Say It Ain’t So, Joe–School Board Member Sokolovic, With Mighty Attendance Record, Stripped Of Chairmanships

He has the strongest attendance record of all the veteran members on the school board, but Joe Sokolovic has been stripped of two committee chairmanships without notice by chair Jessica Martinez.

From Joe-So’s Facebook page:

New committee assignments. Chair of the only two committees that met 100% of the time taken away without so much as an e-mail. Currently sitting in facilities 15 minutes late without a quorum. They think they are paying me back but it’s your kids that will suffer. Good luck as committee chairs Albert Benejan Grajales and Bobbi Brown. Let me know if you need any help or advice. I’m not going anywhere and will put our students first./blockquote>
From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

Weeks after establishing committees for the new school board, Board of Education Chairwoman Jessica Martinez has reshuffled them without notice or explanation.

In the process, Joseph Sokolovic, a Republican and often the voice of dissent on many issues, has been stripped of two committee chairmanships–Teaching and Learning and Students and Families–and been taken off the committees altogether. Both will now be led by the two freshman members of the panel. Bobbi Brown will chair Teaching and Learning and Albert Benejan, Students and Families.

… Board member Chris Taylor, who publicly asked not to be assigned to any committees, now finds himself on two.

Recently, however, Martinez sent an email to Sokolovic accusing him of divulging what went on in the executive session that led to Michael Testani being offered a three-year superintendent contract. Sokolovic denied telling anyone what was said at the closed-door session and publicly asked if he should sue her for libel.



  1. Not only does Joe Sokolovic have the best attendance by far, the Students & Families and Teaching & Learning Committees has moved more member based policies, initiatives, proposed contracts, curriculum and learning initiatives than all other committees combined.

    John Weldon is Chairing two committees yet over the last two years he only held one Governance Committee meeting. He is an absolute rubber stamp for Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, Danny Roach and Dan Shamus.

    Hernan Illingworth has likely committed similar voting felonies as Jessica Marrinez and possibly Chris Taylor. He was Chair of Facilities last year and seldom held meetings. He is a rubber stamp for Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, Dan Shamus. Tom McCarthy, and for some reason Jeanette Herron.

    Jessica Martinez is serving as Chair of the BOE and of the Finance Committee while also serving as a paid Charter $school Lobbyist. She only held 4 meetings last year including during Budget season. She served as campaign treasurer for Dennis Bradley who is about to go down in flames and she will likely go down with him. She has an abysmal attendance and tardiness record. She has been repeatedly arrested and plead guilty to reduced charges in order to enter a Domestic Violence Program. Upon completion, her charges were just dismissed. Just two days letter the BPD was investigating her for repeatedly stabbing her boyfriend. In addition, I filed an SEEC complaint with overwhelming evidence demonstrating she committed felony voter fraud. Just days letter a photo of her smoking a crack pipe with her boyfriend’s own family asserting she has a crack addiction. She is a rubber stamp of Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim and a puppet of the Charter $school Industry.

    We have Chris Taylor facing a cornucopia of felony elections and voting fraud allegations and impersonating an officer while trying to kidnap his adult stepson with a weapon. He has the worst attendance on the entire school board. He is a rubber stamp for Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, Dan Shamus and the RTC Chair.

    We have Sybll Allen who was convicted of absentee ballot fraud so severe she was forced to resign from the town committee and not allowed to run for office for two years. She is a rubber stamp with absolute loyalty to Mario Testa. I honestly believe if Mario Testa converted his parking lot to a cotton field and then asked her to pick it, she would. She is an educated black woman completely subservient to a little white Italian man.

    We have Albert Benejan who is a barely functioning illiterate. He literally cannot spell Superintendent. He brought his son across town to school over 100 times late out of 182 school days for two consecutive years He was evicted for non-payment of rent TWICE within 13 months and fired from the Kennedy Center as a driver for them after he was involved in a car accident and they discovered he did not have a valid license. He is a puppet for Lydia Martinez, Mayor Ganim and Mario Testa.

    We have Joseph Lombard who is a former Teach for America alum who works for Porter Chester Institute which has been identified as a predatory lender which buries mostly minority students in massive student debt while often failing to place their students in employment. Joseph Lombard is a puppet for Mayor Ganim, Dan Shamus and the RTC Chair.

    We have Bobbi Brown who has shown some independence, however she has no basis for chairing the Teaching & Learning Committee which focuses on the instructional needs of students and staff.

    This is what we have on our Bridgeport Board of Education governing the largest school system in the state responsible for the academic, social and emotional well being of our over 20,000 students.

    Yet Joe Sokolovic has not only been stripped of his chairmanships, he is not a MEMBER of any standing committees. He is only chairing the Males of Color Adhoc Committee and serving on the City School Building Committee.

    He is not on the Facilities & Security, Personnel, Governance, Teaching & Learning, Students & Families, Contracts, or Finance Committee as even a member.

    This criminal cabal has Joe Sokolovic outnumbered 7 to 1 or 8 to 1 on the BOE, but that’s not enough. Not one voice of opposition or different point-of-view can be tolerated.

    The only person currently serving on the BOE that should be serving as Chair of the Board of Education is Joe Sokolovic. There is no other school Board member vested in our students that is qualified to lead the Board of Education.

    In addition he is only one of two school Board members that has a child in the BPS.

    If this isn’t absolute evidence that Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, and every DTC District Leader could not care less about our over 20,000 students, 88% of which are minorities, exactly what is?

  2. I forgot to state that in the last two years, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth, Sybil Allen, Christopher Taylor and John Weldon have not so much as proposed a single policy, initiative, curriculum, or program that directly benefitted students, parents, staff or taxpayers.

    Only Ben Walker, Joseph Sokolovic, and I proposed numerous policies, initiatives, curriculum, and programs that we worked on extensively in Committee and was approved by the Board of Education.

  3. I would like to echo the sentiments of Jimfox when one January 23rd said, “The State Broad of Education, should take control of BBoE!
    It’s time that the State steps in and remove the Crackheads and Felons from BBoE!”

    Ernie, you still have considerable pull at the State level and if you are indeed the Moses of your people you SHOULD in conjunction with your other council members request that the State steps in for the best interest of our children! My Brother please don’t think I’m trying to tell you what to do as I’m merely strongly suggesting that if we truly care about the education of Bridgeport’s children a CHANGE HAS GOT TO COME! You can make it happen my Brother.

    1. Don, you know dam well that Ernie is NOT going to do anything. As for Maria’s comments, they are a joke, don’t cry over spilt milk, Maria got exactly what she campaign in the Democrat primary, she got Mario Testa. Maria wants everybody to think that she is so smart but putting sun light on others hardship but how smart is she when is wanted Joe Ganim to win the primary which guaranteed Mario Testa staying in power and running the BBOE and the City Council, Maria couldn’t figure that out.

    2. Mr. Day,

      It has been my suspicion for some time that this has been the DTC’s overarching plan for many years. They made a blatant attempt at this once, unsuccessfully. They later supported a charter revision to essentially accomplish the same (supported by that idiot Bloomberg, nonetheless). They shoehorned John Weldon into the Chair seat and then supported his backroom bylaws change, giving him unilateral control of almost every BOE decision. Following a series of years of severe budget cuts caused by deliberate municipal underfunding, the DTC has now supported a paid charter school charlatan for chair in Martinez. Is it possible to get a more inept, ignorant board in place? This ineptitude screams for a takeover. Each step shows that the DTC has learned from it’s prior mistakes. Soon the school budget and all of it’s patronage jobs and contracts will be in the hands of the DTC along with a rubber-stamp of a BOE.

  4. Mr. Walker, it is the plan of the DTC for several decades to control everything Bridgeport. Joe understood that the only way to cut the head off the DTC serpents was the last mayoral election and his foresight wasn’t shared by some of those that now complain about the DTC’s stranglehold on the BBOE and our children’s education.
    I don’t know if you’ll ever have a better chance to change the political climate of Bridgeport than you had at the last election. It’s going to take a Black or a Latino that can get white people to believe in them who haven’t had their hearts and minds controlled by the DTC and I don’t see that person here! Well other than Senator Moore! ☻


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