Petition: School Chief Owes John Bagley An Apology

Outgoing Board of Education member Maria Pereira, soon to join the City Council, has launched an online petition on behalf of John Bagley who has been removed as Harding High School basketball coach. See petition here.

John Bagley is an iconic Warren Harding High School alum who went onto play for both the Celtics & Cavaliers in the NBA. In addition, he is a son of Bridgeport who is beloved in our community. John Bagley is incredibly humble, well respected and known for his volunteerism in our community, especially as it relates to giving back to our youth. He is beloved by many.

John Bagley has served as the Warren Harding High School Varsity Basketball Coach, utilizing a temporary coaching certificate, for the last two seasons while enduring disrespectful treatment by Principal Dane Brown & Athletic Director Grasso under the leadership of now Acting Superintendent Mike Testani.

John Bagley received his CT Interscholastic Athletic Conference Certificate of Completion in early Spring 2019. He personally submitted his certificate to the Board of Education Human Resources Department that indicated it would be forwarded to the CT State Department of Education. That was not done, nor was John Bagley informed it was not done.

John Bagley would have gladly submitted his required certificates to the CT State Department of Education had H.R. asked him to do so. Without John Bagley’s knowledge the coaching position was posted as a vacancy, interviews were conducted, and he was replaced without even being aware of it until it was announced on Twitter.

Acting Superintendent Mike Testani publicly stated that John Bagley could not coach the Harding Varsity Basketball Team, earning $5,400 annually, because he did not have the required certification, yet Fairfield resident Mike Testani is earning $230,000 annually as the Acting Superintendent in Bridgeport although he had to receive a waiver from the Commissioner of Education because he lacks the required certification to serve as a Superintendent anywhere in CT.

This is hypocrisy at the highest level!

John Bagley has made it clear he has no interest in returning to his coaching position due to the incredible lack of respect he has been shown, however he would like a public apology from Acting Superintendent Mike Testani for the false narrative and disparaging remarks that he chose to make to the press.

Your signature means that you, too are calling on Acting Superintendent Mike Testani to issue a public apology to John Bagley for the false narrative he has perpetuated about John Bagley in the media.



  1. John Bagley was consulted and approved this petition being created and shared.

    If you choose to sign the petition please insert a comment in the “reason for signing” section explaining your reason for supporting John.

    He is quite upset that Acting Superintendent Mike Testani stated publicly that he is not “qualified” to serve as the Warren Harding High School Varsity Basketball Coach because he was not “certified” to do so.

    In addition, Mike Testani told me that he didn’t think John Bagley was a “good coach” and that most people under the age of 40 “had no idea who he was.”

    John Bagley has had both his Athletic Conference Certificate since the Spring and already had is CPR certification. Had they simply been submitted to the state Department of Education he would have simply been issued his Coaching Certificate.

    John Bagley absolutely feels disrespected and disparaged by Acting Superintendent Mike Testani and his henchmen Principal Dane Brown and Athletic Director Grasso.

    John Bagley wants and expects a public apology from Acting Superintendent Mike Testani.

    1. Excited to say that we already have over 400 signatures!

      Please continue to share this petition highlighting the importance of writing a comment of support in the “reason for signing” section of the petition.

      I am happy to see it all over social media with many people expressing outrage and absolute support for John Bagley.

      1. Just hit 500 signatures in 48 hours!

        Please keep sharing and encouraging your friends, family, Warren Harding High School alum and staff to sign onto the petition!

  2. Ernie Newton, where is the Moses of your people at on this subject. I haven’t seen a response from you on this blatant disrespect of a Bridgeport icon and Warren Harding alum? Is John Bagley not one of your people as you have known him just about his and your whole lives?

    Ya boy Mayor Ganim could take care of this in 2.2 seconds or does the Mayor not give a damn about you or the Black community at least until the next mayoral election?

    1. Don
      First of all I will sign Maria petition. I spoke to John personal and told him that the superintendent own him and apology. It is my understanding on is forthcoming.
      I’ve known Super John and his family all my life. This should have never happen that the personnel dept didn’t forward his paperwork to the state or informed him he must submit it himself. That being said i will be placing a call to the superintendent to forward an apology to Mr. Badgley. Don thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of Black People please remember i represent all people in the 139th District. I also notice you didn’t ask any of our other black elected official our two black Senators State representatives or other black councilpersons nor the NAACP nor our black Clergy. Just remember Mr. Day i don’t watch things happen i make them happen!

      1. Ernie, you and our other black elected official and our two black Senators State and State Representatives and the other black councilpersons and the NAACP and our black Clergy who all supported Joe Ganim for mayor against Marilyn Moore so there shouldn’t be any problem for you to make this happen, an apology by the school chief that he owes John Bagley and giving John his position back.

        1. Ron
          Please Stop it with who supported who you have a right to support anyone you like but others cant support whoever they choose to support. The election is OVER. Dr. King said and I quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere. Everyone should stand up against it. no matter who you support.

          1. Ernie, there are benefits that come from supporting a mayor than just mayor saying thanks. The mayor owes those who supported him and I’m sure you understand that.

        2. John Bagley has made it clear he has no interest in having the varsity coaching position back.

          He does not want to go back to Warren Harding High School because he has been repeatedly disrespected by Principal Dane Brown and Athletic Director Grasso with Acting Superintendent Mike Testani’s blessing.

          John Bagley wants a public apology where the record regarding his coaching certification and his qualifications are corrected.

          He harbors no animus towards Lamar Kennedy and wishes him well.

          Let’s respect John Bagley’s wishes.

  3. Ernie, thank you for responding so expeditiously and I’m glad that you are on top of this glaring misconduct with respect to JB. I call attention to these things to you and not others because I know that you have known John almost forever and I don’t address this with others because I know that YOU have a certain relationship with Mayor Ganim that would be conducive to getting action on this. It’s like I said in my earlier post, Mayor Ganim could fix this in 2.2 seconds if he was so inclined!

    Ernie, we have those young brother’s who are out there bringing down the community and the culture so we have an obligation to uplift those like John Bagley who serve as an inspiration for what he’s accomplished in life and in basketball and we can’t let any man, white or Black diminish those accomplishments. Thanks again Brother.

    1. Don, it’s unfortunate on how Mayor Joe Ganim plays the black community and the black voter, he thinks that he can just run to a some black churches in July and August before a primary to get our vote and then after he gets elected that he doesn’t owe those who put him back in office anything plus he has no problem with someone in his administration to disrespect a black man who loves his community and who is loved and respected my his community and by the residents of this City.

    1. Ernest,

      Thank you for your support on this disrespectful treatment of John Bagley.

      I would like you and others to know that I had a lengthy conversation with Acting Superintendent Mike Testani on Veteran’s Day.

      In an attempt to support his conduct/decision to throw John Bagley to the curb he specifically told me that he had received several emails from Harding parents complaining about John Bagley’s certification.

      I responded with “If parents sent you emails they did so because staff at Harding asked them to.”

      I told Mr. Testani I was submitting a Freedom of Information Act request for every parent complaint regarding John Bagley.

      He immediately starting muttering ” I don’t think I have them anymore. I think I deleted them.” I responded with “You deleted emails. That is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. You cannot simply delete emails as a public official.” He defended the deletions saying the servers could not hold all the emails.

      I said I have one little old server and the ONLY emails I delete are junk emails, solicitations, etc. I am an elected official which means I am required to retain ALL emails regarding the Board of Education.

      I immediately submitted the FOIA request which he did not confirm receipt of. After I called his office days later, I received the following response from his administrative assistant with Attorney Floyd Dufus copied on it:

      From: Valle, Rita
      To: Maria Pereira
      Cc: Testani, Michael ; Floyd Dugas
      Sent: Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 04:32:57 PM EST
      Subject: RE: Freedom of Information Act

      “Ms. Pereira,

      On behalf of Acting Superintendent, Michael J. Testani, please see below:

      Mr. Testani stated that he received complaints, he never said he had emails and he does not have emails. Those complaints were conveyed to Dr. Johnson and he does not know what actions she took or did not take.

      “Mr. Testani had no reason to follow-up any further. Mr. Bagley was allowed to coach without certification and the matter was closed as far as he was concerned.”

      Mr. Testani specifically told me on the phone that he believed he had “deleted the emails” from parents complaining about John Bagley. Now that I want copies of them and specifically told him that deleting emails in his capacity as a BOE employee or Acting Superintendent is a violation of the FOIA; suddenly there were NEVER any emails.

      I hope OIB readers are starting to see why I am so opposed to Mike Testani being entrusted with the educational, social and emotional outcomes of our 20,100 students and the supervision of our dedicated 2,700 employees.

  4. donj, if Councilman Newton goes to Mayor Ganim with the concerns of the Black community and those of the community as a whole this glaring injustice will be amended on the side of righteousness. Maria or this petition will have nothing to do with the right thing being done donj so don’t give this neanderthal any credit whatsoever.

    1. Don, with a doubt this issue requires direct action at the very top immediately which means going directly to Mayor Joe Ganim and not just an apology because as little kids will tell you, sorry doesn’t make it better, John needs to be given his position back. How many Bridgeport school children have played at the highest level of professional basketball in the NBA for over 10 years as John did and then came back to Bridgeport to help Bridgeport school children by getting elected to the BBOE and by doing so John Bagley is living example for school students of character of what hard work is all about. Think about this, John Bagley is not one those NBA players who is 6’10 and slim who could jump and fast, that’s not John Bagley, John played the game with head and talent which shows students that can be successful in life by being smart and hard work in whatever the choice of career they seek.

      1. Ron

        First of all the mayor is not the superintendent boss the Board Of Education is John has made it clear to me he doesn’t want to coach Harding High School”s basketball team. He would like his name cleared.His reparation means a lot to him.He deserves nothing less.

        1. Ernie, all spend of taxpayers money must be signed off by who ever the mayor is, that’s real power and a word or two into the superintendent ear can do wonders. I respect what ever decision he makes

    2. Don, I’m sure that there is a paper trail of complaints against John Bagley stating why John should not be the Harding coach. Certification question coming from a parent about John seems unbelievable, how many letters and phone calls does it take for someone losing their position and what is the past practice of an issue like this?

  5. It is totally unacceptable and socially destructive to treat a distinguished, Bridgeport native son in such a shabby way. John Bagley, having had a distinguished professional-sports career that gave him abundant options to live a great life in a friendlier, more uplifting place than our poor, dying city, decided to return to his native city and try to use his good fortune to uplift its youth and the rest of us. And, there is nothing of record to speak in any way against his character and honor, in any event, so for our municipal government, by way of its school superintendent, to treat him in such an off-handed, disrespectful manner, in an official context, speaks very badly about us as a people and city. John Bagley must receive an official apology…


Leave a Reply