NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Several weeks ago, I received an anonymous letter from a group identifying itself as “Educators at Jefferson Elementary School”. With no way to contact the group, I reached out to Principal Kimmerly Nieves along with senior school officials. None responded. The letter contains numerous serious allegations. In the absence of a response from Nieves, Osborne and others we feel compelled to share the letter and call for a full investigation into the allegations.
Among the most serious charges:
1. Nieves is often not at the school: she is “missing in action on a daily basis” and “she was not in the building during the latest evening parent teacher conferences of 12/12”.
2. Nieves is paying a school district employee with district funds to babysit her children: “faking the times of arrival and departure of her copy machine friend Doreen, who happens to babysit her children, in order to pay her a larger salary.”
3. Nieves has loose financial controls: “funds for the payment of a Citifield baseball game were taken home with this employee and not used to pay the invoice until it was publicly questioned.”
4. Bringing her social life into the school building: she has “a Ph.D. in swiping and texting” (a reference to dating app Tinder), “eating lunch with the latest boyfriend” and drinking to excess, “she threw up in the bathroom during our spring 2016 end of school party”.
Dear Mr. Cox,
This letter has recently been sent to Dr. Osborne. It was written by a large group of educators at Jefferson Elementary School who are extremely concerned about the academic environment being shaped by the principal Kimmerly Nieves.
After much debate, it was decided that an impartial person must become aware of the educational compromises that are contributing to our failing school under the watch of our present principal. We understand that it is your mission to keep a watchful eye on New Rochelle- including its educational system-and so we felt that it was crucial to bring our deep concerns in regard to the academic situation at Jefferson to Talk of the Sound for review.
Thank you for your time.
Educators at Jefferson Elementary School
Letter to Dr. Osborne
Dear Dr. Osborne:
We are a group of educators at Jefferson Elementary School who are asking for the dismissal of Kimmerly Nieves.
Jefferson requires a principal who has the leadership qualities, educational knowledge and competency to tum around this failing school. Our workplace culture is becoming more and more toxic as a growing number of educators become increasingly frustrated and angry with this academically clueless and highly vindictive woman. As you and Dr. Parvey walk the halls, you may see classrooms that function. We assure you though, that it is despite a professional culture that breeds intimidation. Although we try to keep our heads down and stay away from the malicious nature of our principal, morale and productivity are at an all-time low. Too many highly trained and motivated teachers have already left because of an environment that thrives on bully tactics. Cory Andrews at Ward, Meera Rajani and Jose Rosa at Trinity are three of the many excellent educators who have left Jefferson because of professional frustration and are now thriving in New Rochelle school environments that encourage reflection, discussion and collaboration (speak to them!).
In addition, Ms. Nieves does not understand that she is contractually obligated to be available in the school. She is missing in action on a daily basis. Her voice is never heard on morning messages. She is never present for professional development days. She is excellent at passing her responsibilities along and ordering up presentations from the same small group of teachers. You would think that the principal would at least take it upon herself to present the Danielson Framework for Teaching rubric that she will personally be using to judge us all, but as usual, during that faculty meeting, Ms. Nieves could be found sitting on the side of the auditorium totally disconnected from the proceedings and absorbed, as usual, with her cellphone. (Although Ms. Nieves continually shows a professional lack of engagement at meetings, she certainly seems to flaunt a Ph.D. in swiping and texting.) Most recently, and as usual, she was not in the building during the latest evening parent teacher conferences of 12/12. Parents were looking for her but to no avail. This was probably a blessing for Ms. Nieves because she would have most probably failed in engaging in a meaningful conversation with these parents. How could Ms. Nieves intelligently respond to parents when she never walks the halls, never stops to engage with her students, never even learns their names and certainly never takes the time to understand their academic profiles? How could she answer educational questions when she doesn't involve herself with curriculum planning, decisions about classroom materials or analysis of best practices?
When you do find Ms. Nieves in her office, she will most likely be laughing with her small cadre of teachers or eating lunch with the latest boyfriend. Like a true high school bully, if you pander to her ego, gossip about other teachers and drink to excess (she threw up in the bathroom during our spring 2016 end of school party) you get access to her inner circle. Kim Nieves has gone as far as faking the times of arrival and departure of her copy machine friend Doreen, who happens to babysit her children, in order to pay her a larger salary. This was discovered very innocently one day when Doreen was checked in but was not available to make a teacher curriculum copies (she arrived hours later). This is akin to stealing money from the district. In addition, funds for the payment of a Citifield baseball game were taken home with this employee and not used to pay the invoice until it was publicly questioned. Every time a new unsavory situation is discovered, we shake our heads in disbelief. How does Kim Nieves continue to get away with all this?
The students of Jefferson are the innocent victims of a highly compromised school environment. What they deserve is a wise principal - a real principal- with solid classroom experience and a clear academic vision that can help to tum this failing school around and bring the quality of education uniformly up to where it must be for our students to succeed. It is unfathomable that Kimmerly Nieves has been tasked with this intellectually demanding mission.
Educators of Jefferson Elementary School