9. Marshall,
    A bit of recent history as a reminder when New Haven Board of Ed is referenced: In Bill Finch’s second term, he sought a Charter change that would have Bridgeport BOE open to Board appointments by the Mayor rather than continue as nine elective officials with some minority representation. The public turned the alternative down and we muddle along with dysfunction as before, though it may be different folks in the current rodeo.

    IF: Mario Testa is currently calling most of the shots for public employment, appointment, and candidate election success and is making such calls unofficially, without reference to Charter,ordinances, statutes, etc. but from the privacy of a locker room where meetings without public agenda, minutes, or input are held……

    THEN: Perhaps a change is required???

    WHAT IF: We put put a petition calling for and inviting Mario to become a “public hero”? Come out of the locker room? Make the appointments, decisions, budgets and deals but be required to tell the public or explain at Council meetings before enacting?Were the public gathered to hear Testa, they would come, for the information and entertainment value I believe. And if Testa were on a dunking stool rather than a throne and the public after a public discussion could vote agreement keeping him seated or “thumbs down” to drop him into cold water, then perhaps future government stability and civility could be expected in the Park City?? ( I know this is not contemplated in our current City documents, but, then again, how closely does any public official act in fact with a close reading of such document?)

    And if Testa was able to claim “How dry I am?” at meeting after meeting, the cost of doing business in Bridgeport could drop? Warning: some funds must be reserved for a giant sculptural rendering of Testa, “hero of the people” soaring away on a pepperoni mushroom pie. In front of which City Hall is the question? That’s the type of “big question” best left to registered voters who spend their vote less that 1/3 of the times on average. Leave the little questions to “the baker”? How could such a change put us in any worse situation than today? Time will tell.

  10. They say that the blow fly is able to find a decomposing corpse quickly in order to lay their eggs and propagate their kind.

    It hasn’t been a week since Dr. Johnson announced her pending resignation and already names like Dan Shamus, Wayne Alexander, Mike Testani and John Fabrizi are already swarming around. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear Dr. Steve Perry’s name tossed out there by BOE member/Charter School Lobbiest Martinez. Good God Almighty, is this the best Bridgeport can do?

    Poor leadership is no leadership at all.


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