Since launching late Wednesday, 246 people have signed an online petition urging New Canaan Public Schools officials to reinstate a popular Saxe Middle School teacher.
District officials asked fifth-grade teacher Michael Patrona for his resignation Friday, according to one source with first-hand knowledge of the matter, after he apparently allowed his professional certification to lapse. While a lack of up-to-date certification prohibits a teacher from providing classroom instruction, it isn’t clear whether the district also is obligated to seek termination in those cases, or whether there’s more leeway.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Kolek declined to clarify that point when reached by Patch late Wednesday and also declined to address Patrona’s case specifically, citing personnel issues.
The Board of Education is scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. A PDF of the agenda is attached. The meeting will commence at 7:30 p.m. following one hour’s executive session where the board will discuss “security measures,” the agenda says. The meeting will include a public comment period. It isn’t clear whether the district will address the Patrona situation. District officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The online petition is addressed to Kolek, school board Chair Alison Bedula, Vice Chair Scott Gress and Principal Greg Macedo.
Macedo on Monday notified parents of Saxe students in Patrona’s homeroom and one other teacher’s homeroom that their kids had been told that Patrona left “owing to personal reasons.”
Many parents have expressed frustration here in Patch comments threads about what they call a lack of information and transparency from the district. Kolek has called for understanding as the schools works through the matter.
Here’s part of what the online petition reads:
“Reinstate beloved 5th grade teacher Michael Patrona and show that you value quality educators over paperwork. Work with Michael to solve the problem, not make it go away. Show him and your community that you know what a strong teacher is and you value the education of all students.”