Two important points came up after Mulgrew's president's report, which I would characterize as the UFT bureaucracy's enchantment with Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "Remember all those years with that moron up the street?” said Mulgrew (referring to Joel Klein and the Bloomberg years). Now with a “friend” in Tweed (“call me Carmen”), and the new contract, he said, "teachers have a voice" and the chancellor is telling the principals, "teachers aren't the enemy, they're soldiers in your army.” Well, the brass and the troops have a very different standpoint, especially when we’re facing a war on teachers and public education.... Marjorie Stamberg, reporting on the Oct. 22 UFT Delegate AssemblyAt yesterday's Delegate Assembly, Mulgrew was just dripping with love for Carmen Farina and pointed to the shakeup of Superintendents as a major step in removing the BloomKlein influence from Tweed.
I had to laugh out loud given the name of the new supt of District 12 in the Bronx - one Rafaela Espinal (Pacheco) - the Leadership Academy witch and rubber room queen who was the principal of my old school for about 5 years. Rumors were that her husband (now ex) worked for Bloomberg. And she originally came from District 15 we heard, so there is probably a long-time connection to Farina.
Espinal was known for standing at the door of a class and observing with a scowl and then slapping a post-it note on the door, always with negatives. In her years at the school there was no report of anything she said positively to a teacher.
So it was funny to hear Mulgrew declare yesterday that Farina told the Supt that teachers were not the enemy. Espinal would have to go re-education camp.
When Espinal left PS 147 to go to New Jersey and was replaced by another Lead Acad grad, who surprisingly turned out to be great, the members of the staff looked 10 years younger as they lost years of angst. This was not just the teachers. One secretary told me she was ready to retire but was rejuvenated by the new principal and remained for years.
Espinal had run a reign of terror at the school. One of my friends, a black teacher, who lost the election for chapter leader by 1 vote was targeted the next year. When a special ed child tried to run out of her room for the 3rd time that period my friend caught her and sat her in her seat, in the process a button came off her shirt and her fingernail may have grazed the girls neck - though photos taken by Espinal shortly after showed no mark.
How amazing that the principal immediately grabbed a camera to document supposed abuse - I remember all of us at the 3020 hearing looking at the photo for any sign of a scratch or even redness on the child's neck and shaking our heads.
WARNING ALERT: The teacher did not use a NYSUT lawyer but her own who was an utter incompetent. Rumors are spread about how awful NYSUT lawyers are but teachers should at the very least check out the one they are assigned before leaping to the cost of their own. NYSUT lawyers do not work for the UFT.
Espinal incited the parent to call the police and file charges and my friend was removed in handcuffs by 5 police officers, spent years in the rubber room and while not fired received a substantial fine - for sitting a child in her seat -- (a runner who could have gotten hurt or worse if she ran out of the school). All incited by the vicious Rafaela Espinal. The teacher was black and another black teacher at the school claimed Espinal was a racist. But the climate of fear created by Espinal shut everyone up -- except my friend who was the only one in the school to challenge Espinal.
I spent some time attending the 3020 hearing and heard the mother testify for hours. That whole scene could be an off-Broadway play. But from her testimony it was clear the role Espinal played.
I even called up the lead detective who made the arrest and soon realized it was bogus - "bullshit" - was the word he used. I tried to get the UFT to do something - like get him in record, etc. but their position was that the teacher is no her own. I did take her to a UFT Exec Bd meeting to speak - again, useless.
Espinal put another teacher in the rubber room for 15 months over a comment she made to one of Espinal's lackeys in a private conversation with no children present that "some children will never get it." Shortly after a kid charged that the teacher told the class that black kids can never learn. The teacher was exonerated and sent back to the school, luckily after Espinal had left. It should be pointed out that this occurred in January of the school year and the removal of an experienced top level teacher in a crucial 4th grade class led to chaos in the class for the rest of the school year and a drop in scores - which may have been a reason she left.
Espinal returned as principal of PS 125 in Harlem and we immediately began to hear of rubber room postings within her first month. She was ultimately removed as principal (for unknown reasons) but kicked up to a position of principal mentor - specializing in the use of water boarding. Then I heard that under Farina she was put in charge of some teacher evaluation unit - yes, Espinal, who evaluated teachers based on loyalty and trumped up charges.
Ed Notes on Espinal:
Mar 22, 2009Rafaela Espinal left the system to a great sigh of relief. She was replaced by another Leadership Acad Principal but this one gets high marks. Another teacher with an impeccable rep railroaded to the RR was ...
To me Rafaela Espinal is a criminal. So here is someone who could not last as a principal in at least 3 schools has been appointed as the new District 12 Superintendent.Apr 10, 2007It is no small matter that the principal, Rafaela Espinal, is a Leadership Acad Grad and has had a great number of veteran teachers leave the school in the short time she has been there, with others looking to join them.Apr 16, 2007See Rafaela Espinal, principal of PS 147, say a few words of wisdom when she is not inciting parents to call the police on teachers. One of the things not included in the interview with Kathy Blythe in The Chief was the fact that ...
Here is the list of Supes as published by Tweed:
Right- I can see Espinal slapping giant post-it notes full of negative comments on schools.There are 32 community superintendents and 10 high school superintendents, and we applied these changes to all 42. There are 15 new superintendents, of them eight were hired this school year:District 2 - Bonnie LaboyDistrict 8 – Karen AmesDistrict 11 – Maria LopezDistrict 12 – Rafaela EspinalDistrict 17 – Clarence EllisDistrict 22 – Julia BoveDistrict 26 – Danielle GiuntaDistrict 28 – Mabel Muniz-SaduyAdditionally, seven of the new superintendents were hired in the spring to fill vacancies. These new superintendents all still reapplied and underwent the new, thorough process over the summer. These are:District 6 – Manuel RamirezDistrict 9 – Leticia Rodriquez RosarioDistrict 27 – Mary BartonDistrict 31 – Anthony LodicoHigh School– Michael PrayorHigh School – Fred WalshTransfer High School – LaShawn RobinsonThese individuals were selected after a rigorous interview process and comprehensive background checks, and have all demonstrated extensive experience and a clear commitment to serving our students. There are two incumbent superintendents who did not meet the new experience qualifications (at least ten years of pedagogic experience, including at least three as a successful principal) but were grandfathered in per the regulation change – Gale Reeves (D5) and Anita Skop (D15). Today, October 21 marks the new superintendents’ first day.Here is a quote you can use from Chancellor Carmen Fariña: “To be a successful superintendent, you need extensive experience as an instructional leader and a proven record of success. I am thrilled to welcome this group of highly qualified leaders—they have the necessary experience, knowledge and understanding of what it takes to support principals, teachers and ultimately students. These decisions were about common sense. I want leaders at the helm who understand what it takes to ensure a supportive school community, and this is an exciting step forward to make sure our school system creates environments where all students and school staff will thrive. The new and existing superintendents will receive ongoing support, professional development, collaborate with each other and serve our greatest goal of directly improving classroom learning for students across the City.”