Word of Warning: Maria Pereira Is The Last Person Who Should Be Advising the BOE

Based on a series of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, it appears that former board member Maria Pereira thinks she runs the place, taking it upon herself to advise the superintendent and others on how the district should be managed.

This is not only inappropriate — it’s downright dangerous. Pereira may pose as merely a concerned parent, but the reality is, she’s an activist with a clear agenda. As we’ve seen, she has no qualms about stepping over the line (for example taping herself harassing canvassers).

Pereira is the most dangerous kind of activist, beholden to no one and nothing, in possession of a seemingly endless amount of time – and yet, as the uncovered emails reveal, she has access to information no other private citizen has.

In one email, dated March 12, sent to Superintendent Fran Rabinowitz, Pereira goes as far as to discuss personnel matters, asking that former Chief of Staff Lissette Colon be moved to a different position:

From: Maria Pereira [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:51 PM

To: Rabinowitz, Fran

Subject: [BULK] Chief of Staff


I am receiving troubling reports that your chief of staff received a 5 year contract not approved by the Board. I will bet almost any amount of money the contract was signed sometime in September or after.

I received reports that the day after the September primary, Ms. Colon was running around City Hall trying to determine if she had any union protection. She new her employment was in jeopardy.

I know that you have probably come to realize that your chief of staff is not liked or respected by the vast majority of employees. I am sure you are also aware everything that you are doing, is being reported to Mayor Finch.

If this rumor is true, I truly hope that you will be able to move her into a school somewhere.

I hope I do not sound paranoid, but I would not be surprised if your phones and office is bugged. Quite honestly, they may even be monitoring your email.

Please be careful.


(In case you’re wondering: At the beginning the school year, Colon was, in fact, transferred to the Human Resources office.)

What gives Pereira, someone who is not a board member, the authority to advise the superintendent on personnel decisions?

As this email shows, she feels like she can tell everyone what to do – and perhaps out of fear, they listen.

In another email, dated May 8, 2014, Pereira pushes the line even further, advising the superintendent on when and how she should apologize. She writes, “I sincerely hope that Mr. Willingham will not be disciplined and that neither you nor Mr. Willingham will issue an apology.”

This email is in reference to Mr. Willingham telling members of the press they had to leave school property during a parent rally organized by Northeast Charter Schools — an event about which I wrote.

From: Maria Pereira [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2014 1:50 AM

To: Rabinowitz, Fran

Subject: CT General Statute Governing Use Of School Facilities And Grounds

Ms. Rabinowitz,

I was informed the attachment I sent previously was not working. Not to worry.

I found a much better CT state statute.

CT General Statute 10-239- ” Use of school facilities for other purposes (a) Any local or regional board of education may provide for the use of any room, hall, school house, school grounds or other school facility within its jurisdiction for nonprofit educational or community purposes whether or not school is in session.”

These charter school rally participants certainly have every right to attend a public meeting on BPS property. However, only the BBOE could authorize the use of “school grounds” for their rally. For Northeast Charter Schools to hire an individual to set up a generator, speakers, etc… on BPS property without even checking with the BBOE first, was very presumptuous. We all know that the “local board of education” never authorized this event. Therefore, I sincerely hope that Mr. Willingham will not be disciplined and that neither you or Mr. Willingham will issue an apology.

To demand an apology on a blog and then threaten “action” is really insulting.


As you can see, Pereira took it upon herself to provide the superintendent with strategies on how to silence anyone she disagrees with. That’s her real aim here.



To comment on this and other stories, please check out the Education Bridgeport! Facebook

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Word of Warning: Maria Pereira Is The Last Person Who Should Be Advising the BOE

More Comments