‘Not Our Superintendent’: Opposition at New Haven Schools Vote

There were times at New Haven's board of education meeting that looked like it was going to turn into a wrestling match instead of a vote to select a new superintendent. 

At the end of the meeting, the board chose Dr. Carl Birks, the person who lots of people came out to oppose during the vote on Monday night. 

"It was rigged," Dr. Edward Joyner, a member of the New Haven board of education, said after the vote. 

Shouting and verbal and nonverbal protests filled the two-hour public gathering. 

After a 4-3 vote selecting Birks to be the Elm City's next top school administrator, school board members traded jams about everything from her personal finances and bankruptcies to an actual offer to "take it outside."

"Birks is not our superintendent," one person speaking at the podium said. 

Some who are opposed to Birks selection implied the educator's social and community ties to New Haven Mayor Toni Harp are what got her the pick, a claim her fellow sorority members showed up to try to dismiss.

"I am drawn to Dr. Birks’ familiarity with New Haven Public Schools: she coached principals in the district, she endorses its commitment to restorative practices in disciplinary matters, and she shares my goal for students to achieve across-the-board at grade level, to maximize their chances to succeed," Harp said in a statement on social media.

Harp also said her endorsement is a result of "lengthy, in-depth interviews with [all] the finalists." 

Now the board will move ahead to contract negotiations and a background check on Birks. 

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