Parent involvement needed for superintendent hire

Following community and parent backlash, the Department of Education will be expanding the involvement of parental feed- back in the hiring process of its 45 public school superintendents.

Incumbent Superintendents, including Community Education Council District 30’s Dr. Philip Composto, will now be allowed to re-apply for their position.

The initial decision to not allow District 30 Superintendent Composto re-apply for his position was met with outcry from elected officials representing the area, which includes Astoria, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Corona, East Elmhurst and Long Island City.

The DOE’s reversal came down on Monday afternoon, with Schools

Chancellor David Banks re- leasing a statement.

“The central pillar of this administration is parent and community engagement,” Banks said. “After listening to community feedback we are inviting all incumbent superintendents to be interviewed as part of the community process.”

Social media outrage, emergency Zoom meet- ings with parents and press conferences rallying for the 40-year veteran and widely popular Dr. Composto came with complaints of the lack of transparency from the DOE.

With nearly 500 attend- ees in an impromptu emer- gency Zoom meeting that lasted over three hours, parents and education advocates plead for the reconsideration of Dr. Composto’s application.

At a press conference held in Astoria the following day, elected officials stood in unity, saying that

hundreds of constituents have reached out with the same concerns regarding the DOE’s initial decision.

State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymembers Zohran Mamdani, Cathay Nolan and Brian Barnwell, Councilmembers Tiffany Caban and Julie Won stood with families from District 30 outside PS 171 in Astoria, calling for more transparency from

the DOE and praising the work of Dr. Composto as the district’s superintendent.

During his tenure as an education professional, Dr. Composto worked to implement a college tuition pilot program across Dis- trict 30 before it was ex- panded citywide by Mayor de Blasio and Mayor Ad- ams.

“We were told that the days of turning on the TV and finding out about the news and the policy for an entire school system were over,” Assemblymember Mamdani said. “Yet, for me, the only way that I found out about this decision was opening up Twitter on my phone and seeing a concerned parent tagging me saying they just heard a rumor that this has happened.”

The next day, Mamdani took a visit to a District 30 school where he found the rumor to be true.

Assemblymember Cathy Nolan said she has worked with Dr. Composto for many years, adding that Mayoral control over city schools was not meant to tune out the concerns of parents.

Mayoral control was not meant to exclude the voices of parents and this situation is an example of how important authentic community engagement is to the success of our students.

Candidate for Assembly District 37 Brent O’Leary called the initial DOE de- cision a “slap in the face to the community.”

“We need our parents and our neighborhoods who know best to have a voice in how their schools are run and who is running their schools,” O’Leary said.

The District 30 Community Superintendent Candidate Town Hall is scheduled for Friday, May 20 online at 5:00 p.m. Links can be found at Learndoe. org/supt2022