Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Charter School Hires "Disgraced" Principal


A disgraced city principal who was fired after one of his students drowned on a field trip has a new job as the leader of a troubled Bronx charter school.

Former Columbia Secondary School Principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera was put on probation after the tragic death of 12-year-old Nicole Suriel on an unguarded beach in June 2010.

He was fired five months later — and banned from work in city schools — when investigators caught him using his school employee mistress as a baby-sitter.

But none of this prevented Maldonado-Rivera from snagging a top job at the Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School in the Bronx.

Though publicly funded, charters are not held to city hiring rules, and Maldonado-Rivera said he deserves the gig.

“Just take a look at my résumé. It speaks for itself,” he told the Daily News. “There is no question about my competence.”

City officials disagree. Maldonado-Rivera was at the helm of Columbia Secondary School when he allowed Suriel’s class to travel to a Long Island beach without permission from parents.

The sixth-grader did not know how to swim.

Maldonado-Rivera managed to keep his job after the tragedy but lost it when investigators caught him in “an inappropriate financial relationship” with his parent coordinator and live-in girlfriend, Monica Marin-Reyes.

He was fired for “repeated failures in judgment,” and the ousted educator left the city to run a school in Tanzania for a year. His girlfriend resigned.


Maldonado-Rivera is the third principal to run Health and Science since the school was founded in 2010, and in 2011 just 20% of sixth-graders passed state reading exams.

The school made headlines in February when instructor Evelyn Tirado was arrested on charges of punching a 12-year-old student.

Parents are worried that things could get worse on Maldonado-Rivera’s watch.

“I’m very concerned about my child’s safety with that man in charge,” said a parent of a seventh-grader. “I have no faith in his ability to lead our school.”

School CEO Anthony Perez insisted that Maldonado-Rivera was not hired on a permanent basis and would only serve until the end of the school year, but a former staffer, a current staffer and a parent all said they were told that Maldonado-Rivera was there to stay.

I'm sure this will all go swimmingly.

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