New Superintendent in New Rochelle Brings Impressive Background – And Some Controversy

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Dr. Laura Feijóo has signed a “four-year”, $285,000 per year contract, to serve as Superintendent of Schools of the City School District of New Rochelle after the New Rochelle Board of Education. The date she signed is not clear because the signatures on the contract — hers and former School Board President Jeffrey Hastie are not dated.

Dr. Feijóo currently serves the New York City Department of Education in the capacity of Senior Superintendent. In this role, she is directly responsible for supporting schools across all divisions in policy and labor management.

Dr. Feijóo has worked for the New York City Department of Education since 1989. She will celebrate her 30th anniversary on October 31st, 2019. In order to qualify for health insurance and pension benefits commensurate with 30 years of service, her contract was made effective November 1, 2019 and runs until June 30, 2023z

Under her new contract, Dr. Feijóo will be paid a pro-rated amount of her 2019-20 salary. She is eligible for raises annually, at the discretion of the school board.

On May 28th, Dr. Feijóo was among a group of three white administrators who filed a $90 million lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza alleging “reverse racism” after they were demoted and replaced by people of color who had previously worked under them and who, they allege, were less qualified.

Dr. Feijóo additionally was selected by her colleagues to serve as President of the New York State Council of School Superintendents during the 2017-2018 school year.

Previously, she served for four years as the Senior Supervising Superintendent for the Chancellor’s Central Office, overseeing all of the superintendents in the city and their office operations. Prior to being promoted to that role, Dr. Feijóo served as Senior Superintendent, overseeing all operations, instruction and staff in District 79’s Alternative Schools, Office of Adult and Continuing Education as well as a series of other undertakings within the Department.

Her extensive experience also includes serving as Deputy Regional Superintendent, Deputy Senior Supervising Superintendent, Executive Officer for Instruction and Community Superintendent for School District 20, among others.

In all of these roles, Dr. Feijóo has supported the instructional and organizational practices of principals over the last 29 years, specifically in the areas of leadership, effective instructional goal setting, and leading teams to support individual school communities and student outcomes. Dr. Feijóo also served as the Principal of PS/MS 499, the Queens College School for Mathematics, Science and Technology. As the first appointed principal of this unique learning environment, she established a strong relationship with college faculty, teachers and parents. In partnership with the college, she enabled her teaching faculty to collaborate in the development of content planning, curriculum mapping and the design of professional development, especially in the areas of balanced literacy and an inquiry based approach to mathematics and science. Dr. Feijóo’s experience as an instructional leader at every level from building principal to superintendent will transform how we educate every child from pre-K to grade 12.

Dr. Feijóo’s professional and personal background are in support of our District’s larger strategic mission to have a pedagogical staff that is ethnically more reflective of the students we serve and knowledgeable of cultural differences and learning styles in our diverse population. As an educator, she has served in the Office of Equity and Access with a focus on ending long-standing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities by addressing opportunity gaps which exist among historically underserved students. She supported several initiatives aimed at closing the achievement gap and fostered initiatives to support New York City’s most vulnerable students. Programs Dr. Feijóo supported included AP Expansion Program, Summer Quest and the DREAM Program. Personally, she has made blending cultures an important aspect of her children’s upbringing, teaching them both English and Spanish, and exposing them to various facets of their Ecuadorian and Italian heritage. To that end, her family, as a whole, is able to embrace their diverse backgrounds and engage more deeply with relatives’ native customs and cultures.

Dr. Feijóo holds a bachelor’s degree in education, master’s degree in special education and specialist diploma in educational leadership all from Queens College. She earned her doctorate degree in educational leadership from New York University.

UPDATE: At the school board meeting tonight, many leading figures came to speak out against the decision to hire Dr. Feijóo because of the lawsuit.

NAACP President Mark McLean said New Rochelle has a problem, doesn’t respect black people, made the black community invisible.

Rev. Weaver asked why in this day and age Black and Latino people have to beg to be recognized.

Board members Lianne Merchant and Valerie Williams came out against Feijóo.

My thoughts on tonight’s board meeting:

I repeatedly requested the contract, a bio, a resume and a timeline for the hiring process.

The contract, bio and resume have now been made public. That is a positive development. I still want the timeline because it goes to the issue of due diligence.

Looking at the bio and resume it is clear she has impressive credentials.

That said, the rollout was mishandled, concerns in the black community which became apparent soon after the board meeting, the response was ineffective/slow and the negative feelings metastasized. The significance of tonight was the key figures in the black community, some of whom do not get along, were united in their opposition and put that on the record at a public meeting.

The meeting after the meeting was the coup de grace. An impressive array of leading members of the black community met in the Carew Room for about 2 hours after the board meeting with Amy Moselhi, Paul Warhit, Rachel Relkin, and Lianne Merchant. By all accounts, the meeting was devastating for the board. Lianne made clear at the public meeting that she did not support hiring Dr. Feijóo (she was not as the board meeting on Friday and so did not cast a vote for Feijóo). Valerie Williams does not support Feijóo. I am told Rachel Relkin was very emotional by the end of the meeting; it sounded like she also becoming a no.

Jeffrey Hastie was at the meeting briefly but was essentially kicked out (as was Vince Malfetano who attempted to join the meeting).

The bottom line is there is strong, united opposition to Feijóo among members of the black community in New Rochelle. I would describe it as adamantine and immovable.

There is just no way to reconcile the reverse racism lawsuit with the strategic roadmap which has explicitly endorsed the belief that students perform better when there are people who look like them running things.

I actually went on record on Friday evening after a lot of phone calls that Dr. Feijóo would not make it to Nov. 1st. That is more likely the case after tonight.

Of course, the problem is that she signed a contract worth over $1,000,000. She would need to be bought out or agree to withdraw.

This is an irreconcilable situation. She has a great CV and would be a real asset for New Rochelle but there is no way to un-ring the bell of her lawsuit.

I blame Jeffrey Hastie. I think he was so desperate to not fail to hire a Superintendent that when his first choice fell through he grabbed onto Feijóo like a drowning man grabbing a life preserver. Her stellar resume blinded him to how the lawsuit would play in New Rochelle, especially given all that has gone over the past 18 months.

Feijóo Resume

Feijóo Bio

Feijóo Contract

Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit

RELATED:

New Rochelle Board of Education Hires New Permanent Superintendent of Schools

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NYPOST: Bombshell suit claims Carranza’s ‘toxic’ whiteness purge cost DOE execs their jobs

LoHud: New Rochelle hires new schools superintendent

News12: New school superintendent announced in New Rochelle

2 thoughts on “New Superintendent in New Rochelle Brings Impressive Background – And Some Controversy”

  1. Feijoo failed in her primary responsibility to supervise a corrupt Supt. Juan Mendez as he blatantly flouted C-30 hiring regulations to place an wholly incompetent leader at FHHS. She served idly as our school descended from a beautiful learning community into a chaotic scandal ridden school. (See numerous NY Post articles). Mr. Mendez had zero concern and often sent his deputy-Supt. Cindy Schneider to observe Mr. Sherman’s performance. Mendez, ergo Feijoo, was so derelict that Mendez was eventually reassigned FROM our school by Carranza’s new Supervising Supt., Andre Spencer. (I’d be happy to share more)

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