SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: The Same Principal in Brooklyn Targets Another

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Same Principal in Brooklyn Targets Another

When I was in elementary school our principal Mr Murray explained to us that since principal ends in
"PAL," that means the principal is always your "pal."

Try telling that to Jeff Storobinksy and his colleague Sandra Amede.

Sandra is at the same middle school in Brooklyn from which Jeff retired from. Sandra decided to share with The Crack Team her plight at the hands of THAT principal.

Again, not only was The Crack Team appalled and in tears after reading of the abuse Sandra had to endure, but several members were seen in the corner wretching up their lunch and and one member had the same reaction that Mr Spock had when he accidentally gazed upon the Medusan ambassador, Kollos.  We can only hope and pray that Dr Miranda Jones is available to heal him.

FYI, what is in bold, is emphasized by Sandra.

My interim acting Principal without principles believes that it is ok for an assistant principal, (interim acting), to conduct an observation from her office window on the second floor, and rate the teacher ineffective. He goes after you because he doesn’t understand that there is a difference between professionalism and personality.  My principal did not like the idea that I kept the UFT up to date with regard to the new agreement, and his blatant disregard for the new contract, where the Chancellor makes provision for professional development, parent engagement, and other professional work. He came up with a schedule that was totally opposed to what Chancellor Farina proposed. The Chancellor was addressing the fact that parents were marginalized for the last 12 years, and proposed a time for parents to meet with teachers at the end of the day on Tuesdays, and professional development at the end of the day on Mondays when all teachers can meet. My interim acting principal proposed for parent engagement between 12:22pm and 1:22 pm. What about the parents who have to go to work? 

 In the context of professional development, his exact words were, “Why would you want to be ordered to go to library after teaching periods 6, 7 and 8, to sit for 100 minutes of PD? How feasible would that work?” This is a direct attack on the Chancellor, and her vision for teacher improvement and professional growth.

He tried intimidation, bullying, and threats. He tried to hijack the School Based Option (SBO) process -A collaborative process where a principal asks for a modification to the contract, and members collaborate and vote to decide. He started creating division among the staff, using promises, intimidation, and threats where necessary.

 For example he would say, “No one wants to be an ATR. Who would hire you making $85000, to $100,000, when they could hire two new teachers?”

He even succeeded in winning over the UFT delegate, who he releases to attend chapter meetings, and who reports to him on return, instead of reporting to the members. As a matter of fact, on the last day of school she approached members with a petition to have the Chapter Leader removed so she can become the chapter leader. Members were outraged.

In my case, I am pro union. I understand that workers’ rights are incredibly important for any organization to be successful in the long term. I also recognize these rights exist at a high cost. People sacrificed their lives so we could have rights as workers. Understanding this aspect of me, the principal through illegal means invaded my privacy, by illegally getting into my personal email account (claims “an anonymous staff member”). He obtained all the emails I sent to the UFT, and the Deputy Chancellor regarding his bullying efforts, and unscrupulous activities. He used this illegally obtained material to place a letter in my file, threatening disciplinary action and termination. Is this really ok?

All the emails attached to the letter to file were asking for clarification, and advice regarding my duty, since they directly affected my teaching, making arrangements to better my teaching practice, or violating my rights as a worker.  He conveniently omitted the emails sent to the deputy chancellor, regarding how he felt about her idea of PD for staff, time for other professional work, and time at the end of the day for parent engagement.

 At the January ELA departmental conference, I asked him to purchase basic materials for instruction for my level 1 students, because without the books everything becomes abstract to them. He was rude to me in the presence of my colleagues. Two days later he apologized to me, by myself which does not count, since none of the staff members in front of whom he was rude to me, were present.  He considered my actions -asking for basic materials for instruction- a personal attack on him, clashing or bumping heads.

At my summative conference he said, “You are an excellent teacher. You fight for your kids. You don’t put your students out. You work with all your students including the ELL'S, and you do an excellent job. You weren’t teaching gifted and talented, and 95% of your students were successful on the state test. Your overall rating is effective. I have no problem with you professionally, but on a personal level, we have problems… We clash, we bump heads. I don’t know where we got off-track. In the light of this new information (the emails he illegally obtained from my personal email account).  Next year I think we gonna bump heads… People come to me and say, Ms. Amede’ this, or Ms. Amede that... That’s what I think. What do you think?”

I had no idea what he is talking about. I simply said, “I haven’t thought about it.”

My name is Sandra Amede` and I approve this message.

Wow! Seems like Jeff and Sandra worked for Frank Burns, or worse.

Sadly this is the norm, not the exception. There are way too many horror stories out there like this. 

Wait! This just into the SBSB newsroom! The Crack Team has obtained video of the principal addressing the teachers during a faculty conference. 


Anonymous said...

Just a few pieces of advice from a veteran. E-mail the union from your personal account. Forward documents you wish to attach to your personal account. Administrators do not necessarily view requests for materials as justified. I spent weeks requesting Math books for the few students who did not have them. They were never provided. Administrators consider any effort they might have to expend for you as an imposition. It would be another story if you were a pet however. I am in way more hot water than you are.

Anonymous said...

Administrators get very nervous when UFT members write them strong responses and copy them to the CSA.

Here is the CSA's website:

The CSA President is Ernest Logan.

Have fun exploring the site!