reshuffling the deck

New mayoral appointees join the Panel for Educational Policy

Three mayoral appointees of the Panel for Educational Policy said their goodbyes on Wednesday at an otherwise uneventful monthly meeting. Tino Hernandez, the panel chair, briefly thanked Jeff Kay, Eduardo Martí and Joan Correale for serving on the PEP at a meeting that lasted just an hour.

Milton Williams, Rosemarie Maldonado, and Jeanette Moy are replacing them on the panel, which is tasked with approving school closures, co-locations, contracts, and other school initiatives. Moy and Maldonado have worked in City Hall, but none of them appear to have close ties to the K through 12 education sector—save Maldonado, who sent her children to public school.

Since the PEP was established in 2002 with the advent of mayoral control, it has voted to approve every one of the city’s policies, even when borough president appointees to the panel, who are in the minority, oppose them. The mayoral appointees have faced criticism from educators and advocates for consistently favoring city plans, even though they seem to have little choice. In 2004 Bloomberg removed panel appointees who were planning to vote against a proposal requiring students to pass the state exams before being promoted.

City officials did not respond to questions about the reasons for the changes. One clue might be the results of a March meeting, during which contracts related to the City University of New York could not be voted on because too many mayoral appointees with ties to CUNY had to recuse themselves from voting. Martí and Correale both work for CUNY.

Jeanette Moy is the vice president of strategic planning for the Brooklyn Library, a position she has held since December 2011, according to her Linkedin profile, after years of working for City Hall. She has served as a deputy chief of staff to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a senior policy advisor with the city’s Office of Operations Customer Service Group. She has at least one direct connection to city schools: she’s an alumna of Stuyvesant High School. Moy declined to comment on her appointment.

Milton Williams, Jr. is a city attorney with the firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard who specializes in employment, entertainment and sports law. He has also worked for Time, Inc. and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Williams was not available to comment this afternoon. He is an appointee to the city’s Board of Correction.

Rosemarie Maldonado is the counsel to Jeremy Travis, the president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and she also serves on the Board of Correction. She worked with Bloomberg as the deputy executive director of the mayor’s Commissioner on Hispanic Concerns, and with former Mayor Edward Koch, when she was a deputy to Travis and he was an advisor to Koch.

In an announcement posted on John Jay’s website, Maldonado said she considers the appointment “a distinct honor.”

“I know as a New York City parent that some of the most difficult decisions we make are those that affect the education of our children,” she said in the statement.

Travis said she will draw on her experience at John Jay, “observing the connections between higher education and the K-12 system.”

“The Panel for Educational Policy will benefit from her wisdom, her clear thinking, and her concern for student success as well as her experiences as a parent of children who have attended the City’s public schools,” he said in the statement.

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.