Bridgeport gains one principal, loses another to central office job

BRIDGEPORT — One city school gained a principal and another one lost one during the last regular school board meeting of the school board on Monday.

Amy Marshall, executive director of Elementary Education, was named the new principal at Barnum School, replacing Ralph Paladino who is retiring.

She will earn $143,922 in her new position which starts officially on August 21, 2017.

Also, Herminio Planas, principal for the past two years at Black Rock School, will become the district’s math director, replacing Ricardo Rosa who is also retiring. His salary becomes $135,635.

Marshall, who left a principalship at Beardsley school to go to central office, said the decision to return to a school leadership role was her decision. When she left Beardsley, a number of teachers at that school were upset.

Planas said he spent 15 of 23 years in education as part of Bridgeport’s mathematics department.

“Every time I meet with mathematics coaches and teachers, I truly feel at home,” Planas said. “We are at an important time in Bridgeport in mathematics.”

Math scores in Bridgeport are extremely low but Planas said the district is starting to make gains.

“When the position came up, obviously I was very hesitant, because Black Rock School has grown so much in the two years I have been the leader,” Planas said. “In my new position, I can help support not only Black Rock, but all schools in Bridgeport.”

Luz Sanchez, a parent whose youngest daughter just graduated from Black Roc, called Planas a great principal.

“All the parents are going to miss him.” she said. “He is a great human being.”

At the meeting, some reluctance to moving Planas from Black Rock came from Dennis Bradley, a board member who had concerns about sustaining improvements made under Planas.

Bradley wondered if moving Planas to central office was the best decision.

Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson said her cabinet will not be expanding. The position Marshal is giving up, along with several others are being renamed and refocused in the new school year.

Board member Sauda Baraka said the district can’t do without a director for math and other curriculum areas. Planas, she added, not only has a background in mathematics but is bilingual.

“We run into a lot of problems at the building level when these positions disappear,” Baraka said. ”We can’t run a school district if we don’t have supervisory staff.”