Levy wants meeting with Dist. 29 committee

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At the board's meeting last Thursday at the district offices in Rosedale, School Board President Nathaniel Washington told the group of about 10 people that the chancellor requested the names and numbers of the C-37 committee in order to arrange a meeting.

Levy also wants the committee to reconvene in order to submit another round of potential superintendent candidates.

"Why the chancellor wants to meet the with the C-37 committee, I do not know," Washington said. "I don't know whether it is normal and I have never seen it before."

The school board has already submitted the names of five potential candidates to the chancellor. He has rejected four and one withdrew his name from consideration.

The C-37 committee was put together to choose a superintendent to replace Celestine Miller, who was fired in February 1999 by then Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew for not immediately reporting that an 8-year-old boy had gone to a Rosedale school carrying a loaded gun. Miller was indicted last week in connection with a bid rigging, kickback and bribery scheme involving new computers for School District 29.

District Administrator Michael Johnson was appointed by Levy to run the district until a new superintendent could be hired. Johnson is believed to be the chancellor's choice to oversee the troubled district, which stretches from Queens Village to Rosedale and Cambria Heights to South Jamaica.

The C-37 committee consisted of one representative from each Parent Association and Parent-Teacher Association in the district, one representative and alternate from the UFT, CSA and DC 37 unions, and no more than four members from community-based organizations. Each group chose its own representatives.

"I am tried of the games and shenanigans going on. It is making this district into a circus," said Steven Jones, a member of the school board. "I am tired if this three-ring circus in the district. It has been going on for three years."

The candidates whose names have been submitted to the chancellor were: Rhia Warren, the principal of IS 226 in South Ozone Park; Debra Brathwaite, deputy superintendent of School District 17; Beatrice Collymore, deputy superintendent of the Newark Public Schools; Lester McDowell, principal of PS 40 in District 14 in Brooklyn; and Frank Spradley, deputy superintendent of District 16 in Brooklyn.

In a letter to the school board, Levy did not identify the three candidates he rejected or the one who withdrew his name from consideration for the superinten­dent's job. The chancellor's office did not respond to phone calls about the superintendent search.

Adrian Rogers, the C-37 committee co-chairwoman, said she wants to see what Levy has to say before she decides whether or not to reconvene the C-37 committee.

"Levy has not contacted me yet," Rogers said. "I think they want to convince us to take Johnson. Maybe we can convince him to take Rhia Warren."

Johnson has also received support from community members who have said he was the best man for the job.

"I am very satisfied with what Levy is doing in this district," said Sharon Creary in a telephone interview. "I am happy with Johnson he is doing a fantastic job. He has proved himself and I am a satisfied parent."

Leroy Comrie, a School Board 29 member and the former president, said he was not surprised by Levy's most recent rejection of the candidates, but he was becoming more and more frustrated as the process dragged on.

"I sat on both committees and the chancellor is telling the community you don't know what you are doing. He is telling me I don't know what I am doing," said Lowell Wayne, United Federation of Teachers District 29 representative who has 30 years of educational experience and is certified to be a superintendent, after the meeting. "He should change the process if he wants to eliminate the community."

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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