May 12, 2022 By Christian Murray (Updated)
The Department of Education has dumped Dr. Philip Composto, the longtime superintendent of school district 30, and elected officials and parents are up in arms.
Several elected officials have penned a letter to Schools Chancellor David Banks and Mayor Eric Adams calling for Composto to be reinstated. An online petition was formed by parents today that has generated more than 1,750 signatures that is also calling for the DOE to reconsider its decision.
Parents and elected officials were stunned by his sudden firing giving his long service to district 30, which covers seven western Queens neighborhoods: Astoria, Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside.
“We were very disappointed to learn that the DOE has decided without explanation to not further retain Dr. Philip Composto as Superintendent of this district,” wrote State. Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani and Council Member Tiffany Cabán in their letter to Banks and Adams.
The Queens officials only learned yesterday that Composto had been asked to step down. His last day in the position is June 30.
Meanwhile, parents and school officials throughout the district have taken to change.org to pledge their support for him.
“It appears that Dr. Composto has been unceremoniously let go, after 40 years of devoted service to D30,” reads the change.org petition. “Please sign this petition and write directly to Chancellor Banks ([email protected]; [email protected]) and Deputy Chancellor Blackburn ([email protected]) letting him know that the community was not consulted and we do not want to lose the best Superintendent in NYC.”
Composto has worked in education for more than 40 years, much of which has been spent in District 30, including as a teacher, school principal, trainer and various administrative posts.
Gianaris, who has been an elected official in western Queens since 2001, had nothing but praise for Composto.
“Dr. Composto is a capable administrator who has earned the respect of families, students, and the community for his engaging leadership,” Gianaris said. “He is the right person for that job, drawing on his years of experience and deep well of compassion for western Queens. I urge the city to keep him there so our schools can continue to grow and thrive.”
Mamdani, too, urged the city to keep Composto.
“In a district as diverse as ours, I have come to expect a broad spectrum of opinions when it comes to any one local issue,” Mamdani said. “Yet, with Dr. Composto, I hear the same thing from principals, teachers, parents, and students across Astoria: appreciation.”
Cabán said that Composto has earned the respect of the community and should not be forced to step down.
“Since news broke that he was asked to leave, there has been an outpouring of support from every corner of this district from parents, principals, school staff, labor leaders and community members,” Cabán said. “I stand with them in demanding that Dr. Composto be allowed to continue serving as our schools superintendent and urge the DOE to reconsider their hasty decision.”
The DOE issued a statement saying that it is the process of creating a new leadership team to oversee the city’s 32 school districts.
“45 superintendents will lead our schools this fall with significantly expanded responsibilities and accountability – tasked with improving academic achievement, real family and community engagement, and providing absolutely critical supports to schools,” the DOE said in a statement.
“As part of the first stage in this process, leadership put 130 potential candidates through a rigorous interview process and advanced the two or three best candidates for each district that fit this reimagined role. We are proud that we are putting the strongest candidates in front of parents and community members at public town halls and will receive their input on the final selection decisions.”
The DOE did not say why Composto was not deemed a top candidate.
This is political cronyism run amuck. I am a parent in District 30 and WE DO NOT SUPPORT COMPOSTO! HE HAS DONE NOTHING TO BENEFIT FAMILIES. HE IS PART OF THE QUEENS OLD BOY NETWORK THAT HAS BEEN IN POWER FOR TOO LONG. THIS IS FAKE NEWS! Did you bother to ask any REAL parents. EVERYONE QUOTED IS A POLITICIAN CRONY HACK. KELLY CRAIG DOES NOT REPRESENT THE PARENTS OF PS 78. SHE REPRESENTS HERSELF. SHE IS AN OPPORTUNIST CARPETBAGGER PARENT WHO JUST SHOWED UP HERE AND HAS DONE NOTHING BUT MAJE SURE SHE RUBS ELBOWS WITH POLITICIANS
So glad I retired many years before this regime!
Oh no, beware, the planners are “reimagining” again.
Completely outrageous, imperialistic and unjustified decision. Superintendent Composto is deeply respected and cared for by our parents and community. He’s done a tremendous job! The chancellor should be fired instead.
I am not outraged . I grateful . 40 years is long enough . Of course their were a lot of principals. He made sure they were under his thumb and supported them no matter how incompetent they were. ( DUI anyone ?)
He also prevailed over a hiring pattern that favored white teachers from Long Island rather than Queens natives.
And he refused to give a Greek or French DLP in the District a chance despite a great number of interested families . He should have retired gracefully instead of sowing discord in the district .
I recently retired from the DOE after my principal was replaced by the inexperienced “god daughter” of my superintendent. For the past decade, experienced principals have been & are being replaced by the proverbial “yes men” who are now being trained on how to get rid of teachers with high salaries and how to bypass the UFT contract. The only power the UFT now has is for collective bargaining and nothing else. Even when the DOE violates the contract, it’s the principal’s word against the teacher’s and the DOE ALWAYS finds in favor of the principal. I have worked under Superintendent Composto when he was a principal. He has integrity and stands up for what is right. He is the kind of a quality leader that the DOE does not want.
Don’t you think it wise to know “why” he was asked to leave before signing any petition to reinstate him?
That is too thoughtful. Remember, you live in New York City: The land of the unthinking Left!
68% of 3rd Graders in D30 are not proficient readers – and that is before COVID. The Education Consumers Foundation estimates this will cost tax payers $34 Million dollars because of unprepared graduates and drop outs. We can do better.
🙋🏻♀️ Dr. Philip Composto
Dr. Composto has shown empathy and kindness to students with disabilities. With others he set up the ASD Nest orogram in Oliver Wendell Holmes Middle school which allowed my child to re-enter public school from a nonpublic special ed school. Until then D30 had no ASD Nest middle school programs. He answers special ed complaint emails with speed. A lot of parents love him. I don’t know why this has happened.
Losing a great leader, probably being sacrifice on the altar of equity and diversity.
No love for the guy’s work from this parent – disingenuous, holier than thou, out for self was my takeaway