The verdict is in! After weeks of speculation and about two hours of interviewing potential replacements, the Bridgeport Board of Education selected parent Kadisha Coates to fill the vacancy left after John Bagley’s sudden resignation from the board a month ago.
Coates won the seat in the first round of voting, with board members Rev. Kenneth Moales, Andre Baker, Hernan Illingworth, Joe Larcheveque and Dave Hennessey voting in favor of her appointment.
Coates, a small business owner and 15 year resident of Bridgeport, is no stranger to Education Bridgeport!. She was interviewed this past summer for a series of parent profiles, where she discussed the educational choices she made for her children.
A parent of three, whose two school aged children attend Achievement First Charter School and St. Teresa’s Catholic School in Trumbull, respectively, Coates told the board during her public interview that she was determined to see her children attend neighborhood schools.
Coates said she wants to see the schools improved because she believes more “faith” in the system would not only win back parents who left for private and charter schools, but it would also attract more people to the city.
“People actually look into these things prior to moving to a city or town, so we would actually acquire businesses and infrastructure,” said Coates. “It would be a great thing for Bridgeport.”
Throughout her interview, Coates also stressed the need for more equitable funding, noting the great disparity between Bridgeport and the more affluent towns that surround it. She said her focus would be on making sure Bridgeport students have the same resources and options that everyone else has.
“We want to have the same opportunities as Greenwich.”
When asked what she would do with the additional funding she said she would use it to pay teachers more and bring more resources into the schools.
Coates was among two other applicants — former Central High PTSO President Andrea Bynoe Clark and Greenwich music teacher Ben Walker — nominated by board members. Neither won enough votes to go into a runoff.
If you’d like to check out Kadisha Coates’ full interview from last night’s meeting, click here.
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