Superintendent Isaacs Retires
Brenda Isaacs, superintendent of School District 27, announced her retirement on Wednesday June 23, the same day that Chancellor Rudy Crew tossed out several other superintendents for poor leadership and low scores in their district.
Even though the retirement has many speculating that Isaacs was a victim of Crew’s shake-up, the district office would offer no comment.
District 27, the most overcrowded district in Queens, has continuously scored at the bottom of state and citywide reading tests under the leadership of Isaacs.
School Board Member Steve Greenberg said that he thinks "Brenda worked very hard," but believes the "district will be allowed to take a new direction" with the announcement of her retirement. Greenberg said that he believes the board will be able to choose an acting superintendent, which will probably occur in July. According to Greenberg, Crew asked Isaacs to stay until the end of July, which will give the board time to meet and find a qualified individual.
Greenberg suggested that Crew dismissed Isaacs "not for poor reading scores…rationale was her leadership ability." Isaacs has been at odds with parents, administrators, and the school board over the past years, which Greenberg attributes to the new governance law which gave superintendents "unchecked power."
Joan Mettler, an educator, community activist, and member of the core committee to improve JHS 180, called the district office a "complacent bunch of fat cats," and hoped that Isaacs’ "dismissal" would be the "first in many at district office." Mettler, who has been one of the most outspoken opponents of Isaacs, said she "could not believe" that Isaacs was reappointed two years ago. Mettler said that except for the United Federation of Teachers, no other group endorsed or supported her reappointment.
Mettler suggested that good superintendents be offered a 20 percent raise to transfer to poor functioning areas and in a two to three year period see what they achieve. "This educational genocide must end," Mettler said. "Let’s clean house and give our children the best education."
Also leaving District 27 will be Phyllis Mellone, the controversial principal of P.S. 114. She will be returning to District 21, where she previously held a position.