Testani Selected As Interim School Chief, But State Declares Him ‘Acting’

Michael Testani, well known to the city’s political establishment as director of adult education, was chosen Monday night interim superintendent of schools, but the state issued a ruling that he’s technically “acting” because there’s no “interim” classification under state law.

Testani’s service in that role is expected to last one year as the district seeks a longer-term leader. Aresta Johnson recently announced she’s stepping down to accept a position at the University of Bridgeport.

More on this from Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post.

The 5-3 vote with one abstention came with two other candidates for the position sitting in the front row.

Board Chairman John Weldon, Vice Chairman Jessica Martinez, along with Sybil Allen, Chris Taylor and Hernan Illingworth voted for Testani. Board Secretary Joseph Sokolovic along with Maria Pereira and Joseph Lombard voted for Jonathan Brice, an associate superintendent in Montgomery County Schools in Maryland.

Board member Lamar Kennedy abstained, saying his vote would not change the outcome.

Testani, 48, is expected to start almost immediately, consulting with outgoing Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson before her anticipated July 9 departure from the job.

… “I am excited. I am honored. To me this is just a humbling experience,” Testani said by phone after the vote was taken. He was not at the meeting.

Full story here.

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28 comments

  1. Chris Taylor and Jessica Martinez have each missed over 50% of all their meetings. Chris Taylor has not attended a single committee meeting this year.

    Chris Taylor and Jessica Martinez did not attend the interviews for over 50% of the candidates. They did not interview Dr. Brice, Dr. Bonner or Mr. Uoright.Neither attended the Candidate Forum on Saturday.

    I pointed this out and asked if they intended to participate in the selection of an interim super when they had no interaction with three of the candidates.

    Of course Chris Taylor and Jessica Martinez were going to vote.

    I then asked Chair Weldon was the intention to review the Interview Question Evaluations each school board member was supposed to use to take notes on candidate responses and rate each answer from 1 to 5.

    He looked dumbfounded. He had the audacity to say they weren’t turned into him. I stated that you are the Chsir, therefore that is your job. The crowd enthusiastically applauded.

    John Weldon and Jessica Martinez tried to approve a motion to go into executive session. Of course I was prepared with CT State Statute 1-225 which clearly states that you MAY go into executive session to discuss the APPOINTMENT, performance, evaluation, termination and more of an employee unless those being discussed REQUEST it be held in public. I stated if all 5 candidates were not provided notice that they were going to be discussed in executive session and offered the opportunity to request the discussion be held in public, executive session could not be entered. I directed his attention to Dr. Brice and Ms. Clemons seated in the front row.

    I stated you want to discuss the candidates for the highest paid position in Bridgeport in secret? The crowd got behind me.

    Although I made it clear executive session was illegal, John Weldon pushed it through anyway. The crowd was opposing it. In the end they couldn’t get the 6 votes to go into executive session.

    Sybil Allen, Mario Testa’s slave, Hernan Illingworth, absolutely spineless, Charter School lobbyist Jessica Martinez, who has the second worst attendance after Chris Taylor, were making the stupidest statements that Dr. Brice and Denise Clemmons should apply for the permanent superintendent.

    You have to have a plan. Now there is a word for word record of the entire debate and vote.

    Three highly qualified candidates who have all served as Associate or full Superintendents with doctorates and 093 Superintendent Certificates where denied the position so a white Male who has never served as a teaxher, principal, assistant superintendent or superintendenr who does not possess a doctorate or 093 superintendent certification is now in charge of the largest school district in CT with a student population that is 88% minority.

    I think there is a solid foundation for a federal lawsuit based on discrimination related to race, gender and age. I hope these three qualified candidates file a joint federal lawsuit

  2. I received three calls from allies tonight expressing frustration that I supported Lamar Kennedy for the Board.

    He did one of those pathetic City Council “I pass” moves. Once Testani had five votes he had the audacity to state that ” my vote doesn’t matter because Testani has 5 votes.” He abstained.

    This is one of the most important votes any school board member can take, and he punted.

    Those who remain neutral never help the oppressed. They ALWAYS help the oppressed.

    Lamar demonstrated cowardness. I was also informed that Steve Nelson took Lamar Kennedy to meet with Mario Testa BEFORE we voted to appoint him to fill Ben Walker’s vacancy.

    Are there are any honest and ethical people in Bridgeport that want to just do what is in the best interest of students?

  3. Mike Testani’s wife is a school teacher at CHS. He is the Vice-President of the Bridgeport Council of Administrators and Supervisors (BCAS). The president of NAGE and many of their security guard members came out in support of Testani.

    If Testani’s wife does something wrong who will report her? Testani will have ultimate authority over her discipline and be his wife’s ultimate supporter.

    Testani is going to now have to discipline, rule on grievances, demote, promote,and more the very employees he is required to defend in discipline hearings and grievances as of today.

    Testani will have the ultimate authority over NAGE members.

    For any Bridgeport Board of Education who witnesses dishonest, sexual offenses, stealing and more by Mike Testani’s wife, any BCAS member or NAGE member; please contact me privately. I promise I will get to the bottom of it while protecting your identity.

    Many school board employees trust me and I am able to get quite a bit of information.

  4. WHAT THE HELL WAS THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THEM INTERVIEW???? HOW AS BOARD MEMBERS CAN YOU VOTE WHEN YOU DIDNT EVEN INTERVIEW 2 OF THE CANDIDATES????? HOW CAN YOU CALL YOURSELVES BOARD MEMBERS WHEN YOU DONT EVEN GO TO THE MEETING??? TAYLOR, MARTINEZ HAVE ZERO RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE OF BRIDGEPORT AND WHEN IS ALL OF THEM GOING TO REALIZE IT???? LAUGHTING STOCK OF CONNECTICUT

  5. Chris Taylor and Jessica Martinez did not interview THREE of the 5 candidates including two of the most qualified candidates, Dr. Brice, and Dr. Bonner.

    Many of those who spoke on behalf of Mr. Testani could not even spell “superintendent.” There was a poster which stated “Mr Testani is ARE …”

    This really ghetto parent tried to read a prepared statement in support of Testani and she clearly didn’t write it because she was unable to pronounce so many of the words. It was Harding administrators that wrote that for her. I have lost all respect for the Harding’s Principal Mr. Brown and Asst. Principal Kathy Silver.

    Any interim- or permanent Superintendent appointed with the minimum number of votes required is going to be in serious trouble. He only got 5 votes which was delivered by all those entrenched in the corrupt Democratic machine, which includes Republicans John Weldon and Chris Taylor.

    Fran Rabinowitz,,Dr. Johnson, Paul Vallas and even Dr. Ramos were appointed unanimously. When the Board and the community are completely divided out of the gate you know there is going to be major issues.

    If you want proof of that, just look at what is happening h to Dr. Birks in New Haven. The community is demanding her resignation and current and former school board members are calling for her resignation.

    She will not survive.

    The room was so divided last night. You could feel the tension in the room. A female security guard sat there crying after the meeting was over because of the discourse during the meeting by both the public and the Board.

    The most qualified Interim-Superintendent was not appointed last night, not even close.

  6. I see where Mike wasn’t at the meeting. Something very important must have been on his calendar to miss this.
    Did anybody see him at Ganim’s HQ Opening?

    1. Does this board EVER get any positive things done for the 20,400 kids here? It seems like all they do is bitch, moan, and backstab each other…… Just asking…….. SMFH
      I went to school and grew up with Mike and he was more intelligent in high school than you people are now!!!
      Facts are facts, this board needs an enema!!!

      1. Frank,

        Mike Testani is completely unqualified to lead the largest school district in CT.

        He is so intelligent that after 20 years as a BOE employee he has never even served as a Principal.

        He is only the Director of Adult Education because his buddy Mayor Fabrizi lobbied Fran Rabinowitz with former Superintent Connelly. A Director is not even equivalent to a Principal.

        Adult Education does not have anything to do with serving as the academic and instructional leader of a Pre-k – 12 school district..

        Please list all those things the school board doesn’t get done. And you have an actual list please pin it on our incompetent Chair John Weldon and his corrupt colleagues.

        By the way, I will take on Mike Testani in any debate on Pre’
        -k – 12 education and easily defeat him.

        He is sneaky, slimy, unethical and underhanded. Intelligent, not so much.

          1. Frank, do you recall reaching out to me for advice on running for Mayor?

            I was cordial and respectful, but privately I remember thinking you were living in a fantasy world.

            If I am describing myself why did YOU reach out to me for advice?

            Hmmm ..

  7. Once again, I am urging every single voter in Bridgeport NOT to vote for a single endorsed Democrat or Republican for the Board of Education.

    In all my years of involvement with the Board of Education, there have only been TWO endorsed candidates free of political interference who stood up for our students over politics. That would be Democrat Bobby Simmons and Republican Sauda Baraka.

    And what ever you do DON’T Vote for that absolute idiot Albert Benejan. He is going to be supported by BUILD CT, a Charter $school PAC funded by white millionaires and billionaires.

    He CANNOT spell, capitalize, punctuate or write a comprehensive sentence. He was standing with Testani after Saturday’s Candidate Forum holding a poster stating “Parents for Michael Testani for SUPERINDENTE.” He and almost everyone in the photo were not even BPS parents. If you can’t spell “Superintendent” you probably shouldn’t serve on a school board supervising a Superintendent.

    Then we have Tammy Bodagne, AKA Tammy Boyle, a lifelong welfare recipient who met a convicted felon on Facebook while he was still incarcerated, picked him up from prison and moved him into her house within a week, talk about how great a mother she is as a white woman raising her black sons.

    If that is the definition of a great mother, we are all in serious trouble.

    This defined Mike Testani’s supporters last night. The vast majority of his supporters were illiterate, unintelligent, and on the payroll of the BOE.

  8. @Maria, the political corruptness doesn’t end with those said Board members, it trickles down into the staffing itself. Employees have figured out ways around Board and Union rule sets. Job reclassification, new job titles, shifting employees around. The Board needs more oversight. Can’t wait to see the upcoming “organization chart”

    1. Well, when that happens please send me a message with as many details and facts as possible.

      I will do everything in my power to research it and expose it.

      I believe in holding those in power accountable.

  9. Please know that I am more knowledgeable than the other eight school board members combined.

    I research and read EVERYTHING. That is why I am such a problem for those that are corrupt.

    By the way, the School Resource Officer who filled out the police reports regarding the incident where the corrupt Bridgeport Police Department issued a warrant for “Breach of Peace”, testified on behalf of Mike Testani last night.

    This SRO wrote the police reports for Dr. Otuwa, MIKE TESTANI, and another low level employee.

    Rondell Jones couldn’t even speak properly utilizing incorrect tenses and improperly formed sentences.

    My attorney’s are going to just love this.:)

  10. We’ll see if this was the will of the people by the next election of the BBOE. My best guess is that most, if not all those DTC loyalist will again be voted into the BBOE inspite of their lackadaisical attitude for the education of Bridgeport children.

    If the parents of Bridgeport school children doesn’t show it cares about the future of their children’s education then the corrupt DTC will continue to put individuals on the BBOE that serves its best interest rather than the best interest of the children. My hope is that the Bridgeport electorate will vote in the best of its children, but the reality is that the so called Black and Latino leaders who have their collective heads up the ass of the DTC and Mayor Ganim will again convenience them to follow the WHITE MALE BRICK ROAD to the abyss of failure. If you don’t know where you’re going any road will take you there.

  11. I MAY work really hard for two BOE candidates on a slate filed in the Town Clerk’s office. However, I am going to do everything in my power to DEFEAT the Male candidate on that slate.

    1. I can live without your support. I have all of your voter contacts, I know all of your strategies, and you have influence in one school. No sleep lost.

      1. Eric, I am the only District in the City with both precincts in the top 5 polling locations. I didn’t say I wouldn’t support you. I stated I would work against you. There is a difference.

        I have made significant progress in JFK. in fact, I beat Joe Ganim’s and Dennis Bradley’s operation in JFK for ABS with Samia helping me with 10 ABs in Success.

        I got 148 ABs by MYSELF with zero help.

        Aaron lost JFK by 48 votes which included one of Lydia’s people submitting 9 ABs from one home. SEEC is investigating that complaint.

        You can’t raise money, you don’t put in the work, and my voters are incredibly loyal. All my strategies require a solid work ethic. That is simply something you do not possess.

        I didn’t walk 50% of Thomas Hooker and Aaron still beat Dennis by 150 votes.

        I was able to simply stand in front of Thomas Hooker and explained that both Stallworth and Hanks were both poor candidates, therefore they shouldn’t vote for either. Over 100 voters that cast votes for Governor and state senator did NOT cast a single vote for State Rep.

        I just love those who have absolutely NO base of votes who try to criticize those that do.

  12. This only gets better. Mike Testani CANNOT serve as interim because he is so unqualified. The state has ruled he can only serve as an “acting” because he has NO 093 Superintendent Certification and he has no out-of- state equivalent. He has ZERO experience as a Superintendent or high-level experience in the entire country.

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