Kate Rivera To Fill Vacant School Board Seat

It’s just for three months but Kate Rivera was chosen Monday night to fill the Board of Education vacancy of Democrat Jacqueline Kelleher who resigned July 31.

The September 16 Democratic primary for mayor will also include races for school board. Party-endorsed Kadisha Coates, Hernan Illingworth and Faith Harrison-Villegas face challenges from Dennis Bradley, Maria Pereira and Ben Walker.

CT Post reporter Linda Conner Lambeck has more on Rivera selection:

Mary “Kate” Rivera, 38, was chosen Monday night to to fill a vacancy on the city Board of Education for the next three months.

Rivera was one of seven candidates to be publicly interviewed Monday by the remainder of the school board before the panel’s regular business meeting at the new Roosevelt School.

“I’m not going to let you down,” said Rivera, who is the mother of four. “I can’t wait to continue to help the children of Bridgeport.”

Rivera got five votes. Also nominated were Faith Harrison-Villegas, who got two votes and Gail E. Janensch, who got one vote. Harrison-Villegas and Ben Walker, another candidate, are both running for four-year seats in the fall. Rivera said she didn’t run because she wasn’t sure she could give her all for that length of time.

Full story here.



  1. Congratulations! I have to say I do support government-funded charter schools for one simple reason. Capitalism. Competition could bring out the best in competing groups. If charter schools want government funds they will have to prove their worth and if their students outperform the public schools then the public school will have to step up their performance. For me at the end of the day it’s about the students. There was a reason why it was illegal to educate slaves and other people. It was brought to my attention just because it’s about the massive school budget doesn’t mean the schools have to fail the Bridgeport students. Also if there was ever a collusion to keep Bridgeport residents poor, the educational system is the vehicle to achieve it, not taxes or even jobs. BAM now I’m out and I will not be coming back; enjoy, people. PS TBK when I said you’re meaner than Frank it wasn’t a compliment and it’s not an accomplishment. 🙂

    1. Robert, I have been pretty much silent about your posts and multitude of bizarre links, however as a fellow Portuguese resident, I find you to be an embarrassment to our community.

      I realize you are slightly odd and remember you frequently sitting outside Joe’s office at the headquarters and you were frequently directing others about how the campaign should be handled, and once you were directed to take it down a notch and it was suggested you were going to have to abstain from coming to headquarters, you appear to be supporting Finch.

      what I am sure of is you have no in-depth knowledge regarding public education and the charlatan charter school movement.

      By the way, stating “BAM, now I am out” is only meaningful if you actually stay “out.”

    2. Bye bye. It is the state’s constitutional responsibility to provide all children with an adequate education. Charters schools are not doing it. At best they are slightly above the worst of the public schools. So BAM. Get out of here.

    3. Robert Teixeira,
      A sua opinião de mim não importa. Todos os links que você fornecer não importa como opiniões. Há mais do que alguns indivíduos mentalmente doentes postagem aqui. O contingente foi preenchido. Agora, BAM, você está fora.

  2. She may be on the Board for a short time, but it would be appropriate for the CT Post story to provide more detail such as employment and education background, marital status, etc.

    1. Tom, I think any member running for the Bridgeport Board of Education should be fully vetted including criminal background at least as much as you would do for a cashier at McDonalds.

      I do not want to be critical but of all the seven interviewed, I think Ms. Rivera was one of the weakest candidates and one of the shortest interviews. I found the vote very odd.

        1. Bob Walsh, although I appreciate your assumption, I would have to disagree. Of the seven people interviewed, I would have assumed Villegas would have been the Finch choice as she was extremely articulate and comprehensive as well as running on his ticket with Hernan and Coates and they did not vote for the candidate in question. You lose credibility when the first thing out of your mouth is a Finch supporter. To be honest, as a Finch supporter I would totally want a candidate who supports the mayor. I am not so certain this was the MAYOR’S CHOICE, BUT FOR FOUR MONTHS she will do fine I am sure. She had Sauda Baraka’s vote and Howard Gardner, does that scream Finch person to you?????????

  3. Another charter school parent serving on the PUBLIC school board. We now have Joe Larcheveque, Kadisha Coates, and Kate Rivera serving on the true public school board with children in charter schools. And let us not forget the deplorable and disgusting Kenneth Moales Jr.

    I am so disappointed in Sauda and Howard. A very poor decision on their part.

  4. As many OIB readers know, Lennie has repeatedly published many of Mayor Finch’s press releases where he constantly references he is the father of four BPS children. Mayor Finch has constantly offered up his four children as evidence of his support of the BPS.

    Although I sent Lennie a picture of Mayor Finch’s sixth-grade son who is in a Capital Prep. Harbor Charter School uniform and began his first day of school at this charter school yesterday, he refused to write about it or post the photo. Lennie professed concern about referencing Mayor Finch’s child in a story although he had no such concern in repeatedly publishing Finch’s press releases where Mayor Finch repeatedly references his own children to score political points.

    Shame on you, Lennie Grimaldi. I guess Mayor Finch is paying you a pretty penny for all the advertisement on OIB.

    I am officially “out.”

    1. Maria Pereira demanded I publish an article I felt was an attack on one of Bill Finch’s young sons. I will not use this site as a vehicle to criticize an elected official through their young children. Finch has long professed support of charter schools and school choice. If you have a beef with a public figure and want to criticize their actions and decisions, it’s fair game. Using young children as a target to attack a public official in the demand Maria Pereira made is not fair game.

      1. Lennie, you are respectful and I agree. Children do not belong as fodder in a political campaign and Maria wants to be on the school Board. Does she understand the damage to a child’s psyche when they become the target of political attacks they do not understand? Shame on you, Maria. This information will not help your candidate.

        1. Wow! So Maria, who is quick to say which people are “horrible” and and supports Joe Ganim, because apparently her head was in the sand while he was “making deals,” attempts to prompt Lennie to use a candidate’s child to make a political point. About whom do you think OIB readers now call horrible?
          Maria, Lennie tried to do you a big favor by not going forward with this. You would have been wise to realize that.

          Not a good week for Maria Piranha. One piece of advice: Run (away) Joe, run…

    2. You went too far, Maria. Lennie’s right, family members are off limits. Direct your criticism toward Bill Finch; he holds public office, not his children, not his wife.

      You need to stop, take stock and recalibrate your priorities.

    3. Maria, Mayor Finch has sent all his children to Bridgeport Public Schools. Ganim has not. Mayor Finch supports a parent’s choice and he supports charter schools and he does not have to send his kids to underperforming schools when he is the first mayor to take drastic steps to try to improve the Bridgeport school system. Nearly every parent I spoke to who has tried to get into a Magnet school, they are disappointed as their children are 380 or 486 on the list. Mayor Finch certainly does not have to impress you by taking responsibility for his child’s education.

      Also, MARIA, ARE YOU STALKING THE MAYOR’S CHILD? That concerns me and I am being serious. Children in campaigns are off limits. Why would you take a picture of his son? I think you are under the mistaken impression all families in Bridgeport are against charter schools and you are very wrong. I have no kids in the BRIDGEPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I TOTALLY SUPPORT A PARENT’S RIGHT TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO A CHARTER SCHOOL WHEN A MAGNET SCHOOL IS NOT AVAILABLE AND THEIR CHILDREN APPEAR ‘3-4 HUNDRED DOWN THE LIST. Whats more impressive is the mayor did not try to use his position to get his child into a magnet school. Your going after Mayor Finch’s son would be as terrible as BBOE parents going after you, no?

  5. You know Lennie, Maria is absolutely correct on this one. Finch brags about how his kids go to Bridgeport Public Schools and now they don’t. That is what most folks would consider news.
    Furthermore, since Finch is such a big fan of charter schools, it begs the question of whether the pool of applicants was slightly tainted when OMG the mayor wins the lottery.

    1. Bob Walsh,
      It is no secret I hold the mayor and his henchmen in low regard. I direct my criticism toward HIM, and THEM. His wife and children are off-limits, period. End of story.

      Shame on you, and shame on Maria for trying to drag his family into something they have nothing to do with.

      1. But first of all, Kid, as Maria points out, Tax Bill used to trumpet the fact his kids went to Bridgeport Public Schools. Now, very quietly, he pulls one of his sons out. If Tax Bill never said anything I could see your and Lennie’s point. But this is nothing more than followup to Finch’s PR machine.
        And secondly, if the fix were in, would you feel any differently?

        1. He’s the mayor, for Christ’s sake. No matter what your opinion of him is, the office comes with a few perks. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. It should be pointed out his children are still being educated at charter schools after attending Bridgeport public schools. If he sent them to a prep school in New Hampshire I might be able to see your point. Even then I would object to his wife and children being dragged into a mayoral race that has become extremely heated.

    2. Bob Walsh, Mayor Finch has sent four children through the Public School system. He had every right to brag! He now feels his child may perform better in a charter school. He has every right as a parent to make that decision. He has always supported charter schools and the voters know that.

      Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster have never had a child in the Bridgeport School System. That is enough said.

  6. Shame on you, Maria Pereira. Shame, Shame, Shame. How does it feel to get a public lynching on a blog? Joe Ganim would be ashamed of this commentary. You may be asked to take it down a notch and perhaps stay away until after the election. Maybe you will be exiled to the (unofficial) police substation. I understand the folks in the 135th are supporting Mayor Finch. Now play nice and stop taking pictures of other people’s children unless you inform them you are doing that! It is very creepy!

    1. I don’t know, Stevie, Maria is a dedicated worker for causes she is passionate about; yes, many would say her Achilles heel is her demands for no compromise, some see it as her greatest strength. I cannot see any candidate she supports going to her and instructing her how to campaign for them, she just might turn against that candidate and go after them. Not a risk candidates like to take. Life is very interesting when one lives by, I will burn that bridge when I come to it (credit to Jimmy Buffett song). I would imagine more than a few people working at Joe’s headquarters might be humming, how do you solve a problem like Maria.

  7. Maria, a little hypercritical, are we? You have a former councilman who lives down the street from you who didn’t send his son to a Bridgeport Public High School.

  8. Lennie, the way Maria used to approach you with her suggestion may not have been to your liking, perhaps even creepy. This mayor removing his child from a regular public school and sending him to a (taxpayer-financed) charter school is a story that deserves coverage. It is a statement. It is more relevant than some of the silliness going on in this primary race.

    1. Tom, I totally agree with you, this is truly a big new development in the race for mayor and it needs to be reported by the media. Public education and the tax dollars to fund it is a big issue nationwide and so is openness and honesty but Mayor Finch makes a personal decision that also deals with his openness and honesty to the taxpayers of Bridgeport.

      1. Tom White and Ron Mackey,
        Both of you stop the bullshit. Mayor Finch made a parental decision about his children’s education. It has nothing at all to do with his “openness and honesty to the taxpayers of Bridgeport.” Mind your own fucking business.

          1. Ron, if I remember correctly, the Bpt BOE asked for a moratorium on charters in Bpt. They were foisted upon Bpt by the CT DOE. The legislature voted a moratorium on charter funding but Malloy vetoed the bill and there was no override.

          1. Mind my own fucking business? Hey Ron, don’t post your arguments on a public forum. Mind my own fucking business? Don’t make it everyone else’s business. You mind YOUR fucking business, asshole.

        1. You fucking asshole, who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? I’m not one of the assholes you talk to all the time. What the fuck do you think a blog is for, just for your bullshit?

          1. This is a public forum, Mr. Mackey, not the Spanish Inquisition. I know who I’m talking to: an obnoxious asshole. This isn’t solely for your bullshit. Cross a prostitute with a computer and you get your kind, a fucking know-it-all.

          1. I’m not a punk, sir. And I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym. You must have been standing behind the door when my name was revealed.

            I don’t post bullshit, Mr. Mackey. My writing skills alone stand out. What are you posting, the mayor putting his kids into a charter school? How is that any of your business? He has the sole right as a parent to make the decision about where his children are educated.

            What are you gonna do, rough me up because I called you an asshole? Get over yourself and grow up.

          1. Tom, I agree but this no-name punk started the vulgarity and I’m not going to let anybody do that to me in person or on a blog.

          2. What are you going to do, beat me up because I called you an asshole? Very mature, very sophisticated, very adult. It’s only a blog, Mr. Mackey. Remember that.

    1. Bepo in the know, I totally agree with your post.

      Bridgeport Kid, I agree with every aspect of your argument supporting the right of the Mayor and his wife to look after the best interest of their child. I do not think any public figure should have to discuss their personal family business unless it has a direct effect on the voters.

      Personally, I support a parent’s right to choose a school. If it is Public, Private, parochial or charter. It is always the poor families who suffer the most as schools in a poor area may be underperforming and private and parochial are just not an option so these students only have a charter school as a hope to improve their child’s chances for a better life. Who are we to stand in the way of a parent trying to improve their child’s chances? I think the Mayor should be proud to admit he is trying a charter school. The city has great talent. Should they all be stifled because they are forced to have a mediocre education where the teachers have very little control in the classroom?

      1. It is appalling a couple of people here would be so lacking in shame they would deign to drag a candidate’s family into the fray. Bill Finch is not on trial for heresy; he’s running for mayor, period. His family is off-limits. Ron Mackey must have him confused with a professional golfer who cheated on his wife.

  9. Mr. Finch’s decision to enroll his children in a charter school is entirely his as a parent. They are his children, not anyone else’s. This is not the 15th Century; what a few of the posters here were trying to accomplish smacks of an inquisition. What’s next, an inquiry into Mr. Finch’s religious beliefs, his fraternal associations?

  10. Mayor Finch is the top public person in Bridgeport and the decision to place his children in a charter school is his business but it’s the taxpayers business to take public tax dollars for public school children and pay for the mayor’s children, now the issue of public tax dollars is a public issue.

    1. Tax dollars are the issue, not where the mayor’s children receive their education. That’s his business as a parent. Bill finch is running for public office, not his wife and kids. Keep them out of the discussion.

  11. All my neighbors support Charter schools. I support Charter schools. I do not have any kids in the Bridgeport School system, I have seen first-hand students in 30 schools. I believe in choice.

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