NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Teachers, educators and community members rallied Monday to voice the expectations they have for the next New Haven Public Schools superintendent.

A new superintendent will be chosen by April and will start working in July. The district held the first of three public meetings about the search Tuesday night. 

The New Haven Federation of Teachers rallied on the steps of city hall Tuesday to express its concerns. The biggest issues include proper staffing, diverse and varied curriculum, adequate funding, and safety and stability in schools. 

The district hired a search firm in December to sift through candidates from all over the country. But the union believes the district isn’t collecting enough input from the community.

Speakers at the rally said it’s difficult for the community to share their concerns when the board of education meets only on Zoom. They added that the district announced dates for public meetings just two days before the first one was scheduled. 

“We expect to be involved fully in the process which means making sure meetings are announced ahead of time, making sure we’re doing robust outreach,” said Leslie Blatteau, president of New Haven Federation of Teachers. “So that families who maybe otherwise wouldn’t know about these meetings, find out about them and have the support to attend them. That means childcare, transportation, food.” 

Students want a voice too. Alison Escobar, a senior at High School In The Community said there aren’t enough teachers and resources to help Spanish-speaking students succeed. Escobar said she struggles to keep up with other students because English is her second language. 

“As students, we are part of the solution,” Escobar said. “We want to be heard because we are the future.”

In response to the rally, a spokesperson for New Haven Schools told News 8:

We believe the teachers are focused on the right issues. The current superintendent will continue to work to address them, and they certainly will command the attention of anyone who comes into the job.

This administration has worked to substantially boost teacher salaries, which is the best tool we have to address shortages. We are working to make the case for funding that is essential to addressing the needs both for teachers and for staff who play crucial roles in supporting students’ development. We are investing in new curriculum and in training for teachers to help improve academic outcomes.

We cannot claim to have succeeded in all areas, but we have built a foundation for the work that is to come. We are grateful that we have teachers who care enough to demonstrate their concern for the well-being of our schools in the years ahead.

New Haven Public Schools

The New Haven Board of Education has selected McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C., Executive Recruitment and Development to assist it in the task of selecting superintendent candidates for the board to interview. Representatives of McPherson & Jacobson will host three public meetings.

The public is encouraged to any of the three upcoming meetings to provide their perspectives on the search and to ask questions. 

The meetings are scheduled for:

Feb. 15 from 6:45 p.m.- 7:45 p.m. in the auditorium of Barack Obama Magnet University School, 69 Farnum Lane.

Feb. 16: – 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Barack Obama Magnet University School, 69 Farnum Lane.

Feb. 17 – 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at the Parish House adjacent to Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School, 150 Kimberly Ave.