No $ for Newark kids, lots for Cami pals

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Cami feels for her friends and pays them well
Cami feels for her friends and pays them well

A third of Newark’s public school teachers face layoffs.  The contracts of seven  employee unions, including nurses, cafeteria workers, and laborers, have expired and the administration  of state superintendent Cami Anderson refuses to settle. Counselors were laid off. Public schools have been stripped of  assets  and  allowed to crumble. Cami drove the district into a $40 million budget hole but, despite all that, she has given hefty raises to the district’s top administrators, according to a Newark Public Schools document this site obtained.  Just as Gov. Chris Christie takes care of his friends, Anderson’s loyal pals, from New York, New Orleans, Teach for America, and charter schools, make big bucks in the city school administration at the expense of Newark’s school children.

Gabrielle Wyatt--an 80 percent raise?
Gabrielle Wyatt–an 80 percent raise?

Take Gabrielle Wyatt. She is the woman who was featured in the recent hoax film about how Anderson’s administration is consulting with the community. Only it wasn’t the community, but Cami’s friends and staff members who filled he chairs and were filmed being consulted.

Until last August, Wyatt was only making $75,000 a year but Cami gave her an 80 percent raise from $75,000 to $135,000 for what the Christie administration calls a “promotion—normal career  progression.”  Like so many of Cami’s cronies, Wyatt was imported from the New York City Department of Education, that nest of educational entrepreneurs that gave the world Christopher Cerf.

Another big winner is Aqua Stovall, whose salary as assistant superintendent goes up nearly $44,000, from $131,500 to $175,000. Stovall is one of Cami’s cronies from “New Leaders” and is part of the New Orleans crew. She was a principal of a charter school  in that corporatized school district.

Aqua Stovall, right--big bucks for one of the New Orleans crowd
Aqua Stovall, right–big bucks for one of the New Orleans crowd

Stovall was a refugee from New Orleans along with Tiffany Hardrick, another assistant superintendent making $175,000 who has decided to leave town and become superintendent in Forrest City, Arkansas. The Arkansas folks apparently didn’t hear about how she gave her brother a busing contract while she was running a New Orleans charter school. Or how she had parent leader Daryn Martin jailed for defending his right to post fliers on school doors.

Then there is Brad Haggerty, who was a charter school leader in New York for “New Visions,” one of the endless number of private, non-governmental organizations that Cami surrounds herself with. His raise was $35,000, from $140,000 to $175,000. He has served as Cami’s hatchet man for negotiations.

Ruben Roberts got a job title change—from  director of community relations to executive director of community relations and family engagement—and with it he received a $30,000 raise, from $115, 000 to $145,000. Roberts is Cami’s chief paid apologist—explaining why she is laying off so many teachers and refusing to obey the law requiring her to attend Newark school board meetings.

Sameniego--always worthwhile to share a past with Cami
Sameniego–always worthwhile to share a past with Cami

Tritia Sameniego got an $18,000 raise when she was promoted from a special assistant to deputy chief of staff—and we all know how desperately school children need deputy chiefs of staff. Sameniego comes out of Cami’s Teach for America crew and also helped found a charter school. She now makes $115,000.

Keith Barton, Mitchell Center, and Roger Leon all got $15,000 raises for their loyalty to Cami. Barton’s new-found wealth came with a transfer from special assistant to executive managing director of operations.  He was the principal of Ivy Hill and his salary will go up from $126,028 t0 $141,151.

Center--he and Cami go 'way back.
Center–he and Cami go ‘way back.

Center goes from $160,000 to $175,000 for no particular reason except that Cami thought he should get a raise. Ok, that’s not fair. He is an assistant superintendent and, more important, an old Cami friend from the New Teacher Project, New Leaders, the New York City schools and charter schools—so Cami is making sure her old friend and longtime co-privatizer is well paid.

Roger Leon’s salary goes from $160,977 to $175,000 as he becomes assistant superintendent because a school district $40 million in the red just can’t get enough assistant superintendents. He is the former principal of University High School.

Two top officials received $13,000 raises. Caleb Perkins got an adjustment from $130,000 to $143,000 and Shauwea Hamilton’s salary was raised from $129,100 to $142,100. Perkins is a pal from New York where he was director of periodic assessments and Hamilton comes from the corporate world—she worked at PSE&G.

Rodriguez: Rewarded for suspending five principals?
Rodriguez: Rewarded for suspending five principals?

Cami rewarded Vanessa Rodriguez for her good work  suspending  five  outspoken principals who criticized the “One Newark” by giving her an $11,000 raise, from $162,500 to $173,875. She, of course, worked  with Cami in New York’s District 79.

Valerie Wilson, the school business administrator, got a comparatively small $5,000 raise, from $184,288 to $189,817, but she is second only to Cami in salary. Cami makes $247,500 with $50,000 performance bonuses from Christie  because she did so well in bankrupting the Newark schools.

Valerie Merritt got the smallest raise, from $104,751 to $107,894. She is a flack for the schools or, as one of her job descriptions calls it, outsourcing communications director.

The sizable “leadership team” raises began in the summer of 2012 and continued until a few weeks ago.  The hikes given to Barton, Roberts, Rodriguez, and Hamilton were all effective in February. Rodriguez’s raise came just 14 days after she suspended five principals who had spoken out against the “One Newark” plan.  Although three have been reinstated, all five have sued Anderson in federal court.

The document outlining the raises doesn’t cover a number of other members of the leadership team who make high salaries. For example, Charlotte Hitchcock, Cami’s chief of staff and general counsel, makes $175,0000, as does assistant superintendent Peter Turnamian. Lauren Katzman, the assistant superintendent for special education, makes $160,000, while Matthew Frankel, the executive director of communications makes $130,000.

Charlotte Hitchcock
Charlotte Hitchcock

Hitchcock, like so many others, is from New York where she served as deputy counsel to New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and as an aide to former New York Gov. David Paterson. Paterson appointed Hitchcock to head a panel to study the sale of public assets–like the Tappan Zee bridge–to private entrepreneurs. The Newark school administration, which sold one public school to a charter school and is turning over others to the privatized operations, must be a comfortable place for her.

Turnamian is both a Teach for America graduate and founder of the Greater Newark Charter School. Lauren Katzman, like so many of Cami’s cronies, worked with her in the New York City Department of Education.  Frankel comes from New York via Montclair State.

Of the 18 highest paid administrators in Newark, 12 have ties with Cami through the various organizations she served–New York City schools, Teach for America, New Leaders, or charter schools. The nine who make $175,000 or more draw as high a salary as the governor himself, sometimes higher. The Newark school administration is to Cami Anderson what the Port Authority was to Chris Christie before Bridgegate–a publicly funded home for cronies.

Christie imposed salary caps on New Jersey school superintendents–but they don’t apply to Newark. So, while there has been a major talent drain out of New Jersey because of the caps. Newark has been a magnet for those seeking the highest possible salaries in New Jersey public education.

 

 

 

35 comments

    • Walt Sautter

      The State has run Newark, Paterson and Jersey City schools since 1995, 1991 and 1989 respectively.
      It’s hard to believe, that all the “education experts” in Trenton cannot concoct not even one scheme to miraculously improve these schools after over twenty years of effort!
      The lack of success in these districts tells me one of the reasons why the DOE is currently handing out reams of dictates, ,standards and teacher evaluation criteria to all New Jersey schools. This is designed to draw attention away from the State’s failures in these state controlled districts.
      Of course another reason for the constant attack is to exact retribution against teacher’s unions for not having supported “The Governor” (as he likes to call himself) and his cohorts.
      Additionally, all these demands continually placed on New Jersey schools allows corporations which supply the ingredients for their implementation to extract huge amounts of money from state and local coffers. Also, the constant testing and “reforms” are being used to sully the reputation of public education so as to help bolster public support for eventually driving the entire system into private corporate hands
      http://teachersdontsuck.blogspot.com/ http://wsautter.com/
      Bob Braun: Excellent insights

  1. DeeplyConcerned

    This is fiscal responsibility?! No wonder she can’t afford to keep teachers! Meanwhile, school districts across the state have lost experienced, high-quality superintendents as the result of the salary cap imposed by Christie. Unfortunately, it continues to be the policy of this administration that rules brutally imposed on some are inapplicable to the Governor and his allies.

  2. Source1

    This is unbelievable. And Anderson is attempting to make a case that she has to lay off teachers?

    She should leave town…….immediately….

  3. Anna D'Antonio

    And I got a $26,000 + cut because I did my job – brilliantly – but the new principal @ Weequahic wanted a “change” or was told to call in a “favor” for one of those “loyal to Cami” Assistant Superintendents who got a $15,000 RAISE! Makes no sense, unless of course, you’re one of Cami’s cronies or a suck up who kisses her ass!

  4. Becca Field

    So I guess the best we can hope for after a disturbing, but perhaps not surprising, expose such as this is that Cami decides to do an internal investigation to find out nothing inappropriate has been done.

    The collective outrage needs to loud, persistent and forceful until this kinds of criminal behavior stops.

  5. Kate

    Appalling! $276,837 in raises – not salaries, just the raises – for a baker’s dozen of high-ranking staffers. (The salaries total slightly under two million dollars.) Meanwhile the folks who actually work with children have seen their stagnant salaries eroded each year by the ever-increasing deductions dictated by the privatizer-in-chief. (We THOUGHT increased pension and health insurance contributions were part of the shared sacrifice necessary because of New Jersey’s dire financial situation. Apparently, NJ is flush, if it’s now okay to award average 16% raises to district royalty. So fully fund the schools, Gov!)

    • Mary Porter (chemtchr)

      Racketeers. That’s the word I was looking for! Tweet that, please, from the masthead.

  6. Bob Jones

    Where do I send my resume?

    Bob Braun: Teach for America or the Port Authority. But first get your application in to the Broad Academy.

  7. P. Grunther

    Is there anyone other than Bob Braun and the ELC paying attention to any of this??!! Bob, can you get a link to this post on Ravitch’s blog? I admit ignorance as to how to effectively shine more light on this outrageous situation, but we’ve got to find ways to raise public awareness about what’s going on because it won’t be stopped any other way.

    Bob Braun: I’ll try.

  8. Neisha Voronoff

    I have been working with Newark Public Schools since 2003 as a Per Diem Teacher Aide. I have not had a raise since 2007. I have been making $14.00 an hour since then. We do not receive benefits and we do not get paid for days off. You would think after 10 years I would have accumulted some sick days. If all of the per Diem Teacher Aides were to call out for one day, all of Newark Public Schools would be considered a disaster zone. I am so disgusted. We work hard for very little and at the end of the day we are unappreciated and underpaid.

  9. sshaffer

    Dear Bob:

    Did you know your February 25, 2014 and April 2, 2014 blogs, each have an underlying humorous element to them. In order to discover the hidden humor, one must click on the pictures with C. Anderson, to enlarge them. Once enlarged, one can see that Ms. Anderson is comical, expressive, and arrogant at the same time. For instance, the 2/25/14 shows Mr. Shavers and Mr. Jefferies bored stiff by whatever Ms. Anderson was saying as she is waving her hands about. The 4/2/14 is absolutely amazing., It shows Ms. Anderson, arms crossed over her chest like a grand dame comically expressive actress straight out of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
    For me, the 4/2/14, would make a great poster for use by those protesters who are against Ms. Anderson’s “One Newark Program’ and plans to destroy the Newark Public Schools.
    Yes, pictures are worth a thousand words.

  10. DA

    An outside source and special investigation is needed! Our children our barely can get textbooks; how do these people sleep at night!

    Thank God, for Bob reporting the truth!

  11. C Nelson

    …and for these raises we will receive what miracles? Just like charters are miracles? Give the schools back to the people of Newark!!

  12. supportstaff@nps

    This is very shameful! They are capitalizing off of a public entity.. Every and I mean every dog will have their day…

  13. Anon

    Gabrielle Wyatt is only 26 years old. She graduated from college in 2010 before going back to school to earn her masters.

  14. MSL

    This is absolutely a disgusting example of corporate greed on the same scale as Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase, To reward people with these salaries tied to non performance is akin to the Raiders of Wall Street that caused the most recent recession. As an employee of NPS I have not seen any of these people in our schools unless it is to tear down and criicize. I for one am glad Hartick is gone because not only was she ethically challenged I dont believe her intellect afforded the talents to be a asst. supt in Newark. This is just another example of a regime raiding the coffers of our city with a we know it all attitude and no progress to show for it. We are entering year 3 of this siege. Lets look at the scores and see if there really has been a change.

  15. Pingback: Cashi Anderson: Not Good for Newark School Health | Blind Noise
  16. NPS TEACHER

    This is outrageous! I once had the pleasure to sit and witness Cami’s $175 000 hatchet man “Brad Haggerty” telling adults at Newark Evening High School that the district must close the program to save money…!

    -All show and no soul.

  17. Pingback: No $ for Newark Kids, But Lots of $$$ for Friends of Cami | Diane Ravitch's blog
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  20. Kevin

    Bob why do you not speak of the jobs that have been created within the city by Ras and his crew who is really running Newark. Several positions have been created since Booker left that were favors to the demagogue Ras? Maybe you should try using some of your reporting skills to get to the bottom of that. Or is it not in your bias agenda?

    Bob Braun: Why don’t you tell us instead of hiding behind a non-existent email? Me, I’m still a little stunned by the link between a man with the background of Shavar Jeffries and the thugs who torched the Baraka campaign bus.

  21. Stressed

    One of the things that bugs me the most is how PR promotes Anderson as a ‘rising star’ or ‘urban education expert’ or whatever glowing title she gets this week. To get to my NPS email when I’m home, I have to go to the NPS website where the changing banner often goes through Cami on TedTalks; Cami in the Huffington Post; Cami here; Cami there…let’s not forget she made Time magazines 100 Most Influential people – that was before she enacted her full-on assault on the families and teachers in Newark. If you aren’t in the city and know what’s really going on, you might think she’s a savior.

    Just this morning I was remembering how principals were told last winter (Feb 2013) that they couldn’t tell the teachers in their buildings that they were losing their positions. The teachers/counselors were informed via central office email three days before school got out in June that they wouldn’t be coming back to their schools in September and had to go on Talent Match to find another position. How mature.

    Because of where I am on the pay scale, I’m now taking home about $425/month less than I was in 2009-10; so about $4,250/year less. This money goes to the increases in my pension and health benefit contributions while our governor calls those things ‘entitlements.’

    While Anderson and her high paid friends are having a Power Party, teachers will go back to our classes on Monday where I know she wouldn’t last a New York Minute.

    • Kate

      I’m not sure there’s a career’s worth of classroom experience among the entire Cami cabal. That would be an interesting investigation – what experience (being either a teacher or a parent) do each of these individuals have that qualifies them to know what’s best for our children? I believe this is one reason their “plans” are so sketchy – they honestly don’t know a lot about education or children, but they don’t know that they don’t know much. Confidently clueless.

      Bob Braun: I honestly believe Cami and those who embrace her ideological views–others are in it for the bucks, but Cami is a true believer–do not accept teaching as a legitimate profession. They believe that any moderately intelligent person, with a few weeks training and great reliance on technology, can follow the prescriptions provided by a small cadre of self-proclaimed experts and produce better test scores, what they view ultimately as the goal of schooling. It’s happening in every profession. People with skills don’t count because quantifiable units of data are all that matters.

      • Kate

        Yes, Bob, I agree. This group is convinced they’re on the side of the angels, saving children from the greedy drones who are only in it for the money. (Sorry, that ridiculous sentiment always makes me laugh. Especially when espoused by the Power Elite.) They can’t see how they’ve dehumanized one of society’s most human endeavors, and reduced children to data points in a sterile lattice of rating, ranking, and reporting.

        Bob Braun: Beautifully and succinctly put. Thank you.

  22. Mary Riordan

    New Jersey is corrupt, plain and simple! These people should be out period! Where do the kids fit into this picture! Karma, I feel sorry for this bunch, corruption at it’s best!

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