Wanted: Interim School Chief

The Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a special meeting Tuesday at 5:30 to discuss “filling interim superintendent vacancy” of Fran Rabinowitz who announced she’s leaving at the end of the year following a clash with school board member Maria Pereira. The board has assembled selectively in special meetings called by Chair Dennis Bradley who announced a boycott of meetings in an imbroglio with Pereira.

Board members Pereira, Howard Gardner, Sauda Baraka and Ben Walker have urged Bradley to end the boycott. Joe Larcheveque, Annette Negron and Rafael Fonseca, who initially announced he would attend regularly scheduled board meetings, have joined the boycott except for special meetings set by Bradley.

Some education observers believe Rabinowitz resigned to gain the attention of the state Education Department to intercede in local board matters. So far the state is taking a wait and see attitude. The board is operating with eight members following the resignation of Republican Kevin McSpirit. The board did not fill the vacancy within 30 days of the resignation so that could allow Mayor Joe Ganim to fill it. One of the leading candidates is John Weldon who has been interested in a school board seat for years.

The school board will conduct an organizational meeting of officers the first week of December.

In 2017 five school board seats are up for grabs: Baraka, Gardner, Joe Larcheveque and Negron who’s filling out the term of Dave Hennessey and Fonseca who recently filled the term of Andre Baker.

Next year is also a City Council election cycle. In 2013, all Democratic endorsed candidates for school board and City Council were defeated in primaries when Bill Finch was mayor, so next year could be a test of strength for Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa.



  1. I’m putting my money on Jim Connelly. He’ll give up his Stamford gig for the shorter commute. They will keep it all in the family; the Testa Family. And it will please all the Irish-American families in the Bridgeport School System.
    What, there are no Irish-Americans in Bridgeport schools?!!!

    1. Dr. Connelly has not been employed in Stamford for several months. It might please the BEA to have him for an interim. BTW, Connelly just completed a successful search in Torrington with a former Bridgeport African American administrator. The Troll must have had a slip and fall to come to this conclusion.

  2. The Ripper must be doing Stamford’s BOE payroll calculations in his spare time. I humbly apologize for not checking your CPS (Connelly Positioning Software) to follow his everyday movements.
    80+% of the Bridgeport Public School population is minorities. Why don’t we stop looking back and try looking forward for both an interim and permanent superintendent and hire a qualified minority candidate?
    They are out there if we look hard enough.

  3. I agree with Bob. The BPS student population is 96% minority. Less than 3% of Bridgeport’s population is Irish.

    Connelly has brunch with Testa every Saturday and is Fran Rabinowitz’ first cousin.

    Testa, Ganim, Connelly, etc. could care less about our 21,000 BPS students. They all want their hands on the $247,000,000 Operating Budget.

    It’s all about the money, and has been for over three decades.

    I urge as many of you as possible to attend this meeting at 45 Lyon Terrace in Room 305 tomorrow. There are three pending litigation matters on the agenda first, therefore we will not get to this particular agenda item before 6:30 pm.

  4. On a side note, I just want to add the support I have received from non-politicians and just average citizens has been amazing. On election day I repeatedly had BPS teachers and voters approach me at JFK and ask me if I was “Maria Pereira.” You never know what you are going to get when you confirm your identity, but everyone has been amazing. I don’t care if it is in a restaurant, the polls, the grocery store, etc.; the support from the electorate has been very positive.

    I was standing outside JFK on election day promoting our community event and I was speaking with a woman in a Dunkin Donuts uniform. She noticed the 138th TC photo and asked “are you down with Maria Pereira?” I replied with “I guess I’m down with her because I am Maria Pereira.” She started walking away from me backwards stating “Weez gonna get youse off that board, weez gonna get youse off that board.”

    What do you say to that? I simply replied “okay” and kept it moving. My guess is she was a charter school parent.

    That is the only negative comment I have received from an average citizen since Testa, Ganim, Bradley, Larcheveque, Negron and Fonseca’s boycott has been in play.

    Sometimes I wonder if Lennie is right in his analysis that all the opposition has done is expanded my recognition to the average citizens in and out of Bridgeport.

  5. You guys are Master Baiters. Connelly just placed an African American Super in Torrington. I would love to see a reflective leader/teacher/student ratio to your reasoning. I have brunch every Saturday too at Testo’s. Everybody is welcome at our table.

      1. Maria–He did the search and found the candidate, similar to a headhunter. If you want to parse words, Weeze would like to know the full story on that fence that’s been erected? You mock your constituents.

        1. I am not mocking anyone, Tom. I was simply stating a fact.

          You seem to know about the fence being erected around 45 Lyon Terrace. Why don’t you post the “full story?”

          1. Maria–You made the claim it didn’t go out to bid. Full story is it went out for selected price quotes under accepted purchasing guidelines. You knew the full story after the fact and never made amends.

          2. Tom, please don’t attempt to decide if I “knew the full story” or not. That’s my call, not yours.

            And exactly what is it you feel I need to make “amends” for?

  6. The new superintendent should have a proven (winning), inner-city school district track record (albeit from a city comparable to Bridgeport, Stamford doesn’t qualify). Gender/ethnicity/race should be secondary considerations. Bridgeport has had representation across the board in regard to race, ethnicity and gender. The only effective superintendent Bridgeport has had in the past 50 years is Geraldine Johnson. Our lily-white neighbor with the top-rated school system (Fairfield) showed colorblind pragmatism and dragged her out of retirement to fix their faltering school system after her stint in Bridgeport.

    Bridgeport needs to take a pragmatic, colorblind approach in the same spirit as Fairfield. We should look for the best, from a school system comparable to Bridgeport in terms of racial and ethnic demographics, as well as socioeconomic demographics. If, among the applicants, the “best” is a minority group member representative of Bridgeport’s demographics, all the better. But we should take a pragmatic, colorblind approach. Bridgeporters fight about so many things to no avail. We waste tremendous energy and good will fighting about things that are secondary to being fellow citizens living in a very distressed, compromised city. We need to start thinking and acting pragmatically. Too much politics in every single municipal breath we take. We are wasting too much time and energy, that we can’t afford, in this regard.

    Chances are we will get abundant applications from very qualified people of all descriptions. We need to choose the one who will get the job done most efficaciously for Bridgeport. Chances are we will find a minority best suits our present needs. But perhaps it will be a non-minority person.

    God willing, a Geraldine Johnson will apply and make life easier for everyone, but if that doesn’t happen, race/ethnicity should only be a secondary consideration in the hiring process. Bridgeport needs to fully enter the 21st Century; and we should really try to do it with a minimum of 20th Century-style strife.

      1. Weezus Christ, Bob! I’ll lay you 10-1 he wouldn’t take it. Nice fundraiser in Branford last night. Not a peep from your progressive peeps on the Mockingbird?


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