Thursday, September 25, 2014

John Dewey Principal Kathleen Elvin Discontinues Iraq War Vet and Mother

 “We’re sorry you won’t have health insurance for your child and thank you for serving your country. You’re fired!” 

• Single Mother
• Iraq War Veteran
• Teaching for Only Four Months

This is who Elvin and the AP of English wanted to terminate this past June. Termination would have meant that she could no longer teach in any New York City Public School. She dared to have her own ideas. She dared to want a voice. So charges based on nothing of any real consequence were brought against her. In fact, most of us believe they were trumped up.....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No Change of Tone at John Dewey HS: Principal Kat...":
I've known about this case since the Discontinue at the end of June. Every teacher who came into contact with this woman praised her and people would have been shocked she was Discontinued and had her license lifted so she could no longer teach in the DOE - except they know the vicious retaliatory principal, Catherine Elvin, plays games with people's lives for political reasons. The story I heard was that this teacher, given some bullshit idiocy to do asked why and what was the point. Enough! You dare to ask a question? End of job. End of career.

I heard the teacher's former commanding officer spoke up for her for the appeal - which are pretty much useless with people who are associated with the principal making the decision.

My suggestion was for the teacher to show up at a PEP in full military uniform with her child and confront Farina and the panelists - along with teachers testifying in her behalf.


  1. Why in the world didn't we know about this over the summer? If this teacher and hero had reached out we could have involved ourselves on her behalf!!

  2. The actions of Principal Elvin, along with Emily Crevling, the Assistant Principal of the English Department in John Dewey High School, regarding the termination of a untenured teacher, who was teaching a mere 4 months, should be viewed as nothing less than malfeasance. The teacher was hard-working, followed school policies, and the students attended her class because she established a rapport with them. Her only misstep was voicing a difference of opinion and questioned Ms. Crevling on a particular matter. I suppose this teacher would have needed more than 4 months to realize that in John Dewey High School one never questions Kathleen Elvin or her puppet assistant principals. This teacher, had she been given the opportunity to continue to teach in John Dewey, would have quickly learned that Principal Elvin prides herself on running a tight ship. So tight, that staff is not allowed to disagree with her or else she will find a way to retaliate. So tight, that she has managed to bring to John Dewey many assistant principals that worked with her in Williamsburg Prep, who are so loyal to her that they behave just like her. So tight, that she disregards the UFT contract and probably laughs all the way home as to how she gets away with it. So tight, that she never gave a budding new teacher, a teacher who did absolutely nothing wrong to warrant such extreme action, a chance. Kathleen Elvin and Emily Crevling need to be brought to the Chancellor to explain their actions. Then, they both need to be removed from their positions.

    1. This is just the latest disgusting act of this power-mad, vengeful, menacing, and roundly-hated "Closer" Principal, who I have sent out diatribes about many times, to no avail. Elvin has not only gone after teachers who she takes a dislike to, like this one, for no explicable reason, but has decimated entire Dept's. since her arrival 3 years ago: there are at least 5 tenured teachers who are internally " rubber-roomed" through 30-20a terminations, and many others, including myself, who were forced out, through retirement as in my case, or by transferring to a less dangerous school administration. Now, I heard that she changed the locks on all the teacher' s lounges, just for sheer spite, and staff are left to eat/ get down-time in their own classrms (not very private!), or their cars!!! She has used sycophantic and spineless and heartless and careerist dept supervisors like Creveling, as well as her emasculated APO Messenger, who was an ATR up til last school year, to terrorize and destroy those on her Blacklist ( which includes other supervisors,paras, aides, as well as teachers ), and she has ruined a great school with paranoia, divisiveness, and a mania to " know everything"....a Stalinesque horror show. She must be curbed, and exposed for the true crimes she goes on committing against hardworking staff , who are virtual prisoners.

  3. The UFT has been impotent and disgracefully silent throughout Elvin's reign of terror; I was the Chapter Chair for a part of the school year in 2013, but because I was confrontational and brought grievances and didn't ever back down or bow down to her or her legions, she used a few of the asskissers who only care about their own jobs and their own safe status to engineer and lead a coup, and I was voted out and replaced by a " Compromise Solutionist", an "insider" ( and MORE member!) who thought he could assuage her and "pacify" the "accused" among us, and at the same time keep on a first name basis with "Kathleen"....but he is mistaken. She has NO loyalties, and takes no prisoners. The District Rep is a nice guy, but useless against her. I gave Mulgrew a letter through Bklyn borough rep Howie Schor detailing Elvin's abuses, and never heard a word...this on the day he visited the school, and sat through a long litany of cries for rescue from this Queen of the Damned! Elvin stays in place through the backroom agreement and howling silence of the UFT, and the CSA , which surely knows she is a cut-throat but allows her to rampage freely. Everyone should notify the media as well as the Mayor and the Chancellor..this rabid cur must be " put down" , and the Union is too " comfy" with her to lift a finger!

  4. Typical story of the other side of the coin in a high school department: Vacancy deliberately created in a subject, Regents bearing, non-shortage area. Five classes left without a teacher or any kind of instruction for first two months of school year. A few kids moved out to placate parents, most of the others do not speak enough English. A brand new hire appears part way through the school year, no experience, teacher and parent close personal friends of principal. Principal with deep pockets creates never posted per session job for teacher upon arrival. Teacher travels to conferences with principal as an authority on education and grant writing. Teacher is protected and glued to the side of the chairperson (when not in tandem with the principal), can do no wrong, cannot be criticized, exempted from tasks given to other classroom teachers, has personal access to principal that even some administrators do not have. Teachers who criticize situation are publicly attacked by teacher's parent and admonished for being unprofessional by chair. This year teacher is put in charge of curriculum in dept. and the place is exploding! This year, no one's kids are getting taught!
    They still have atrs in this subject sitting in their building. Chapter instructed not to touch it. This is going on in every school.

    How many buildings excess top teachers with great Regents records every June and roll in new hires as ATRs wander the halls? It's everywhere!

    This lady at Dewey has been more than abused. Too bad she did not understand the nepotism and cronyism rules in operation and actually believed in a quaint concept like merit. It is such a sad commentary on the planned destruction of our finest schools. But there is a message here. The schools are nothing more than patronage mills for a band of thugs with the title of principal.

    Our talented vet can do a lot better doing something else, somewhere else. The system is not worthy of her talents. The system has no future. Chances are she would be an ATR before she attains tenure, anyway.
    Move on, and don't look back!

    The kids were tossed a long time ago. All pitiable. Nothing has changed under Farkleina.

  5. Martin Haber,

    There is so much that can be said about your failed tenure as John Dewey’s UFT Chapter Chair. We did, after all, vote you out nearly unanimously. Everything you have written here is nonsense and it isn’t worth any more of my time. My real concern is how you are using this blog to serve your own needs. It was was created to discuss one thing, the vicious treatment of a wonderful young woman with the potential of becoming a great teacher.

    Moderator, would it be possible to delete Haber’s rant so that it doesn’t detract from what we are trying to achieve? If so, please delete my response as well.

    1. Moderator- Can you DELETE this moron from planet Earth while you' re at it???

  6. Martin Haber was not recalled as chapter leader as a result of a small cabal of quislings. Such is not possible. Removing a sitting cl is a difficult two-step process and can only be accomplished after 2/3 of the staff vote for removal. He was totally ineffective as a leader of the staff, incapable of organizing opposition, articulating a position, defending members at hearings, and anything else a cl is expected to do. All he knows how to do is howl, which is amusing considering his physical resemblance to Allen Ginsberg.

    So, after being tossed out in disgrace after less than a year, he takes to the airwaves to blame everyone but himself. If the 100+ comments on this topic reveal anything, it is that the staff is divided and upset and needs a steady hand to lead them. The new CL understands that he represents the whole staff, not just his own narrow interests. And i can think of no better endorsement of his leadership skills than to be called a weakling by Martin Haber.

    1. I assume this was submitted by the King of the Quislings, by the Ultimate Weakling. So I will remind your Eminence that I was voted IN unanimously, and , thanks to YOU and your spineless cabal, goaded by your beloved Principal , you spread the word that if you vote " in a bloc", while few took part in the voting at all, you would outnumber those who voted for me to continue representing the staff- including the paras, who were again ignored when YOUR choice took "the helm, filing grievances, putting the SLT right, beating Management back every time they squashed teachers' rights, which was- and surely is- nonstop. You wanted Compromise Solution, status quo' s return, and to get back to shining the bosses' shoes, and you got what you yearned for with the present Union "leadership" . Too bad the young teacher who was fired for having an opinion needed real backup- in that nest of vipers, she could only get stung.

  7. This might sound crazy, but to heck with the NYC DOE. There are other places to work. One teacher I know was drummed out of her position and now makes more money working over the border in Nassau County. I got grief from my administration, took a hiatus and now have a great job out of the city as well. Look into your heart- if you are a teacher, don't let anyone tell you that you are not. There are students all over who need a teacher who is rooting for them. Good Luck!

  8. Seems things haven't changed much, since the Reign of Terror we teachers at Lafayette High experienced under Jolanta Rohloff, except now it's at John Dewey, down the block.

    This harassing of teachers and bullying has gone on for years, or, at least, since I've been with the NYCDOE ( now going on 12 years). The union is useless when it comes to defending teachers unfairly accused of whatever, the chapter leaders seem to play the game on both sides of the fence, and even with DeBlasio as Mayor, it's still the same. Scripted lessons that must follow the style the principal wants, never anything to work with, and no matter how hard a teacher tries, it's never good enough, if you're not part of the anointed group at the time.

    You're right, Anonymous, about crossing over the border to the 'burbs. It's a world of difference. When I speak to teachers I know in Nassau County, they can't believe what goes on when I tell them about the things that go on in my inner city NYCDOE school.

    I have to wonder what planet the NYCDOE operates in, and why they do what they do to people that work for them as teachers. I have two years to go until I retire, and frankly, don't think I can make it. Good advice. Today, I think I'll spiff up my resume and start applying to Nassau County, and if I'm lucky enough to get a job in a REAL high school where I can actually teach what I'm certified in, I'll put off my retirement until I reach full retirement age.
    What IS IT with the NYCDOE that it causes such grief to people who only want to try to work with the students of their public schools?

  9. Now, the terribly sad news that Foula Karpas, beloved Foreign Language Teacher, died last night. She was a brave and tireless educator, who, unfortunately, was one of this Principal's main victims; harrassed every day to the degree that many of us at the school immediately linked the stress she suffered from her hostile work environment to her death- she was only in her early 50's. Elvin immediately went into full damage control mode, getting on the loudspeaker and acting as if she cared about Foula. Making staff write cards. But we know the truth, and I bet Foula's family knows it too. One more check on the list of those she has maligned and mentally tortured , even to death. Rest In Peace, Foula.


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