School Chief Candidate Calls On Pereira To Abstain From Vote: Nope

Screen shot of Testani’s interview via Linda Conner Lambeck’s Twitter feed.

Director of Adult Education Michael Testani, a candidate for the one-year interim superintendent of schools job, wants school board member Maria Pereira disqualified from the selection process because of public remarks she’s made challenging his credentials for the job. What does Pereira say about that? Hell, no.

Wednesday night the Board of Education continued interviews with the five finalists for the job including Testani who was asked by Pereira if he lobbied political or governmental leadership for the job. He said no. See highlights of interview on CT Post reporter Linda Conner Lambeck’s Twitter feed here.

What Testani has done in an email is lobby school board administrators to support him at a community forum, to be scheduled, prior to the full school board issues a vote among the five finalists.

And this pic.twitter.com/KM7SwWXybp
— linda lambeck (@lclambeck) June 12, 2019

On behalf of Testani, Attorney Tom Bucci, a former mayor, sent a letter to Board of Education Chairman John Weldon urging Pereira’s disqualification. Excerpt of Bucci letter to Weldon:

In an email to board members Wednesday Weldon wrote:

At the full Board level, nothing can take away Ms. Pereira’s legal right as an elected Board Member to cast a ballot for or against the Search Committee’s recommended candidate, whoever that may be.  Notwithstanding, she could abstain from voting on the final recommended candidate in the interest of maintaining integrity of the process. However, that choice would be up to her.

Pereira’s response to Weldon:

My statements made about Mike Testani on OIB on May 22, 2019 were made BEFORE we even received his resume on May 31, 2019 as an applicant for the interim position.

I reviewed my public comments made at the regular meeting on Monday because you asserted that I was “disparaging” a school employee.

I stated Mike Testani had never been a teacher. He was a certified guidance counselor. I stated he has never served as a Principal, Asst. Superintendent or Superintendent and he did not have an 093 Certification. That is factual and is no way disparaging.

My opinion of Mike Testani is from my ten years of involvement in the BPS and my interactions with him as an employee of the BPS. It is not due to a personal matter as I have had no personal relationship with him.

Those who should recuse themselves are your two allies, Vice-President Jessica Martinez and Chris Taylor, who both failed to so much as attend and participate in the three interviews held last night.

You may not remove me from any process involved in the interview or selection of the only employee of the Bridgeport Board of Education as I am an elected member of the Bridgeport Board of Education who obtained the largest number of votes by far of any current school board member and possesses the most tenure.

I will not be abstaining in any fashion and will fulfill my legal obligations as an elected school board member as I have always striven to do.

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12 comments

  1. Again some one pissed at you for doing your due diligence………
    what are some of the criteria’s for the job?…………just reading that he has never even been a principal makes me wonder why he is even in the top 5

  2. What is amazing is that a resident of Fairfield would have the audacity to hire an attorney to demand I not be allowed to fulfill my statutory responsibilities as an elected school board member of Bridgeport.

    The question I asked EVERY candidate was
    ” have you lobbied or communicated, either verbally or in writing, with Mayor Ganim, Chief of Staff Dan Shsmus, any Cabinet level member of the Ganim administration, DTC Chair Mario Testa or any member of this school board regarding filling the Interim-Superintendent position of the Bridgeport Public Schools?”

    Testani went down a long winding road trying to avoid directly answering the question. He stated as a member of the community (which he is not) and in his capacity as a BOE employee he has run into people and had general conversations. While not lobbying, he had general discussions about the position but could not recollect who he had spoken with. Really???

    I reiterated my question was not just about lobbying. It was any conversation regarding serving as Interim-Superintendent.

    He finally stated “no.” I stated “no???”

    He looked completely uncomfortable and appeared to trying to dodge my question. I will state here unequivocally I know his answer was false.

    I went back 40 years. In those 40 years we have NEVER had either an interim or Superintendent that did not possess an 093 Superintendent Certification or out-of- state equivalent. In addition, Mr. Testani has NEVER been a K-12 classroom teacher, a Principal, Asst. Superintendent or Suoerintendent in his life. He is a certified Guidance Counselor. Should he be appointed as Interim -Superintendent, he would be the most unqualified interim or permanent superintendent of Bridgeport in at least the last 40 years.

    We have three other finalists that have served as teachers, principals, asst. superintendents with two candidates that have served as Superintendents in both MA and CT. One is a Bridgeport resident that pays taxes here, was born and raised here, graduated from the BPS , including WHHS. All three are Black and highly qualified. Is it enough to be a minority serving a school district that is 88% minority? No. But the fact is they are ALL significantly more qualified then Mike Testani regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and more.

    We are now the largest school district in CT facing a dire financial crisis. We need a “highly qualified” Interim-Superintendent who will be loyal to our students, not Mayor Ganim, Mario Testa and Fabrizi.

    1. The Jimfox Fan Club keeps growing! The ghosts of Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi are the latest members. They can’t stop laughing. Now you know why Frankenstein’s britches need stitches.

  3. Some grown up needs to take over this mess. Maria is correct but does not have enough allies to accomplish anything. State needs to take over.

  4. I have no idea who Bridgeport Rising is, however I have pushed through more policies, programs and initiatives than all the other school board members combined.

    I have been critical to DEFEATING many poor initiatives or recommendations by conducting research, organizing those impacted, educating those affected and getting them out to articulate their concerns and their proposals.

    A perfect example was my organizing Edison and Hall School to block the effort to close Hall School and merge it into Edison.

    The most critical step to privatizing any public school system is a state takeover where an elected school board is banished. Having an unelected school board is critical to the mass privatization millionaires and billionaires crave so badly so that they can cash in $$$.

    We really just need elected school board members that are passionate about public education, our 20,400 students and have NO links to the corrupt DTC.

  5. Tommy
    You are embarrassing yourself.
    Maria is an elected official and she is simply stating her opinion.
    Did Mario have you step in? Was it the Fabulous One Fabrazi? Please don’t do this. It looks so bad.

  6. Goodness knows I’ve taken Maria to task numerous times in the past, but there is no way she should be disqualified from doing the job she was elected to do. If Michael Testani doesn’t meet the requirements that she alluded to then why would her addressing this be reason for disqualification in her elected duties?

    Michael Testani, Maria was elected you weren’t and you haven’t been hired as yet! And why should the least qualified person even be considered, for one year or one second? Maybe the only true qualification he really needs is to be a white Male!

  7. When there was a vacancy for the Athletic Director, a qualified Black woman that was a certified Gym Teacher with over twenty years experience applied for the position. She had also served in a variety of coaching positions. A White Male who had absolutely no certification with no coaching experience also interviewed for the position. Who do you think Paul Vallas gave it to?

    The Black educator sued the Bridgeport Board of Education. The administration could not credibly substantiate why the White Male received the job when the Black female was significantly more qualified.

    The settlement and legal fees costs us over $100,000.

    We have THREE Black candidates significantly more qualified than Testani. I honestly feel we will be facing major litigation over this absolute backroom deal should it happen.

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