Harp Taps Rodriguez For School Board

MacMillan File PhotoFormer Fair Haven Alder Joseph Rodriguez will return to City Hall — this time to answer, not ask questions; and to be voted on, rather than to cast votes.

Mayor Toni Harp has chosen Rodriguez to fill a vacant slot on the Board of Education, a body on which her allies have cemented control after years of infighting.

The Board of Alders first gets to vet Rodriguez at a public hearing and vote on whether or not to approve his appointment.

Rodriguez left his post as alder in 2011 to become an aide to U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, for whom he still works. (He served a stint as Mayor Harp’s local legislative liaison in between two stints for Blumenthal.) Rodriguez also chaired the effort to revive New Haven’s Puerto Rican Festival in 2016.

“I am most confident given Mr. Rodriguez’ credentials and commitment to our City, that he will serve the citizens of New Haven in a most conscientious and productive manner,” Harp wrote in a letter to alders submitting Rodriguez’s appointment.

If the alders confirm the appointment, Rodriguez’s term would last run through Dec. 31 2021.

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posted by: nhteach on February 18, 2018  10:32am

Another man on the board? I have nothing against this guy (don’t know him), but now we will have only one female board member??

posted by: 1644 on February 18, 2018  11:40am

Why not Sarah Miller?  Or some one else not beholden to the party machine for employment, a parent or business owner?

posted by: 1644 on February 18, 2018  3:19pm

harp mentions his credentials, but the article only mentions is involvement in an ethnic festival, service on the Board of Aldermen, and employment by Blumenthal.  What experience and involvement does he have with education?  Does he have some specific skill set that is needed on the BoE?  Most towns have elected boards, which is the default for Connecticut.  The folks most commonly elected are retired teachers, administrators, and parents.  Occasionally, there will be a physician, psychologist, or businessman.  I believe the last appointment was a pediatrician, who would obviously bring an expert knowledge of child development.  What does this guy bring?

posted by: chapillsbury on February 18, 2018  3:43pm

I have worked with Rodriguez and think he’ll do a good job representing students and their families on the Board of Education.

posted by: 1644 on February 18, 2018  4:55pm

Chas: Can you be more specific?  He will be, with a few others, responsible for a multi-million dollar budget, and should be able to get into the weeds to ensure dollars are spent where they have the most impact.

posted by: Jim425 on February 18, 2018  5:12pm

Another member of the Democratic Party to serve on the Board of Education.  Absolutely no minority party or independent membership.  While this may be legal it is very disheartening.  Was this explained when the charter was changed to allow for 2 members to be elected?  I don’t recall seeing any mention of this at all.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 18, 2018  5:33pm

This says it all.

Puppet Ruler

A puppet Ruler is a person who has a title indicating possession of political power, but who, in reality, is controlled by outside individuals puppet ruler may also be controlled by internal forces, such as non-elected officials.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on February 18, 2018  9:22pm

After the late BOE president Daisy Gonzales passed away, many hoped Mayor Harp would honor her legacy by appointing someone of her commitment, compassion & experience as a parent advocate to the BOE. That did not happen.
The mayor appears to have had aversion to the professional educators who recently served on the BOE and who frequently clashed with her positions on several issues, such as keeping Garth Harries as superintendent, having three principals at Hillhouse, starting a partnerships with a charter corporation for a new school, the proposed Kimber school for Black boys,her unprecedented tenure as mayoral president of the BOE, and her creation of a totally unnecessary position of mayoral liaison to the BOE with a requested $20,000 additional salary for that appointee which was rescinded by the Board of Alderman only to be surreptitiously and controversially funded by the mayor.
All that opposition from professional educators on the BOE must have turned Harp off to the idea of appointing any other professional educators or parent advocates to the BOE, because NONE of the people she has appointed to serve on the Board of Education have any professional education or experience as public school educators. The three newest members and the latest designee were never teachers, administrators, or parent advocates for the New Haven schools or elsewhere.
It only makes common sense to place people trained and experienced in education on the BOE who have the knowledge and background to make the right educational decisions for our public schools. Now there is only one professional educator in the BOE.
New Haven needs a BOE of intelligent people informed about school law, curriculum development, contacts, budgeting, teaching and learning strategies and techniques with a track record of investment in our schools and students, with children who currently attend or have graduated from our schools.
We need an independent parent advocate on the BOE who is not a Democrat!

posted by: Elmer Shady on February 18, 2018  9:23pm

This appointment seems harmless enough, and that is the point….
The Fix is already in on the BOE.

posted by: Dominick Maldonado on February 19, 2018  7:46am

I strongly believe people who are going to have decisions over the future of our children, should have the proper qualifications to participate in the BOE.  I am not saying the Mr. Rodriquez, is not the case, however, he and all member of the BOE should prove themselves.  For to many years the city of New Haven has play games with our children, and the BOE has a history of political appointees.  Lets get serious about our future leaders, which are the students of New Haven.

posted by: Statestreeter on February 19, 2018  1:07pm


Instead of being like most in politics and making some empty comment in the sense there is no facts to support it could you enlighten us as to why he would be a good fit to the BOE. Maybe sight some specific accomplishments that make him qualified.

Joe not a bad guy but for someone who has no experience administering in a school environment and no children in a new haven public school what does he bring to the table except another yes vote for Harps agenda which under her president of the BOE has already been proven a failure.

Don’t get me wrong he’s not alone.

Let’s look at it this way and maybe that would help vet his talents. Let’s pretend that there was a job announcement for a position on the board of ed. What do you think the Knowledge, skills and ability’s would be for it?

I have a few.

Education at the collegient level in public education.

Knowledge of best practices in education including but not limited to;
Facility operations
Etc. etc.

Minimum of 3 years experience at an administrative level in a urban public education setting


Minimum of 10 years experience teaching in a urban district public k-12 school system

There are people out there that I am sure are smarter than I in this space so feel free to offer some qualification and let’s see if he or anyone else truly qualifies.

We could do the same for the BOA.