Former City School Chief: Turnover Of Education Leaders Causes Confusion

As Superintendent of Schools Aresta Johnson moves on to a new role at the University of Bridgeport, former Bridgeport school chief Fran Rabinowitz writes in a commentary that appears in the CT Post:

The constant turnover of superintendents in any district results in confusion rather than coherence of teaching and learning in a school district. It broadens and deepens the achievement gap. Educators, rightly so, wonder what’s next? Moreover, poor public behavior from those whom we should hold in high esteem–lack of respect, rudeness and venomous attacks–creates chaos and license for students and staff members to behave in the same way. If board members care about the quality of education in their communities, they must stop the inappropriate and disrespectful behavior and model respect, collaboration and civility for the sake of the children we all serve.

Full commentary here.



  1. The Rabi speaks. But are they words of wisdom or are they more of a parent trying to discipline a child?
    And what better way to celebrate our independence than by functioning as a democracy and not as a totalitarian regime where elected officials are sentenced to the woodshed for speaking out.

  2. Fran Rabinowitz is an absolute hypocrite.

    Fran Rabinowitz did things in Bridgeport she would have never done as an Acting Superintendent in a white suburb.

    Here are just a few examples:

    1) She orchestrated the elimination of the District Parent Advisory Council, which had existed for 47 years, because the majority were openly criticizing her and Dave Hennessey, Hernan Illingworth, Andre Baker, Joe Larcheveque and Kenneth Moales. They called a Special Meeting the night before Ed Gomes Special Election and no public comment was allowed.

    2) Fran Rabinowitz was supposed to be Acting Superintendent for no more than one year. Dave Hennessey, Joe Larcheveque, Kenneth Moales, Hernan Illingworth, and Andre Baker voted to terminate the Superintendent search and she ended up stating 2 1/2 years in violation of state laws and did not receive a single evaluation.

    3) She orchestrated a secret meeting at the CT Association of Boards of Education with the Director of CABE and their legal counsel, Commissioner of Education, members of the state BOE, their legal staff, Joe Larcheveque, Dave Hennessey and Dennis Bradley trying to convince them to take over the BPS again. They said we can’t even try that crap again. Dave Hennessey then resigned.

    4) She and her law firm Shipman & Goowin were instrumental in orchestrating the boycott. Although Howard Gardnee, Sauda Baraka, Ben Walker and myself still tried to continue the work of our committees, she directed staff not to attend any of those meetings.

    5) The Bridgeport Council of Administrators and Supervisors (BCAS) held a meeting in Fran Rabinowitz’s office on the pretense they wanted to meet with officers of the Board of Education. Ben Walker attended as Secretary. BCAS Vice-President Mike Testani led the charge with Rabinowitz present trying to press Ben Walker to publicly oppose me and join the majority. Dennis Bradley and Joe Larcheveque were present as well

    6) I requested a list of every retiree on the payroll and when they were hired. There were slightly over 100 retires,,and 50% of them were re-hired under her administration.

    Where was Fran Rabinowitz’ concern for the well being of our students and parents during all of these machinations??,

    Do you think Fran Rabinowitz would have tried this in Westport and Easton? It’s fine to treat poor urban school parents and voters in this manner , but not those white affluent parents and voters in the suburbs.

    Fran Rabinowitz equals pure rhetoric.


  3. By the way, Fran, the Board of Education is the fiduciary of ever dollar, not you or staff.

    The Board has every right to weigh in on high-level staff, goods and services needed in a school district.

    1. Fran Rabinowitz……GET LOST. Excuuuuuuuuse me why does Fran get her own post when the Greater Bridgeport Symphony made an incredible video playing within the Poli/Majestic theaters which is going worldwide.””?????????????

  4. Fran
    She makes some great points The board of education role is to set policy and let the superintendent do his’s or her job. in the last 10 years or so we’ve elected 9 board member who act like they were elected superintendents of our school system. We have had a lease 4 to 5 different superintendents here in the city of bridgeport and none of them have been able just to do his or her job because many of the board member don’t understand his or her role on the board. Just think for a moment if we had 10 million dollars to give to the board of education by the actions we have all witnessed GOD help us all. I hope the new people who would like to run for the board of education this year. Understand its role.

    1. Ernie, in the last 40 YEARS Bridgeport has had the following as it relates to Acting or Permanent Superintendents:

      Superintendent Jim Connelly, Acting Dan Shamus, Superintendent Sonis Salcedo, Acting Dr. Tolbert, Superintendent John Ramos, Acting Paul Vallas, Acting Fran Rabinowitz, and Acting/Permanent Superintendent Aresta Johnson.

      The Board of Education has many responsibilities under the CT state statutes that govern local school boards.

      If you haven’t read them , please stop commenting on a topic you are clearly not knowledgeable about.

      In the last ten years we have had Dr. Ramos, Paul Vallas, Fran Rabinowitz and Dr. Johnson. That totals four.

      In closing, to put Superintendent turnover in perspective, Greenwich has had 14 Acting/Permanent Superintendents in the last 20 years.

  5. Fran did a lousy job in Hamden (where I used to live) and a worse job in Bridgeport. She is nothing but a politically connected opportunist loading her own pockets at the taxpayers’ expense.

    No major city in CT can keep a superintendent of schools when the schools are so greatly underfunded and BOEs spend their time fighting each other instead of fighting for the kids (there are a few who put the kids first, such as Maria P)

    New Haven’s corrupt, worthless Mayor Harp appointed herself Chairmen/President of the NH BOE in the past. What a joke.
    Ganim had a puppet Chris Taylor who doesn’t even live in Bridgeport, a bigger joke who should be in jail for election fraud…registering to vote where he doesn’t live.

    Clean up the BOE, fund the schools, then Bridgeport has a shot at hiring a competent supertinendent who might stay. Tilting at windmills gets tiring


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