As New Rochelle Board of Education Members Face Possible Fines and Misdemeanors; Schools Superintendent Forced to Reverse Course on Trinity Teacher

Written By: Robert Cox

After a tumultuous Special PTA meeting on Thursday night at the Trinity Elementary School, and in the face of a hostile reaction to the arrogant demeanor of Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak, members of the school board prevailed upon Organisciak to reverse his decision to remove a popular young teacher from her classroom in order to make way for the recently resigned Assistant Principal.

Nadine Pacheco resigned as Assistant Principal at Trinity last month because she did not have the required administrative license to hold the position at any point during her employment as an administrator in New Rochelle going back to 2007. Pacheco previously held a temporary license which expired in 2005.

The district has been, so far, unable to explain how they hired a person without an administrative license for an administrative position requiring such a license.

Under New York State law, school board members may face misdemeanor charges and fines going back as far as 2004 for hiring and employing as school administrators without state certification.

Nicole Mussolini, a new teacher who had previously worked as a substitute teacher, was scheduled to be promoted in a board resolution that was tabled at the school board meeting on Tuesday. At the Trinity PTA meeting, when asked whether Mussolini would have her pay cut as a result of the change, Richard Organisciak was evasive and would not directly answer the question. He stated that she was being paid $100 per day and that would continue to be her pay. When parents pressed harder, he stated that the $100 per diem was for 80 days and that after 80 days her pay would have increased but now it would not.

Organisciak failed to mention, Resolution 12-153-14, which was tabled on Tuesday, appoints both Pacheco and Mussolini as interim teachers at Trinity. Had the resolution adopted, Mussolini’s pay would have gone from roughly $18,000 a year to $60,366 a difference of $42,366 or more than triple her current pay as a per-diem teacher.

Organisciak refused repeated requests by Trinity parents and New Rochelle residents to explain how Pacheco was hired in the first place.

“I’m not hear to talk about the past”, said Organisciak. “I am hear to talk about moving forward.”

Organisciak has good reason not to want to answer questions about the hiring of Pacheco as well as another administrator without the required license.

The employment by the New Rochelle Board of Education of Nadine Pacheco as Assistant Principal at Trinity Elementary School and Patricia Lambert at Barnard Elementary School appears to violate state law and may subject school board members personally to misdemeanor charges and fines. Neither Pacheco or Lambert appear to have had the required administrative licenses to work as an administrator in New York state public schools.

The law in question is Education Law §3009 which makes it illegal to hire individuals not appropriately certified or licensed. The law states “No part of the school moneys apportioned to a district shall be applied to the payment of the salary of an unqualified teacher”. A teacher or administrator is considered qualified if they are appropriately certified in accordance with Part 80 of the Commissioner’s regulations.

New York Education Article 61 § 3009 (1): Unqualified Teachers Shall Not Be Paid From School Moneys

No part of the school moneys apportioned to a district shall be applied to the payment of the salary of an unqualified teacher, nor shall his salary, or any part thereof, be collected by a district tax except as provided in this chapter.

N.Y. EDN. LAW § 3010 NY Code Section 3010: Penalty for payment of unqualified teacher.

Any trustee or member of a board of education who applies, or directs, or consents to the application of, any district money to the payment of an unqualified teacher’s salary, thereby commits a misdemeanor; and any fine imposed upon him therefor shall be for the benefit of the common schools of the district.

The entire matter is complex and multi-layered. There are a number of parents, leaders within the Trinity community, who dislike the school principal Rolando Briceño and would like to see him denied tenure. There are administrators who, as a general rule, do not like to see their hiring decisions questioned. There is the administrators union led locally by Webster Principal Joe Williams and statewide by former Albert Leonard Middle School Principal Bill Evans which always wants to defend one of its members. There is the school board which presents itself publicly as a monolith but is, in fact, divided on Organisciak generally and the way he had handled the Pacheco situation. Several board members, after the meeting, made it clear they were unhappy with the Superintendent’s performance which only served to further exacerbate an already thorny problem at the school where trust in the administration is very low.

15 thoughts on “As New Rochelle Board of Education Members Face Possible Fines and Misdemeanors; Schools Superintendent Forced to Reverse Course on Trinity Teacher”

    Briceno has his head up his rear end… HE is indecisive and needed Pacheco to hold down the fort…. He does not belong in the PrinciPAL position…He avoids parents, screams at children and does not try to better the school….Why cant anyone get it right… Why is it ok to hire unqualified staff or as some would say…rapists, morons, rude staff…. The superintendant is rude and doesnt give a dam…He was rude and insensitive when Martinez questions came about, has no answers about Pacheco and wont ever do the right thing!!, People wonder why the South End schools have a bad rap….. Get the crap out of there… about rotating the principals…Get Joe Williams or the principal at Ward to man our schools like Jefferson or Trinity..Lets see how fast things change!!!!!!!. PTA’s are frustrated…Parents are pulling kids from public school….now kids are going to be dodging cars on Pelham Rd because there arent going to be any Crossing guards… Watch out….the worst is yet to come…. We the parents must unite and end this BS!!!

  2. LIARS
    Plain and Simple they should ALL BE FIRED.and shame on all of them .and lets give the person who sent the e-mails letting us know about this .

  3. MOMO
    Mr. Cox is dead right on this issue. I can’t believe I am even wasting my time responding to such a moronic comment as that of momo’s. The First Admendment to the Constitution is often referred to as the unofficial forth branch of government because when citizens like Mr. Cox exercise it, especially as vigoriously as he does, it exposes corruption, mis-management, waste, poor judgment, and all the things people in power do that should not be done. Being a member of society in the U.S. is ADVANCED CITIZENSHIP. What you are advocating is the opposite. So crawl back under from whatever rock you emerged from and pretend all is well and leave everything to the bonevolent leaders you put all your unfettered faith in. How pathetic.

    P.S. I am a poor speller. I hope that doesn’t distract your small mind form my point.

  4. who writes these articles?
    With all your criticism of the New Rochelle School District, you don’t even know how to use first grade grammar! ” I am not HEAR”?? You HEAR with your EAR. When you are indicating a location, you are HERE or THERE. Sure makes you lose credibility in my eyes. You are quick to publish negative comments about teachers, administrators, nurses, and principals but do you really have a CLUE as to what goes on day to day in our schools? How hard the staff works to care for children, educate them, keep them safe and send them out into the world as productive, functioning adults? I think not. Stop throwing stones at people you know nothing about and put your energy to more creative use. I have never seen or read one positive or complimentary statement in your blog. If you don’t like our schools, or the politics, or the leaders, or the taxes, I have one word for you Mr. Cox: LEAVE.

    1. Nothing in your comment offers an explanation…
      Nothing in your comment offers an explanation that refutes the facts presented.

      Do you dispute the fact that uncertified individuals were hired to supervise a school building?
      Do you dispute the fact that doing so is against the law?
      Do you dispute the fact that it was illegal to use public monies to pay uncertified individuals?
      Do you dispute the fact that the law was broken?

      Grammar is not the issue. You use it as a distractor. The law was broken, people’s lives are being affected, there is a lack of transparency and nobody is being held accountable. If you have evidence of anything other that poor grammar, please share it.

    2. Barnard is safe?
      hey momo was barnard school safe last year when they had a stranger walking about the building and classrooms for over 2 hours? did your wonderfull staff do such a great job then at keeping the children safe? dont go there momo because they never even went into lock down. principals you say? oh yes we have 2 in the district that dont have certification. nurses? oh yes we have 1 at columbus that didnt give a child meds my question to you momo is do you have @ clue?

    3. Usual “cheerleader” nonsense
      I have RARELY written an article criticizing teachers and their support staff in the schools and you must not read the site often if you have “never seen or read one positive or complimentary statement in your blog”. The vast majority of my criticism has been directed at the administration and the members of the Board of Education.

      As far as your idea that if “you don’t like our schools, or the politics, or the leaders, or the taxes” I or anyone else should leave New Rochelle, you have summed up the mentality of the “New Rochelle Family”. You have confused loyalty with a culture of cover up. You are the sort of person who rather have a man like Jose Martinez raping children in some other school district so long as he left quietly and did not draw negative attention to the New Rochelle school district. You are the sort of person that would prefer building inspectors to continue shaking down residents rather than have people learn that a criminal referral has been made to the DA’s office. You would rather have DPW managers lining their pockets at tax payer expense than have a fraud indictment handed down by a grand jury. You are the sort of person who prefer that the public not know about the stabbings and shootings in the area around the train station.

      Rather than me leave, I suggest you climb back into your little hole and pretend that New Rochelle is a crime-free, corruption-free nirvana. For those that actually go out and about in this community, we still want to know what is really going on in New Rochelle and not digest the pablum served up by our city and school district leadership.

      Be Happy! Enjoy your fantasy of a New Rochelle where all the men are strong, all the women are beautiful and all the children are above average. And by all means do not read a site like Talk of the Sound. Enjoy life in your little fantasy bubble. Have a nice day.

    4. Momof3
      It is the administration of the NRSD, that club where they cover each other’s backs while lining their pockets with taxpayer money while lying to the public that really galls me about this city. The flip side of that coin is the stupitity of the public that the administration relies on to get away with what they want to get away with. That’s wher people like Momof 3 come in. A misguided intellectually weak person who confuses the ligitimate criticism of the administration with an attack on the so many good hard working teachers and staff of our schools. Since Mr. Cox’s wife is a teacher in the district I guess Momof3 thinks he is attacking his own wife to. I’d sleep with one eye open Mr. Cox if I were you. Hell hath no fury like a woman who is being attacked by her own husband publically on the internet. Isn’t Momof 3 an idoit?
      The stupidity of her position so so unbelievabe I’d almost say she is planting mis-information…..except it is so ridiculous I can’t even believe that. Must be a dumb housewife with nothing better to do then have kids.

  5. Just The Tip Of The Iceberg
    Pacheco and Lambert are just the tip of the iceberg. What about all the personnel decisions that are being made that, while technically legal, are educationally and fiscally unsound?????? These moves fly under the radar. Why do you think graduation rates at New Rochelle High School keep dropping like a rock? Conetta, the “don” of the high school, between sips of his cocktails and his phalandering, makes personnel moves that absolutely defy logic. And who gets hurt? The children of course!!!! And the ruined careers of personnel placed in positions completely unsuitable to their qualifications as compared to their previous positions. Thank God this is Conetta’s last year before retirement! NRHS still has a chance of being saved!

  6. Organisciak it’s time to go!!
    Since this story about Mrs.Pacheco and Ms. lambert has come out, it is clear that the accountabilty of the of the BOE needs to be held responsible. With that in mind lets start from the top. Wake up and get the petitions going to oust Mr. Organisciak and his $275,000 plus benefits, car, gasoline etc., and lets start fresh and cheaper, I think that salary is way out of line. Correct me if I am wrong but I don’t think he even lives in NR, which should be a requirement for the position.
    I would also like to know if Pacheco and Lambert are responsilble to return any portion of their salary earned at the wrong payscale for not having the proper licenses all these years?? Just curious.

  7. Hiring, Firing, and Promotion Decisions
    The Hiring, Firing, Promotion and Personnel Decisions the NRSD makes has no rhyme or reason. On thing for sure. They are never made in the best interests of the students. In times of bugetary constraints why is it that the most senior technology related teachers who are closest to and have the most direct positive effect on the greatest number of staff and students are the first to go? Why is it that those who are least experienced and least competent and serve far less less students and staff in much smaller schools are retained? Favortism? Nepotism? Age Discrimination? Incompetence? Ignorance? Other forms of discrimination? Politics? Kickbacks? Pay to play? Personal vendetta’s? Some of these reasons must have played a role in the hiring of these two administrators.Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain…..these decesions are NOT being made in the best interests of the children. More to come when I have time to write!

  8. A Good Day When Organisciak is Exposed
    A rare win for the taxpayer, the really concerned parent, and the children.

    I hope that the unsung villian of this piece, Korostoff, who is the “mentor in chief” for the Elementary schools, is directed to “do no harm” in terms of stripping the classroom of any resource for the salary they will have to pay Pacheco. Let him eat the salary line through reductions in non-classroom salary, senior salary cuts, or operating base reductions. Whoever is in charge of human resources will have to track this properly; she either is or is not going to work towards satisfying the criteria for an administration position. Until that occurs, she should be earmarked as a replacement classroom teacher in 2011 or 2012 based on firings, retirements, illness or resignations; not like they tried to muscle out Ms. Mussolini

    It was a pleasant surprise to learn that Ines Bolufer-Laurente is the head of the Trinity PTA. She is a bright, attractive, committed young women who did outstanding volunteer work for the Adult Center teaching adult non-English speaking residents how to speak basic ESL. She was well rspected by the good Sisters running the place and I think will demonstrate more of a communitybased commitment after this transaction.

    A reminder to all — if you know the District assignment for each New Roc public school, please let me know. I am going to keep on all council members to both respresent their district and look into the idea of bringing home the district to city management.

    1. Ines is amazing……She is a
      Ines is amazing……She is a real gogetter…..She has a voice and is 100% for the kids of Trinity

  9. Am I understanding this correctly?
    An administrator was hired who was not qualified to occupy said position in 2004, and continued to be employed in said capacity until she was forced to resign, due to her lack of qualifications being exposed. This is wrong, yet clear.

    Now, a per Diem substitute teacher WAS planned on being promoted from sub to Assistant Principal? Yeah if this is so wouldn’t that be insult to injury? Unless she of course was qualified and after a search was concluded the school felt that Mussolini would be the best remedy to dictate this situation.

    1. Not exactly
      “An administrator was hired who was not qualified to occupy said position in 2004”

      No. There were TWO administrators hired who did not have an administrative license. Lambert at Barnard in 2004 and Pacheco at Trinity in 2007.

      Continued to be employed in said capacity until she was forced to resign, due to her lack of qualifications being exposed.

      Both were illegally employed up until this year. Lambert applied for a special sort of temporary license for out-of-state principals who move to NY. Why this was done is not clear since Lambert has been teaching in NY for 26 years in NYC and the last 7 in New Rochelle. She MAY have worked in CT for a couple of years but she never got a NY license. As a guess, she was advised by Jeffrey Kehl to try to sneak through an out-of-state license transfer before anyone noticed she did not have the property license.

      A per Diem substitute teacher WAS planned on being promoted from sub to Assistant Principal?

      No. A per diem teacher was to be promoted to an interim teacher (tenure track) and an Assistant Principal was to resign and then also be appointed as an interim teacher. This was in a resolution that was tabled last Tuesday. It was then revealed that the plan was to deny the per diem teacher appointment as interim teacher and remove her from her classroom and put the former Assistant Principal into the per diem teacher’s classroom.

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