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DOE Ousts Popular School Superintendent, Western Queens Officials and Parents Outraged

Dr. Philip Composto (Photo: NYC Kids Rise)

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.

School District 30 (CEC30)

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27 Comments

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Maritza

According to public data for district 30, Minority enrollment is 84% of the student body (majority Hispanic), which is more than the New York public school average of 57% (majority Hispanic and Black). Someone hispanic or Asian should be appointed.

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Hypocrisy

Maritza – Your comment sounds bias What happen to the most competent get the job regardless of race?

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Allow me to retort

Would your same logic apply for a majority white district? Would you be against a black, Hispanic or Asian to be head of some lily white, suburban school district?

That is some serious segregationist mindset you have there and it’s disgraceful.

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Linda

Maybe he will be rehired after the interview process and the support he has from our local politicians and voters.

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We see you’ve been praying at the alter of idiocy, Fox News

Share some details of this accusation

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Allow me to retort.

It’s an “altar” not “alter” in this context.

Pro tip: learn to spell before pointing out someone else’s idiocy.

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Racism again from the mayor's office

Its shocking how openly racist and ageist people are in this city and on this comment board. very sad

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Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

Since you’re making this about your identity politics, are all 45 members of the new board that’s being proposed white people? If not, your narrative is pretty weak.

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Brenda

We need someone younger or diverse to represent our district. Perhaps someone Asian, latin or black, muslim or a woman. Would be wonderful to have someone openly queer. Many queers and trans people are parents in our district. Time to make that change.

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C'mon Man

i agree. we need a trans non-binary LGBTABCD123 person as superintendent so they can transform ALL kids into trans non-binary LGBTABCD123 as well so the world would be a better place. no kid should be left behind!

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Brenda, this comment is beyond ignorant not to mention racist!!

We need another race in order to get the job done???

What happens if they’re only able to find a (nother) (white???) Man???

We need to revert back to affirmative action? You get a job you don’t deserve and cannot handle, forget have qualifications for because they’re the “right” or “better” color??? Or race? Gender?

The next time you need an emergency surgery I hope the dude is you local garbage truck driver cause he or she (or it) was the right color/race/whatever!!!

Your style of thinking is why education is for shit in this city.

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Tommy

All white people should move out of New York including major businesses and let minorities to themselves. This city will be destroyed in a year.

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I hope he fights for his job if he's innocent

But the doe loves to back up bullshitters and fire or attempt to fire the people who the bullshitters are after. My old AP was a complete and utter sadist to me and many others. My former principal was a complete buffoon (to the tune of my union lawyer ripping her new ones daily on her many misspellings in anything from memos to write ups to observations! And the buffoon listened to everything the sadist had concocted about me.

(I’m fine, BTW) but now THEY’RE getting looked at.

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Not so sure about Composto

While it sounds a little over the top, I’m inclined to believe this person’s story. I personally know of a monstrous principal that Composto has kept in place for close to 20 years, while her school continues to be a revolving door for great teachers who breathe sighs of relief when they manage to find jobs in other schools with their careers in tact. How Composto could ignore absurdly high teacher turnover numbers in a school year after year is beyond me.

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Truth

Simple reason why they are getting rid of him: he’s white and old. They will replace him with an AOC type.

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CRT says racism results from complex subtle social dynamics, NOT explicit and intentional prejudice

Thanks for agreeing racism is alive and well! You’re so misinformed you accidentally agreed with Critical Race Theory 😂

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Racism is alive and well

Because the BLM screamers won’t shut up about it. They keep in feeding the fire.

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