Any time a New York City teacher who has been working a few years hears or reads of some outrageous behavior by a principal, ten to one a single question wells up within his or her head: Is this person a product of the Leadership Academy?
There is excellent reason for this. They almost always are. I know. I had my own Leadership Academy monster to deal with. Mine thought it was a good idea to have the cops come into the school and arrest the PTA president and secretary in the middle of the school day for stealing funds that were never stolen. Drag out two innocent parents in handcuffs while their kids are in class? No problem. And somehow no charges are filed against the principal. She wound up U rating a fourth of the teaching staff, and causing untold and unjust damage to the lives of three fine untenured teachers by discontinuing them, before finally being removed and warehoused in school after school on what can be called the Leadership Academy dole. And who can forget the notorious Iris
Bilge, among many others in the Leadership Academy Hall of Shame. And the list goes on and one.
Yes, Leadership Academy grads have been degrading education, debasing the lives of students and teachers and finding creative ways to disgrace themselves for years now, and Principal Jazmine Santiago, who according to The New York Post “used school funds to install her own private gym with a bench press, pull-up bar, treadmill, elliptical machine and thigh exerciser on the third floor of PS 269 in Flatbush,” is no exception.
Kids have no pencils or paper ? A pity. But check out these abs!
Still, because The Post is The Post I wanted to reserve judgment on the woman until I heard confirmation from a credible source – which is to say, something other than The Post.
Sure and soon enough, I did. An old friend who has the misfortune of working for Santiago confirmed the account. I asked her if Santiago was Leadership Academy.
“Of course,” said she.
Tycoon-turned-mayor Mike Bloomberg and federal prosecutor-turned-chancellor of-education-turned education entrepreneur Joel Klein both thought the Leadership Academy was a swell idea. Why wouldn’t they? Neither had any idea what constitutes education nor any interest in finding out. Both of them thought that teaching was as easy as running a business. Take anyone, they reasoned, sausage them through nine months of ideological, union busting, “leadership building “ boot camp and presto! An instant principal!
New York City schools are still filled with these people, meaning in a very real sense that Bloomberg is still present, still poisoning, still here. I suspect we will be hearing stories of Leadership Academy principals degrading the sacred trust that is public education for years to come.
Addendum: Yesterday was a big news day for NYC principals. Could not find out for sure if Principal Annie Schmutz Seifullah was Leadership Academy as well, but I’d happily lay odds that she is. Note well that both of these persons were elevated to these positions during the ( endless ) reign of “reformer” M. Bloomberg. Note too that Seifullah is one of the very few principals that are actually fired, rather than hidden somewhere continuing to collect their substantial salaries. Message: Ruining schools and the lives of students and teachers is acceptable, but sex…