Peggy Moore Enlisted To Helm Barnard

Melissa Bailey File PhotoA schools superintendent has once again asked Peggy Moore to take the helm of a school in transition.

Last time, that didn’t work out so well.

Superintendent of Schools Carol Birks confirmed that she has asked Moore, who retired in 2013, to serve as interim principal of Pre-K-8 Barnard Environmental Studies Inter-District Magnet School on Derby Avenue.

A letter went out to parents Wednesday with the news.

The school has been seeing principals and other staffers come and go. Principal Rosalyn Bannon surprised the community by announcing that she’s resigning as of Feb. 25 to take a job as a Wethersfield principal. Bannon was the school’s third principal in three years, an administrative churn that’s lasted since 2016, when teachers took a no-confidence vote against Yolanda Jones-Generette.

Meanwhile, Birks recently placed Barnard’s assistant principal and three other employees on administrative leave, while an internal investigation into their conduct is underway.

Peggy Moore, who retired from the city with mixed reviews, will be tasked with stabilizing Barnard until a permanent replacement can be recruited.

In 2010, because of her success running Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School, then-Superintendent Reggie Mayo prevailed on Moore to step into the top job at Wilbur Cross High School, which had been vacant for eight months. Moore resisted the request, then reluctantly agreed.

Her years at Wilbur Cross proved controversial. She drew public outcry for disbanding a student political action club after junior Isaiah Lee led a protest in favor of more textbooks and lower administrative salaries. She later nullified the results of a student government election when Lee won the presidency, prompting an outpouring of concern from parents and alumni.

In a confrontation at a public meeting, she dismissed the criticism of her leadership as “gossip.” Superintendent Mayo stuck with Moore, defending her in an opinion piece published in the Independent. The school district touted dramatic gains on tests in her first year, then saw those gains disappear the subsequent year.

Moore, who worked for the school district for over 30 years, also served as the president of the administrators union.

Moore is set to begin her new role at Barnard on Thursday, according to Birks, when she will meet with Bannon about transitioning into the role.

Retired teachers are allowed to return to work and continue receiving pension benefits for a maximum of two years, as long as they fill out paperwork certifying that they are will be filling a vacancy in a priority district or a shortage area. Moore, who retired at 68 years old, currently receives about $7,200 each month in retirement benefits.

In her letter Wednesday to Barnard parents, Birks described Moore as an “experienced and visionary leader.”

“Ms. Moore has a strong passion for learning and teaching. She is focused on the delivery of instructional practices that encourage and provide students with a meaningful, relevant and purposeful curriculum that prepares them for college, career and life beyond high school,” Birks wrote. “Ms. Moore believes in building relationships in order to promote a positive, respectful and safe environment. She also has a commitment to distributive leadership and building on the talents of others within her school community.

“We are confident,” Birks concluded, “that Ms. Moore will bring strength to the Barnard School Community as we go through this leadership transition.”

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posted by: heightster77 on February 13, 2019  5:08pm

Let me take a stab at this, another sorority sister?

posted by: AMDC on February 13, 2019  6:19pm

“Her years at Wilbur Cross proved controversial. She drew public outcry for disbanding a student political action club after junior Isaiah Lee led a protest in favor of more textbooks and lower administrative salaries. She later nullified the results of a student government election when Lee won the presidency, prompting an outpouring of concern from parents and alumni.”  This dictatorial behavior should be enough to disqualify her.
And for these retirees:  how much money will it take to satisfy you??? 7,200 dollars is not enough for you to live well?  Must you take bread out of the mouths of others till they put you in the box?  You can’t take it with you!!!Or didn’t you know that?!?!?

posted by: 1644 on February 13, 2019  6:23pm

Perhaps. an old friend from Basic in Bridgeport.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 13, 2019  7:12pm

Bringing back a poor performer is a mistake. My son was a student at Wilbur Cross during her tenure. It was an unmitigated disaster. It wasn’t gossip. Aside from that, why in the world would you bring back somebody who is anything but excellent?

posted by: TFA2013 on February 13, 2019  9:27pm

My heart breaks for the students, families, and teachers at Barnard. Enough is enough. Dr. Birks should be putting someone capable at the helm of Barnard. Maybe she or one of the assistant superintendents should put an office in Barnard?

posted by: AnnieMac on February 14, 2019  7:33am

This is cronyism and putting the sorority pledge ahead of what is best for students.  Moore is a dictator.  She does not build relationships, she builds intimidation.  It worked at Betsy Ross and it failed at Cross because teachers and staff were actually acustomed to administrators who built relationships and distributed leadership.

Moore wont be there long enough to make change or show success.  She’ll be there to babysit and collect a fat per diem.

posted by: 1644 on February 14, 2019  9:39am

AMDC:  If the BoE can hire competent retirees for less cost than it would pay a non-retired employee, it should.  Educating children, not putting bread in adult mouths, is the BoE’s purpose.  Too many folks think the BoE exists to provide employment, not to provide a cost effective, quality education to children.

posted by: formerNHIT on February 14, 2019  10:01am

Wow..  Cronyism… not surprising given the other decisions this super has made :-(  I feel bad for the kids.  This person should stay retired…

posted by: Teachergal on February 14, 2019  11:00am

What a joke. PM has proven herself to be a bully and use scare tactics on students and teachers. Unless she has changed this will be her same strategy at Barnard. There are plenty of good people out there with administrative degrees. Why are we pulling in ineffective retirees. LOL, so New Haven. Maybe Ms. gethings, super girl, should be put in place there. Hooker can run itself.

posted by: 1644 on February 14, 2019  12:37pm

A comment after she nullified the Cross student election results:

posted by: Darnell on June 22, 2011 7:07am

Shameful! Absolutely Shameful!!! What are we teaching our children, Chinese style politics? If you don’t like the results, change the rules and void the election. Now that I think of it, it isn’t much different from the Board of Aldermen. Stifle debate, stretch the truth, ignore the rules.

posted by: Callisto on February 14, 2019  1:55pm

Neo-Tweed Ring.

posted by: TFA2013 on February 14, 2019  2:04pm

Close Meadow St. save on rent and utilities and send all “downtown staff” to the schools. Plenty of empty offices. Central office staff should see the day to day grind of school staff without the insulation of only being a “visitor.” Make then have some skin in the game.

posted by: darnell on February 14, 2019  3:09pm


I can tell you that I, and probably a majority of BOE members, were not informed of the appointment. I actually read about it in the press.

If I made those comments, I certainly stand by them. If what was reported was true, (cancelled elections, etc), it would be as problematic now as it was in 201. Whether or not this person is the right person for the job is still up for review in my mind. The process used by the superintendent to fill these roles will definitely be reviewed (though I can hear the howls of “micromanaging” now, as though that person is the only employee in the city who should not be managed).

“Stifle debate, stretch the truth, ignore the rules.” Sounds like to BOE a year and a half ago before I became president. Though, the stretching the truth hasn’t changed, if you had a chance to witness the debate around Cotto’s reappointment, the lies told were worthy of Trump.

posted by: markcbm on February 14, 2019  3:20pm

I worked under Mrs. Moore at Betsy Ross and she was a great principal, much loved by students, parents for the many years she ran the school.

posted by: Nancyteach on February 15, 2019  4:50am

This superintendentt, and the BOE who condone her actions is a joke.  Can anyone join the hiring sorority, or is it just opened to a selected few?!

posted by: Iuzred on February 15, 2019  9:25pm

Peggy Moore is the single most hostile administrator I ever worked with in 47 years in NHPS. She pointed her finger at me and said, “I heard about you and your AP students. They have parents who can advocate for them, unlike students who struggle to make grade level. AP students will not be a priority while I lead Cross this year and they will be less of a priority in the next few years.” After that tear, half of all AP teachers(8) left Cross. Ms. Moore focused on basic competancies instead of high academic achievements. She admitted to the staff that she did not want to be there and did everyrhing possible to create a hostile work environment. She will not support teachers or students! Parents be forwarned!

posted by: Teachergal on February 16, 2019  5:21pm

TFA has an excellent point, great way to save money, give admins first hand look at what schools are experiencing, and use the extra space in some of our new schools. Additionally, PM was good at Betsy Ross because that is where she wanted to be. This is true with all educators. When you start putting people where they do not want to go there are repercussions as seen at Wilbur Cross. Again, why not pick from the many educators that have their administrative degrees and are currently working in the system????

posted by: AMDC on February 17, 2019  6:33am

@ Teacher Gal:  It must be nice to be able to act out when you don’t want to be somewhere with no consequences.  I see she did manage to take it out on teachers and students at Cross and still earn her $7200 @month pension plus her good sportsmanship has now earned her much more at Barnard.  What do these “specialists” make?  $35 and hour or is it more now?

posted by: Callisto on February 17, 2019  6:38am

“why not pick from the many educators that have their administrative degrees and are currently working in the system????”

posted by: wtfnewhaven on February 17, 2019  8:32pm

I have noticed from the comments that NO ONE has mentioned that the parents allow the kids to speak to staff and administrators anyway they want . The teachers in the upper grades allow the kids to use the bathrooms and they end up running and swearing in the halls, disrupting the whole school.. The BOE should allow recording in the classrooms so that the parents can see how these brats terrorize the other kids in the class. Every single day there are chairs thrown, people hit and or kicked,screamed at ect.
    When do the parents take responsibility ? Stop using the excuse that the teachers don’t understand where these kids are coming from? That’s a piss poor excuse.Parents need to start answering the phone when the school calls instead of blocking the number. Parents should also stop coming into the main office and screaming like lunitics. I raised my kids as a single parent—I’m NOT raising yours!
  Maybe the answer is to have a strong ,fair principal who is not afraid of these bullies and their parents and bring Barnard back to the great school it could be. In my opinion only.

posted by: jdossgollin on February 18, 2019  10:40am

The article should also mention that during Ms. Moore’s time in charge of Wilbur Cross, many of the school’s top teachers left. She made it clear that she didn’t want to be there (she said as much in an interview before joining the school) and was never interested in engaging with students, teachers, administrators, etc. Edith Johnson, the new principle, knows the names of almost every student in the building; Ms. Moore barely knew any, and didn’t feel that she should.

Disclaimer: I’m not neutral, I was the vice president of student council who oversaw the elections that Isaiah Lee (now a student at Howard Law) won. The problem wasn’t just that elections were cancelled; it’s how it happened.

Student Council at Cross was a volunteer organization with no real power, and so there was no formal structure for who could join (i.e., those who wanted to join, did, rather than having a set system for representation). It’s absolutely true that Student Council skewed towards the AP students, who are generally richer and whiter than everyone else at Cross, although that certainly didn’t represent the whole organization.

Isaiah was running and had been leading some student demonstrations against the administration (elections happened in the spring of Ms Moore’s first year) over lack of resources in the school, etc; student council was split as to whether this was a good idea. But we held elections, and Isaiah won. Soon after Ms Moore contacted our faculty advisor and told him that we had failed to follow the election procedure set in a document with 1970s-era bylaws. No one had ever seen this before, but we re-ran elections, and Isaiah (narrowly) won again. Ms Moore responded by informing us that a volunteer student council was unacceptable, and the organization was closed until a new structure was formed (I’m not sure that any ever was…) A more democratic and inclusive student council would have been great, but it was clear that she just didn’t want to deal with Isaiah.

posted by: 1644 on February 19, 2019  3:00pm

jd:  The problem was, also, that Moore appeared to act as president of the administrators’ union rather than as principal when she went after Lee.  Lee had proposed funding new text books through a reduction in administrator pay.  The really sad thing is that, at least according to comments in NHI,  students still lack decent textbooks.