Principal focus of heated meeting in ...

Principal focus of heated meeting in Huntington -

There are 162 comments on the Newsday story from Aug 21, 2007, titled Principal focus of heated meeting in Huntington -. In it, Newsday reports that:

More than 100 Huntington parents last night loudly opposed the transfer of the high school principal, who supporters said is a champion of underserved students.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Newsday.


Jamaica, NY

#46 Aug 21, 2007
Here is the bottom line. The taxpaying Huntington citizens are going to pay about half million to this failed administrator. She wants to retire so sue for a million settle for half. If her current contract does not consider health coverage she will get that for life. The options are for the BOE to fight the suit and spend half a million of lawyers and maybe loose... totla 1.5 million. So what to do. No BOE on Long Island has the stones to fight the suit. And any jerk administrator that is willing to be beat over the head in the press, never get another job, retire on her terms. It's the Long Island SOP for education. It's just sad.

Freeport, NY

#47 Aug 21, 2007
Yea all true posts anyone at HHS knows it, but no matter, the word is the majority of the Board has waffled after the Newsday article and the Channel 12 coverage and being yelled at and called racists by a lousy 15 Leonardi recruited "supporters" at Monday meeting.

They will re-appoint her at Thursday's Meeting and sadly the teachers, parents and staff have only themselves to blame. Where were they?

If you thought it was bad before, get ready, she will be out for revenge big time....
The real story

Amityville, NY

#48 Aug 21, 2007
a parent in the district wrote:
I feel bad for these teachers. It is clear from all the posts that this woman needs to be replaced.
I wish the teachers could speak out publicly against her, but I can understand they are fearful of retribution. Over and over the words dictatorial and vindictive are used in these posts.
Maybe its time for the parents to stand up and support our TEACHERS!!!!
If you are a parent who supports your child, then you must realize how important it is for the teachers of Huntington HS to hear you support them. No administrator can make as much impact on your child's life as a staff of hard working, caring teachers. It's the every day connection with your children that helps shape lives. The staff members are afraid to be at the meeting. Afraid to be labeled and afraid of what will happen to them in September. Even the tenured staff. Hard to believe, but true. Where are the parents in this community to support our staff? If you are out there, you need to be there Thursday, if only to say, "I have read what our teachers have said and I support them and this change." If not, then the real story will not be heard by our board members. If they can't hear these stories, how will they know what the right thing to do is?

Let's remember how much the community complained about the Finley staff. After the two new administrators came in, suddenly, the same staff members where seen in a whole new light. Every teacher was supported and every teacher loved coming to work every day. People now rave about the entire Finley staff and they are the happiest school in our district. Finley has been transformed because there are now two administrators their who care about teachers, who in turn, care deeply about your kids.

Where is our community support?
Principal be Gone


#49 Aug 21, 2007
I think you are probably right. Leonardi will be reappointed on the basis that the board and central will not want the backlash of this racial suit she has waged. If she returns to the high school that will be a horrific situation for teachers because Leonardi knows now for sure that NOT ONE PERSON supported her in this quest...She will be out for blood...Retire, quit or go flip hamburgers at Wendy's...the cut in pay will be worth it! Trust me!

Mahopac, NY

#50 Aug 21, 2007

Baldwin, NY

#51 Aug 21, 2007
1. I am a current teacher in the HS and have seen first hand the destruction that has occured. To those who ask where were the teachers while this was going on? Afraid and hiding from her dictatorial, vindictive ways. We watched our friends and colleagues. loss jobs, pride, self esteem and some thier homes because of her methods. Observations are never constructive, useful learning experiences, they are an opportunity for her to demonstrate her percieved knowledge and expertise. Her inabiltity to accept support or advice from anyone is legendary. Remember she knows everything about every subject. From AP to the lowest Special Education class. I have been there through the first wave of firings, when every teacher signed a letter to the administration, to revenge day on the Social Studies department to most recently when a graduating senior, who is going to an IVY league school verbalize his sadness that he was never able to see or have any relationahip with the principal.
2. The fact the she has made this an racial/ethnic issue should indicate the level to which she is willing to go to get her own way. Personally I did not recognize any of the 'students' in the audience. The board DEFINETLY has made the right decision. The minority students are no more famaliar with her than any other. And the fact that she has used this group of students to further her own cause is another example of how despicable she is.
3. To the Board Of Education- Please stick to your guns and do the right thing. Be the board the is remembered for saving the school not the board that caved into the tyrant. The media controversy will pass but the damage that she has done will take years to fix and if no action is taken now, you will continue to see the demise of what once was a stellar school system. With the demise you will continue to see lower test scores, lower property values and more and more white flight. The problem is not now or never has been the diversity in out district. In fact the diversity is such an asset. The problem is the ability of those who are in charge to turn a blind eye to the destruction that has been allowed to florish. Now is the time for those in charge to be brave and firm and do the right thing! We are counting on you. And realize that if you allow her to win now, the atmosphere and climate of fear will only grow and you will have only yourselves to thank!
Time for change is now


#52 Aug 21, 2007
People of Huntington, if you believe that a great high school is important for the whole town, please go to the board of ed meeting on Thurs or let your board of Ed members know that you deserve better: it is time for a change. The teachers and students need your help. Your children, who we dedicate our lives to, deserve a positive and enriching experience in school. They are not receiving that right now, due in large part to Carmela Leonardi. Finley made a leadership change and it has been wonderful, just ask around. You elected this Board of Ed, let's help give them the courage to go through with this. She won't be fired, just be given a different assignment. WE WILL ALL SUFFER ONE WAY OR ANOTHER IF SHE REMAINS AS LEADER OF HHS!


#53 Aug 21, 2007
Former Student wrote:
Dr. Leonardi has been talking about how she has done so much for minorities, but what has she done for the rest of the students in the school. The only thing she focuses on is just a small percentage of the school, and ignores the rest. This cannot be the case. Everyone needs to be looked out for, and I thought that is what a principal was supposed to do. Also, most teachers in the school do not like Dr. Leonardi, or the way in which handles the teachers. They see her as a despotic ruler who, again, only looks after the ESL/Special Education teachers. She is a poor reflection of the student population at Huntington High School. The school is about 35% minority and she ignores the other 65%, which is wrong. There could be a case made for her being racist toward non-minorities. Racism is a two-way street.
I can tell you unequivocally that the special education teachers nor the esl teachers are certainly NOT 'looked after' by Dr Leonardi. They have faced the same fate as all the rest of us if not more so. Playing the race card here is absurd. We at Huntington take pride in our diversity and embrace it. If the teachers were to show at the BOE meeting and the board did reinstate her there would be a terrible price to pay. I hope the board is paying attention to all being said here.


#54 Aug 21, 2007
I have experienced the wrath of Carmela first hand. I was a dedicated teacher at HHS who was well liked and respected by my colleagues and all my department chairs. While there are many stories I could share let me give this example. Carmela observed me in the first year and liked my work so much she ran to the department chair person's office to tell her how great I was doing. I did not see Carmela again for three in my class, even though I was supposed to be observed four times a year. At the end of my three years I was an observed and Carmela did not agree with what I taught for my lesson even though she is not experienced in my area. Both my colleagues who are experience in my content area and the union reviewed over my lessons and agreed that what I taught was appropriate for the population I was working with. Carmela told me this observation would not affect my tenure and in fact she had already put in the paper work recommending me for tenure. She had come in and again decided she did not like my lesson. I worked with a very disabled population and she did not believe that my students were able to use the Internet without cue cards. You see, Carmela felt that all the kids in my self contained class were only capable of doing was drooling and doing preschool level work. I challenged my students and I expected them to reach their fullest potential. If she would have come and seen my students on a more regular basis she would have seen how wonderful they were and how much they could do. Carmela pulled my tenure recoomendation and I asked the board for another year because of my lack of observation, and my previous good record and reputation,they agreed and granted me a fourth year. Carmela did not come in to see me all year except at the end, where she denied my tenure again with her one observation. Her decision was already made up last year and she needed to prove she was right so she lied. I presented the previous board members with a letter and all the evidence of my planning and all the documentation that I had completed all that was asked of me,(My class was even in Newsday for a community project we did at the local animal shelter). I was devastated at this unjustice. I assure that this is not a case of "Sour grapes." I have, like all the other teachers who have expereinces the same wrath, have gone to to successful employment in the education field as a teacher. I just think that people need to know what went on in that school. It wasn't just me, it was many, many good dedicated people. Tenure should not be decided by whom you like, or if you don't like someone's professional difference of opinion,(as long as it is appropriate and valid). Tenure should be based on the work, on how well we know our children, and how we help them strive to be the best they can be. I miss them still, and the good dedicated teachers I have grown to love and respect at HHS. And you know what? I never considered who needed more help because of their race or functioning level. I respected them ALL. I was dedicated to them ALL. I don't even believe race is an issue here. I pray that the board makes the right decision.
The real story

Amityville, NY

#55 Aug 21, 2007
After not sleeping all Monday night, I wrote the 2nd posting to this site in the hopes that the real story would come out. Thank you Huntington High School staff members for telling your side of the story. Hopefully, the Board will feel your pain and support and will be willing to continue forward. Taking a stand for what is the only avenue at this point, will win you the unwavering support of every member of the staff. You will give birth to a new and exciting Huntington High School. Something we have always dreamed of. Just give us a chance to show you how the school will change. Our future and your children's future is in your hands.

Mahopac, NY

#56 Aug 21, 2007
the last anomous sounds a little like mr ohle and if it is math wont be the same without


#57 Aug 21, 2007
I hope the HHS teachers are paying attention. We all know we need a new leader. We can't be afraid anymore. We must show up Thurs and tell the board this change is needed. Carmela could possibly turn her wrath against 5 or 6 people if she were re-instated and that was all that went to the meeting. She CAN'T do a thing if 50 of us are there. How many of us have been praying for a more supportive environment the past few years? We work too hard and give too much of ourselves to have to deal with her any longer. This is our time to act. UNION REPS: get out your phone chains and call every teacher in the HHS. Remind them why this is a no-brainer. Remind them how many grievances you have had to write against HER and how many shirts have been ruined from the tears of hugging so many of our fired members. TEACHERS: Your summer is officially over. Change your plans for thurs and get to the meeting. Speak, bring a sign or just sit with your union. Hell, bring 12 friends like Carmela did the other night if it makes you feel better. If not, your going to pay the price for many more years!

Shoreham, NY

#58 Aug 21, 2007
The issue is simply...Dr. Leonardi is not a leader. As a teacher in her school, I would like to mention a few issues I have working under her "leadership."
1. Having been observed several times. I have been given several negative comments on areas which she felt needed improvement. However, she was unable to offer any constructive ideas on how to resolve these issues. I needed to seek advice elsewhere.
2. Immediately after an observation in April...yes April, I had students ask me who the woman in the back of the room was. I was shocked. How is it possible for a room of students to not know who their principal April...?
3. We have had several assemblies where Dr. Leonardi stood up and tried and failed to control and quiet a room full of students. She has since then given up and passes the responsibility off to either another administrator or a teacher.
4. There is no effective means of communication in the building between teachers and administrators. Often we are notifies of assemblies with a days notice. This offers no time to make adjustments to our teaching plans.
5. In "emergency" situations,(ex. when water flooding some of the classrooms), she had no idea how to effectively organize a backup plan.
6. She doesn't have positive relationships with her teachers.
7. She does nothing to create a sense of pride amongst her teachers...instead, her actions instill the opposite feeling.

Please do not misunderstand the situation. This has nothing to do with race. This has to do with the fact that Dr. Leonardi is simply not the right person in place to run Huntington High School. The Tradition of Excellence stops with her. Please move forward and do the right thing and stop playing the political game. Remember our role...TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF OUR STUDENTS!!! She simplly is not suitable or capable to make those decisions. Let's help assure the successful future of Huntington High School by putting someone in charge who is a true leader.

Virginia Beach, VA

#59 Aug 21, 2007
A high school principal should be a leader. Among other things, a leader should be able to motivate his/her subordinates, organize them in a manner that plays to each person's strengths, foster an environment of teamwork and dedication to the mission, be a presence in that environment, and inspire those who whom he/she leads. Dr. Leonardi has shown that she is either unable or unwilling to do take on the role of a leader and a principal.

Under her tenure, morale at Huntington High School has been non-existent. She does not encourage any form of school spirit or pride. Students feel as if she does not care, leaving students with a diminished sense of pride not only in their school, but in themselves.

The lack of support from the faculty speaks for itself in terms of Dr. Leonardi's ability as a leader and a principal. She is unable to gain the respect of her subordinates and thus, her staff and faculty are unable (not unwilling) to work to their full potential and accomplish the mission.

Dr. Leonardi should not be the principal at Huntington High School. She is a poor leader. Let someone else, a better leader, do the job.

Brooklyn, NY

#60 Aug 22, 2007
Huntington seems to produce the worst of principals. Craig Springer was also a big loser.

Saint Albans, NY

#61 Aug 22, 2007
This is so very clear. Listen up, parents and teachers---if you don't speak out on Thursday and support this move then the future of our district is in jeopardy. Dr. Leonardi is not the right person for this job, plain and simple. This has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with recognizing the gravity of this situation and taking the brave steps to fix it.

If the staff cannot speak out due to fear, then the parents and the public need to speak out. Now is the time. Parents, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being present at the Board Meeting on Thursday and making sure that the Board understands that this change has to be made. Speak out, and demand accountability--This is not just about the teachers and a crazy principal--we are the customers and pay the bill. What exists now is not acceptable. Our children deserve an excellent high school. The way to achieve this is to CHANGE the leadership. We need to go out and find the next great leaders to pull our district out of this mess and fix what is broken. The High School is broken.

The Board fixed the problems at Finley with the right changes. Finley was in chaos for many years due to a lack of leadership. They found strong leadership and it turned around. Now Finley has strong leadership and a staff that feels supported. The difference is night and day. This has to be done at the HS, lawsuit or no lawsuit, we need the change. It disturbs me that one individual administrator can do so much damage. Thursday night is our turn to say "No more!". Please come out and support this move to get new leadership in the HS. Come on Thursday, sit and listen, and speak out. The future of our district depends on this. We have to send a message loud and clear to the Board that they did the right thing by moving this principal. Let's pack the meeting and tell the other side of the story on Thursday.
Former teacher

Aiken, SC

#66 Aug 22, 2007

Please, please attend the BOE meeting on Thursday night, if you value working with the HHS students, and at the high school.

Once again, Carmela Leonardi has manipulated, and viciously controlled people, just as she has central administration, who for years pleaded with us just to "get along" with her. They were bamboozled by her "academic vision," which to any educated person, is non-existent. We teachers saw right through her "expertise," which she couched with vicious, vindictive threats and actions on staff and students alike.

Even just walking into the main office each day, the atmosphere was like a concentration camp: secretaries dared not talk; students sat in the "chair," waiting to hear their already-decided fates by a principal whom they did not know; and we faculty, gathering at our mailboxes, dared not to talk until we left the office.

I think about you, my former colleagues, many times, as I say the happiest day was the one when I left--not because of anything other than the tyrannical dictator whom the BOE and central administration was too embarrassed to admit they erred when they appointed her.

If this BOE re-appoints Carmela Leonardi, they, and Jay Finello, and company, once again will demonstrate they lack the backbone to stand up to what students and staff know--the woman has made Huntington High School a laughing stock, and a sham.

Stand up faculty; stand up staff; stand up students; and stand taller than everyone BOE and Finello--get rid of this academic cancer--NOW.
Louis Pushkin

Huntington Station, NY

#68 Aug 22, 2007
Mrs.Leonardi,you can't fight "city hall" with 100 supporters.You're kidding yourself,and your ego took control.Enjoy the closet,while it lasts.The next step is the ladies room.That Board will never forgive you.And you did nothing wrong.Perhaps the State Senate might be more to your liking.

Bronx, NY

#72 Aug 22, 2007

Huntington! Oh Huntington!
Why are you so crass?
Is it because you are mostly like trash?
Huntington! Oh Huntington!
Oh my heinous H.H.S.
Home of gangs: the Bloods,Crips and M.S.
A Nazi principal
So cold and cruel
Who Broke the golden rule...
"Change those French grades!"
The corrupt school board commands
So our precious kids will have first dibs
at Harvard, Princeton and Yale!
Sex in the auditorium
Drugs and fights on the stairs
Graffiti written in the hall
A Peruvian mummy
blind to it all!
Nepotism, bullies and ignorance abound
Deep seeded roots in Huntington schools- all graduates no doubt!
Sadly, tragedy occurs
Two suicides in two months. Everyone shed a tear.
No teaching or learning went on the whole year.

Our shrink is in the clink!
Boy does that stink!
How can I think?
About what to do?
When things go askew?
The foccackta Doctor
He came back and nobody ever said
Another word about that!
Sex between principals, superintendents and personnel
The administration sure has fun with it all
Lawsuits galore all over this dirty floor
Hey son-in law! I'm in awe!
Let's keep this place against the law.
Let's fire and hire who we desire-despite New York State.
Keep this place in dire straights.
No tenure to anybody unless you are related
And if you're not, expect to be berated!

Educational or Mental Institution?
Let's give everybody a Valentine!
Is that your solution?
Challenge Day is our group therapy.
Why don't they put toilet paper in the bathrooms
So people can pee?
Special Ed and ESL
That's all anyone can see
With NCLB all ELL's are educated for free!
Grants only for them
Funded by Uncle Sam!
What about you?
What about me?
What a dichotomy!
Let's put the money back where it needs to be!
Welcome to H.U.F.S.D.!
And to you Dr. Leonardi
All I have to say is BUON DI!
Happy to be free of school district number three!
From a former employee!
Concerned Mom

Rye, NY

#73 Aug 22, 2007
This is eye opening and very disturbing. As a parent of elementary school children, I have been extremely happy with what we have encountered in our schools. The teachers and principals we have dealt with have been excellent in making the school experience successful and enjoyable. My children have excelled. But, on hearing comments from the teachers, I worry about what is to come. What about my average student who needs as much service and guidance as the low/high kids? I value teachers and their opinions. I value our diverse population.
Unfortunately, some parents do have other options. Private School. I don't want to see our school become a wasteland; where parents pull students for lack of programs or unfavorable atmosphere. It would be a last resort for me but if I feel the needs of my children will not be met at the High School, it wil be a viable option. As the saying goes "Huntington's elementary schools are fine, but you need to watch the High School."

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