New Rochelle School District Address Barnard Principal License Issue with Some Convenient Backdating

Written By: Robert Cox

Lambert Licenses 455Reza Kolahifar, the Assistant to the Superintendent for Human Resources, acknowledged today that at the time of her hire in 2004 during the time of her employment from 2007 until 2011 there was no valid administrative license on file with the New York State Education Department for Patricia Lambert, the Barnard Elementary School principal. The report came in the wake over the outcry over the news that Trinity Elementary School Principal Nadine Pacheco was forced to resign last month after it came to light that she has never had a valid administrative license since first being hired by the New Rochelle Board of Education in 2007. Talk of the Sound has been the first to report the various licensing issues of school administrators in New Rochelle.

Background checks for school administrators became a major issue in New Rochelle after the arrest of administrator Jose Martinez for child rape in his office at the Isaac E. Young Middle School.

Kolahifar published a letter today, addressed to the Barnard School Community, to address concerns about Lambert (emphasis added).

To the Barnard School Community:

Recently, there have been some questions raised publicly regarding Ms. Patricia Lambert’s administrative certification. We want to address this directly with the Barnard community. Our Superintendent of Schools, Richard Organisciak, has instructed the Human Resources Office to review the professional certification issued by the NYS Department of Education for every administrator in our district. I would like to assure everyone that Ms. Lambert has completed all the requirements to receive her permanent administrative certification and, therefore, is fully licensed to function in her position as Principal of the Barnard Elementary School. With the assistance of officials in the Professional Licensing Office at the State Education Department, the information available to the public about Ms. Lambert certification has been updated to reflect that her permanent School Administrator and Supervisor Certificate was issued effective September 1, 2007. This information can be viewed at the www.NYSED.gov Office of Teaching Initiatives website under the section Search for Certificate Holder. Ms. Lambert’s professional licenses were issued under the name of Patricia Lambert- Concepcion.

Sincerely,

Mr. Reza Kolahifar
Asst. to the Supt. for Human Resources
City School District of New Rochelle
515 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10801
(914) 576-4213

Noticeably absent from the statement is any direct response to the specific concerns raised about Lambert, namely, that like Nadine Pacheco, the district did not have on file a valid administrative license for Lambert after the time of her hire in 2004 and continued to pay her as an administrator despite never obtaining a copy of her license. From records made public today, it appears that Lambert failed to obtain her permanent administrative license in 2007.

Kolahifar fails to address the direct question put to the district last week by Talk of the Sound — whether Lambert had a valid license at the time she was hired, maintained one throughout her employment and has a valid license today. Instead Kolahifar inverts his words to say “Ms. Lambert has completed all the requirements to receive her permanent administrative certification and, therefore, is fully licensed to function in her position as Principal of the Barnard Elementary School.”

Therefore?

She either had a license when she was hired or she did not. She either maintained a license or did not. That the district has gone about trying to clean up the mess after the fact has no bearing on the fundamental question — did the district have a valid license for Lambert on file when they hired her and in the years that followed?

Kolahifar continues “With the assistance of officials in the Professional Licensing Office at the State Education Department, the information available to the public about Ms. Lambert certification has been updated to reflect that her permanent School Administrator and Supervisor Certificate was issued effective September 1, 2007.”

What does “the information available to the public” mean? Did she have a license or not? Did the district work with their friends in SED to backdate records? Or, did the district always have a license on file for Lambert and there was some glitch from the web site? These are two very different things.

From the records made public today, it appears that Lambert may have had a temporary license when she was first hired but failed to obtain a permanent license when her temporary license expired.

Last week, Talk of the Sound accurately reported that there was no record in the NYSED web site that no “Patricia Lambert” ever had a New York State administrative license prior to the week before the current school year began. A search of New York State Education records show just one administrative license issued to a “Patricia Lambert”. There is a Patricia A Lambert who was issued a temporary two-year “School Building Leader Conditional Initial” license on September 1, 2011.

Lambert was hired as the Principal of the Barnard Elementary School in 2004 without a New York State administrative license, currently referred to as a “School Building Leader” certificate.

Kolahifar notes that Lambert’s professional licenses were issued under the name of Patricia Lambert-Concepcion. This statement serves no purpose other than to attempt to sow confusion and make it appear that this all just confusion about the correct spelling of her name. Talk of the Sound was already aware that Lambert also used the name “Lambert-Concepcion” and searched “Patricia Lambert”, “Patricia Concepcion and “Patricia Lambert-Concepcion” and Patricia Lambert Concepcion. There were no listings for anyone using any variation of the name Concepcion. The only listing for anyone with an administrative license in New York State with any variation of the name “Patricia” and “Lambert” was Patricia A Lambert.

You can search for yourself on the NYSED web site.

The SED web site now presents information showing a series of administrative licenses for Patricia Lambert covering the period of her employment in New Rochelle. None of which explains why there was no such information until today or how Lambert was hired when up until yesterday the SED had no record of her having administrative licenses.

Talk of the Sound has learned of a third, and possibly district fourth, district employee paid for an administrative position without an administrative license. More on that in the coming days. In the meantime, a complaint has been filed with the Westchester County District Attorney (by me), for what appear to be years of violating Article 61 § 3009 of the New York State Education Law. As noted previously on Talk of the Sound:

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 district is clearly guilty of violating Article 61 § 3009 between 2007 to 2011 in the case of Nadine Pacheco. It appears that they were also guilty of violating Article 61 § 3009 in the case of Patricia Lambert from 2007 to 2011. Lambert was required to initiate obtaining her permanent license, something she appears to have failed to do. The district is supposed to get a report from the SED listing any employees who do not have the proper licenses for their job. The position of the district is that New York State only checks teachers, not administrators, and so they never got any reports indicating problems with Pacheco or Lambert.

17 thoughts on “New Rochelle School District Address Barnard Principal License Issue with Some Convenient Backdating”

  1. What really matters
    I’m a Barnard parent, and am very impressed by Principal Lambert’s passion and expertise in leading the school. As a parent I’ve been a part of 3 new rochelle schools, and she stands out in her ability to effectively communicate the school’s values to the organization. In my opinion this article is an attempt to discredit someone who is doing a superb job for our children.

    1. Lambert did not have a license, failed to call cops for 3 hours
      Ranaray,

      The facts are what they are and that Lambert did not have a license, failed to call police when she knew there was an intruder in the building or told parents the school had been put on lockdown when it had not is not mutually exclusive of her being passionate or knowledgeable or a good communicator.

      Here are the facts:

      Lambert was paid from 2007 to 2011 as an administrator when she did not have the required administrative license. That is a violation of state law.

      Lambert refused to call police for three hours when there was an intruder in Barnard and lied to parents, telling them, that the school had been put on lockdown when it was not. State law requires every school to have a “lockdown/lockout” procedure on file with the state and to follow it when there is an event such as an intruder in the building.

      Seems to me the question you should be asking is why did the administration not know that Lambert did not have a valid license from 2007 to 2011, why didn’t she call police when there was an intruder in the building for hours, and why did she lied to parents by telling them the school was put on lockdown when it was not.

      My two youngest children attended Barnard when Lambert was principal and I have never had a problem with her at all and I have not written any articles saying that she was not a good communicator or not doing a good job. But that you like her or find she effectively communicates the school’s values does not permit her to break the law or put children and staff at risk by allowing an intruder to roam the building for hours during the middle of the school day. Or does it, in your mind?

      Can you clarify that?

      Do you think it is OK for people without the proper state licenses to work in our schools?

      Do you think it is OK that Lambert refused to call police for hours after being told there was an intruder in the building?

      Do you think it is OK for Lambert to lie to parents about a lockdown that did not occur?

      If you were a Barnard parent last year you might recall that Lambert claimed the “intruder” never entered the building but was observed outside near Amy’s Greenhouse. This is a flat out lie. The intruder was in the building for several hour and had encounters with several staff members. The final encounter was the man discovered hiding in a closet in one of the classrooms. Even after that occurred, Lambert still refused to call police.

      Eventually her own staff prevailed upon her to call the police between 1:30 PM and 2:00 PM when the initial encounter with the man occurred around 11 AM.

      If you want to defend Lambert you ought to be willing to address these issues.

    2. It Really Matters
      As a taxpayer, all administrators should have the proper licenses. Don’t we want the best people to be with our children. Aren’t we sending the wrong message to the hardworking teachers and administrators who are aware of the proper paperwork that is needed. Are we allowing someone to be dishonest? I would think in order to teach our children about honestly and ethics we have to hold ourselves as examples. Parents and taxpayers should expect this, no demand this.

      1. Of course, but…
        My primary concern about the Lambert and Pacheco cases are that they both began in 2007. This is the same year that former Board of Education member Martin Sanchez has stated that background checks for new hires that summer did not come back before the start of the 2007-08 school year and that he does not recall ever being told that they had come back.

        So, what is so important about 2007? That was the year Jose Martinez was hired.

        Further, in 2011, after Martinez was arrested, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak repeatedly assured parents about the rigorous background checks that New Rochelle did on its administrators. We know that that was a pack of lies, that at the very time there were two other administrators that did not have licenses, one of whom, did not have a license when she was hired and never had one during the entire time she was employed by the district. Despite lying on her job application, she continues to be employed by the district.

        In short, this is not about Lambert or Pacheco. It is about the failure of the district do background checks on employees and that one of those employees subsequently admitted to repeatedly raping a child in one of our schools. It is also about the failure to report multiple complaints about Martinez, based on reasonable concerns that he may have been sexually abusing children, to outside agencies like police or child protective services.

        As we know now, those complaints were entirely justified and correct. Who got those complaints and failed to make the reports to child protective services as required under the mandated reporter law is the real issue.

        Can we please put down the pom-poms long enough to recognize that there are extremely serious failures to follow the law and protect children involved her and that the priority is to make sure this does not continue. A rather obvious starting point is to ask who knew what and when, who failed to make required reports to outside agencies and how can they possibly remain in charge of children when they failed to protect the victim or victims of Jose Martinez.

    3. Get off Lambert’s case
      Get off Lambert’s case already why don’t you!! Everyone keeps talking about last year when an intruder walked into the school, luckily nothing happened. Everyone is on her case for not calling the police fast enough, but where was the security guard? Where was Bruce, the head of security and all of his security experts, they didn’t show up either. Ms. Lambert did call the NRPD, so she did do something. Ms. Lambert is a very nice lady and yes she did have her certification, the reason it didn’t show up is because there was probably a computer glitch, these things do happen you know. I should know I am a school secretary and I put in long hours day after day.

      1. Are you for real?
        Are you for real??????? A “computer glitch”?????? Sounds more like a coverup to protect another $100,000 plus employee to me. If any TOTS reader believes this was a computer glitch please consider purchasing my time share in the Floria swampland, I’ll sacrifice it cheap! I do agree that Bruce & security is another story. Bruce has protected his click for years and if you don’t kiss Procopio’s ring you will never become a NR School District security guard. Once you pass the initiation all you need do is continue to kiss ass and you’ll have it made in the shade whether from a phony 211 waiver or illegal residency it doesn’t matter, Bruce has you covered!

      2. Who is the Building Leader?
        Sherry,

        Patricia Lambert is the School Building Leader, legally and morally she is responsible for what occurs in her building. Is there some question about that?

        Lambert called the police HOURS after the intruder was first encountered in the building. Her responsibility was to call the police immediately. Are you seriously attempting to argue that there is no difference between calling the police immediately and waiting for hours, after multiple encounters with the intruder? This is so ridiculous that it does not bear further comment.

        It is simply false to state that Lambert had her license from 2007 to 2011. Her temporary license expired in 2007. For reasons so far not explained, Lambert failed to apply for a permanent license. There is no question that she would have been eligible for her permanent license and would have received it had she applied. The fact is, however, that she did not apply.

        I have a license to drive. It expires in 2012. I am eligible to renew it. However, if it do not go to DMV and apply to renew my license and then get pulled over I will be cited by police for driving without a license. Is that so hard to understand? She either had a license or she did not. She did not.

        The supposed computer glitch you refer to is a claim made by the same administration that allowed Pacheco and Lambert to work illegally as administrators for 4 years. The district has provided no evidence that this is the case; it is a claim they have made with no proof whatsoever. Given the track records with Lambert and Pacheco I see no reason to give them the benefit of the doubt on this point.

        However, even if it were true, the computer glitch they have claimed has nothing to do with WHETHER she had her license from 2007 to 2011 (she did not) but whether ANY of her licenses were being displayed on the State Education web site. The district is claiming two contradictory things — that her name and associated licenses were not appearing on the SED web site and that they were on there but that she was listed under “Lambert-Concepcion” not “Lambert”.

        Numerous people, including myself, searched all variations of Lambert, Concepcion and Lambert-Concepcion on the SED web site BEFORE I appeared before the board and informed that of the issue with Lambert’s license. There was nothing there at all. What the district is saying about this is simply untrue.

        If there was a computer glitch as is claimed and it had been fixed several years ago what would have been displayed would have been an expired temporary license for Lambert, a license that expired in 2007. You know this is the case because that is what is listed now along with the backdated permanent license from 2007 until today.

        What happened is that Lambert was eligible for her permanent license but never bothered to apply for it and get it. The district never bothered to track expired temporary licenses.

        The real mystery is how BEDS reports were filed for Lambert or Pacheco where the district reports who holds what administrative position. The district claims that the SED does not track whether administrators in BEDS reports have licenses but that they do track whether teachers have their appropriate teaching licenses. This is simply false. The SED does track this and generates letters to districts with lists of people working for them who do not have the appropriate license for the job they hold.

        Because you work with Lambert you are focused on Lambert. Get over that and focus on the FACT that the district is not doing the background checks it has claimed. As a result, the district has hired people with criminal records, people who lied on their applications about having high school diplomas or GEDs, or having New Rochelle residence when required, or having security licenses when they do not. Couple that with the fact that we have security guards having sex with students, administrators raping boys in their offices, staff sharing nude images of children on their cell phones and you have the real point — that children in our schools are being put at risk by the district hiring people who should not be around children.

      3. fyi, Reggio Emilia is a city in Italy that encompases the enviro
        fyi, Reggio Emilia is a city in Italy that encompasses the environment (basically everyday stuff) into its educational system and approach. You can go ahead and google Reggio Emilia and read all you want.

        There’s no point addressing Sherry Emilia Reggio in the 1st person as it’s a made up name & probably could be traced back to her secretary or 1 of the other office wokers.

        Barnard supposedly uses the Reggio Emilia system in its curriculum, but I had a kid go through Barnard and didn’t notice its use much. Most of the teachers just teach the curriculum like the other elementary schools do.

        Many teachers and administrators are hired without the appropriate certificates but are given time (like a year or 2) to get them and for someone to blatantly ignore this requirement is just plain stupid and kind of like giving the finger to the system & they ALL should be fired unless of course there really was a computer glitch. That shouldn’t affect a person’s standing.

      4. You need to ask your self
        You need to ask your self two things girl, one is how long would is take to take a child? and the other thing is are you on crack? computer glitch LMFAO!

        Ms. Lambert dropped the ball plain and simple, nice lady and all But she drop the ball! So get off our case about being on her case.

  2. stolen parking garage money
    Hey Chuck-

    What ever happen to your father-in-law when he stole all the parking garage money from the train station?? Was is swept under the rug??

  3. Ladder Company 12 closing??
    Heard a rumor today that the City Manager has ordered the minimum manning for the New Rochelle Fire Department to fall to 24 men on duty. The Fire Chief sent an email saying ladder Company 12 will be shut down if the manning level falls below 27 men. Can anyone confirm this??

    1. Ladder 12
      Heard the same,trying to confirm.Asked a couple guys on the job and they confirmed but hav’nt seen it on paper.Great timing City Council,for hiring a spineless,yes man
      Fire Chief and cutting our services to the bone.

    2. Webster & Ladder 12 gone
      I heard Webster Ave. and Ladder 12 closed for the rest of the year and pending budget approval possibly beyond.

      1. Chuck and Noam to come up with a new one.A Pay Per Service
        Soon your City services will be billed Ala Carte.
        Pay Per Fire, Pay Per Flush.
        They will be charging for Police Patrol every time they run the Cruiser up your street.
        Leaf Removal by the Pound Weight.
        This will be a Democratic Council Slam Dunk.
        Citizens to be heard will cost 5.00 each 3 minutes.

      2. That’s actually not a bad idea
        That’s actually not a bad idea, charging for police, fire & ems calls that is.

        At least, the city would be able to recoup some of the money lost on Avalon, Iona & the others that don’t pay taxes yet use services.

        I already pay per flush to United Water but don’t think charging for “citizens to be heard” would be a good idea.

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